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What does post-retail mean?

On New Years I shared an outstanding photo by ambassador Jack Anstey (below) along with a note about my plan to go post-retail in 2017. There was a great response, but also some confusion. So I just wanted to take a little more time to explain.

To cut to the chase: we are not stopping selling stuff.

Honestly, there was a moment mid 2016 when I questioned whether I was right to start up in retail. I had wanted to bring a fresh approach to the outdoor industry, and help folk appreciate the outdoors. But this was always in a delicate balance with my personal philosophy, which I guess you could describe as a mindful approach to consumption.

In the end, I decided that I did want to carry on with retail. I was working with some outstanding brands and makers, people who are truly trying to follow a better path. An approach that doesn't exploit people or the planet. I realised I want to tell their story to as many people as I could, because the more good stuff gets sold, the more likely it is to become the new normal. I'm here to drive change, as well as make a living.

Gather has never been just about selling stuff. 2017 will be the year that has real meaning. The year I make good on my post-retail claims.

Our new subscription scheme, Adventurous Ink, is the first step on that path. It was funded in just 2 weeks on Kickstarter, which I took as a sign I'm heading in the right direction. As I said in my, slightly over-emotional, pitch video:

“It's not a clever way of selling you things you don't need.

It's pure print inspiration, designed to make your feet itch, and your heart sing.”

I'm really happy sharing inspiration, and letting folk enjoy the outdoors for free. You don't need a new jacket to do that, however sustainably it's been manufactured. Just get out there. Enjoy it. That's the truly sustainable approach. A stupid ethos for someone starting out in retail, I know. But what can I do? I am just me. I can only do what feels right.

My lovely, and very understanding, wife bought me a couple of great books for Christmas, including the founder of Patagonia Yvon Chouinard's book 'Let my People Go Surfing'. Whilst wary of delusions of grandeur, I can't help but find similarities with his story of becoming a reluctant businessman.

Its all about the enjoyment of time spent outdoors. Which is why later in the year I will begin introducing our community to good people who can help them have awesome, life affirming, outdoor experiences.

This is what I mean by post-retail. It's more than selling stuff. It's helping people get out more. And hopefully, take less out.

I like to think Yvon would approve.

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