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Brooklyn’s ‘Outlandish’: Premier Black-Owned Hiking Store

Benji Williams and Ken Bernard reshape the outdoor gear industry, combining fashion and function at Outlandish.

Brooklyn has always been known for its vibrant culture and trendsetting businesses. The latest gem added to its crown is “Outlandish,” a hiking store spearheaded by dynamic duo Benji Williams and Ken Bernard. Until recently, there were only three Black-owned hiking stores in the entire U.S., making Outlandish an intriguing addition.

Their journey began with a personal love for hiking and backpacking, which transformed into a passion-driven enterprise. Outlandish is more than just a store; it’s an experience. Its goal is to help customers look their best while feeling comfortable on their adventures. Beyond merchandise, they even host bi-weekly hikes, emphasizing their mission of reconnecting people with nature.

Interestingly, in 2019, visitors of color to national parks represented a significantly smaller percentage than their demographic representation in the population. Outlandish aims to change this narrative. With a perfect blend of fashion-forward and functional gear, they are set to make hiking more inclusive and stylish. The store’s name, inspired by a poem, encompasses their core values – the outdoors, the connection with the land, and the products (“ish”).

What makes their venture even more compelling is the mentorship they received from the other three Black-owned hiking stores in the country. Despite the industry’s odds, they are determined to thrive, providing quality gear without breaking the bank.

Benji and Ken are not just business owners; they are trailblazers, challenging norms and opening doors for many more to come. Their message is clear: Everyone belongs in the great outdoors.

Source: FOX 5 New York Kendall Green