Getting Real with Slim Pickins Outfitters

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

A panel discussion about community, race, representation, and hope

Slim Pickins Outfitters is our nation’s first Black-owned outdoor gear shop located in Stephenville, Texas. In our latest #EveryoneOutside film, "Slim Pickins", we get a glimpse into the distinct experiences of owners, Jahmicah and Heather Dawes. Paving the way as the first Black-owned independent gear shop hasn’t always been a walk in the park for them, and the pandemic hasn’t made it any easier for their business, but their evident love for community and respect for the outdoors is what drives them to keep going. 

The film, though elucidating, left us with much more to talk about. Check out the panel discussion to learn more about Slim Pickins Outfitters and to hear directly from Jahmicah, Heather, and the creators of the film.

We hope this open and compelling conversation drives home the real impact of supporting black-owned businesses and creators. This discussion reaffirms the power of intentional community support. 

Latricia Graham

Panel Moderator, Outdoor Retailer Magazine

On acknowledging and honoring the land 

“We’re going to talk about the outdoors, race, liberation, survival, and other topics intrinsically tied to the land. We cannot talk about these things without being mindful of the fact that the places we inhabit are not our own.”


Brian Heifferon

Co-founder of The Outbound Collective

On amplifying marginalized stories in the outdoors

“We want to share stories that I think are more reflective of the outdoors that we know and that we see on a daily basis and are more reflective of the communities that we grew up in...We’re committed to continuing to challenge and change that narrative and build a more inclusive home for a modern outdoors.” 


Jahmicah Dawes

Owner of Slim Pickins Outfitters

On inclusion and acceptance in the outdoors and reclaiming space

“The outdoors never excluded me. It was the people representing “ambassadors” of the outdoors that conveyed this hate...For me and Heather, something that’s been really powerful to us is to reclaim that space for us; Reclaim that space for our enjoyment and for our health and reclaim that space honestly, for our kids.” 

On learning from those fueled by passion

“We want to learn about things from people who are passionate about those things...You are intrinsically important to what we are trying to do.” 

Heather Dawes

Owner of Slim Pickins Outfitters

On welcoming community and feeling seen

“In our shop and in our home and wherever we take up space, if someone comes into our space and into our midst, they are the most important person. They are the only important thing at that time… [Jahmicah’s] done such a good job building community like that and that’s why people just come in our doors all the time because they want to feel seen, they want to feel heard, they want to feel important.” 

Justin Jeffers

Director

On the representation of people of color in the film industry

“In the film industry, I think there is a very similar pattern of feeling like people of color maybe don’t have access or the right tools or equipment or pay wall to be able to enter...The film industry is very similar as far as who’s involved and access to get in.” 

On what is giving him hope right now

“Something about this that has given me hope, is to be able to tell stories like this… opening up more doors to be able to tell more stories about Black people doing incredible things all over the world is something that’s given me so much hope.” 

On encouraging more representation of BIPOC in various industries

“Having ownership shows that we can do it...It’s our time..We all deserve it.”

Abdul Kassamali

Producer

On connecting with the outdoors far from where he grew up

“The outdoors that you experience in Kenya is different from the outdoors that you experience over here and I felt like I was holding on to the experience I had in Kenya so I never really fully gave in to the outdoor experience of the Pacific Northwest, but this documentary definitely changed my perception of it and has made me want to embrace this a bit more.” 

On being a person of color in the film industry

“In order to build that welcoming space, just being friendly and being approachable...builds a sense of community...Make people feel comfortable and they’ll want to come back.” 

On what support looks like

“I feel like support is just presenting opportunity to people that would enjoy it, that would kill it, but wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do so.”


Show your support right now

The pandemic has had a tragic economic impact on small and independently-owned businesses, including Slim Pickins Outfitters. The Outbound Collective has organized a GoFundMe to help keep Slim Pickins Outfitters open. All funds raised go directly to Jahmicah and Heather Dawes to recoup their losses and keep their dream of an inclusive outdoors alive. Check out the GoFundMe.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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