Brown Folks Fishing Tackles Racism and Inequality in Fishing Industry with New Pledge

The Orvis Company to become first Angling for All pledgee

LOS ANGELES (JULY 29, 2020) — Brown Folks Fishing (BFF), an organization committed to building community and expanding access among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in fishing and its industry, has launched the Angling for All Pledge. The pledge seeks to dismantle systemic barriers to entry and participation at all levels of the fishing industry. Joining the effort as the inaugural pledgee is The Orvis Company.

“Fishing has deep roots in the BIPOC community, yet our voices are vastly underrepresented,” says Tracy Nguyen-Chung, executive director of BFF. “We are proud to launch the Angling for All Pledge which establishes a commitment to equity and inclusion in the angling community. It is an opportunity for those within the fishing industry to cultivate the knowledge and understanding necessary to eliminate barriers and commit to radical and lasting change.” 

The Pledge has been in development since late 2018 and is inspired by the work of Teresa Baker and the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge. It establishes a commitment to addressing racism and inequality throughout a pledgee’s internal culture, consumer-facing behaviors, and broader community. At its core is a curriculum developed by Brown Folks Fishing in partnership with Erica Nelson and Sydney Clark of REAL Consulting, an organization that works with clients to develop strategies for anti-racist organizational culture. The curriculum provides education and resources for brands and organizations to enhance equity and diversity across staff, executive teams, athletes, ambassadors, guides, and throughout the organization’s media and marketing.

“As Indigenous and Black women, our work at REAL builds upon our own experiences and perspectives, as well as those of other marginalized people,” says Erica Nelson of REAL Consulting. “The goal of the Angling for All curriculum is to identify issues of access and participation in the outdoors and provide the tools and resources necessary to move forward in solving these issues. Not all individuals or organizations are the same. We will work with businesses and professionals on an individual basis to establish a custom set of programming and initiatives that set participants on their own unique paths to eliminating barriers and creating change in the industry. Our workshops invite everyone, regardless of their background, to add to the narrative and ensure that it is continuously evolving and culturally relevant.”  

As the inaugural pledgee, Orvis will work with REAL Consulting and Brown Folks Fishing to move through the pledge curriculum and create a plan of action upon completion.  

“We are honored and grateful to have such a strong partnership with Tracy and the team at Brown Folks Fishing,” says Simon Perkins, Orvis president. “Their mission to build capacity, access, resources, visibility, and a solid community for anglers of color makes the sport stronger, and we are excited to sign the pledge as an acknowledgment of our commitment to this critical work. This is an opportunity for us to explore our own blind spots and unconscious biases and an important step forward in Orvis’s history of passion and commitment to access, inclusion, and stewardship in fly fishing.”

Those who successfully complete the Pledge will have the opportunity to be included in the BFF Directory, which features Brown Folks Fishing’s recommendations for guides, instructors, experiences, shops, brands, and organizations from across the industry committed to equity and inclusion. The Directory will be available publicly as an information resource to anglers.

Guides, instructors, outfitters, media platforms, organizations, brands, companies, and other professionals across the fishing industry are encouraged to apply. For more information and to apply to the Pledge, please visit: www.brownfolksfishing.com/pledge

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ABOUT BROWN FOLKS FISHING

Brown Folks Fishing is a community-based organization founded in 2018 by and for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) anglers. We cultivate community for BIPOC in fishing and its industry. BFF is a space to build together and a movement to expand access. We do our work through storytelling, grassroots organizing, events, and community-building.

Our work is as much about stoke as it is about our survival. We seek to reimagine fishing as a gateway to conservation. We reimagine because the framework of conservation as it exists is deeply rooted in white supremacy, erasure, and colonialism. We reclaim and lift up the narratives that Black and Brown people have with deep roots in fishing, and connection to land, water, and community. By reclaiming these roots, we can shift the narrative around who is, can, and should be on the water; whose full selves can be brought to the water.

www.brownfolksfishing.com

ABOUT REAL CONSULTING

REAL (Reconcile, Evolve, Advance, Lead) Consulting believes that anti-racist education involves a life-long commitment to the practice of seeking to understand ourselves, people, and our shared environment. REAL strives to build a customized durable foundation for clients at all points in their journey toward an anti-racist organizational culture. We reach this together by emphasizing personal reflection, interdisciplinary historical analysis, and compassion for people. Founded in 2018, Sydney Clark and Erica Nelson saw the need to weave our personal stories into our curriculum led with storytelling combined with executive leadership development, as this builds authenticity and trust toward a more equitable outdoor community.

www.consultreal.org

ABOUT ORVIS COMPANY

Founded in 1856, we believe the most meaningful experiences are created by sharing the love of nature and being inspired by its endless possibilities. Orvis pioneered the mail order industry in the United States, operates more than 80 retail stores in the U.S and the U.K., and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide as a trusted source of discovery and adventure in the natural world. We promise to open the door to extraordinary outdoor experiences, and to protect nature by committing 5% of our pretax profits each year to conservation efforts worldwide. www.orvis.com

The Orvis Company Appoints Simon Perkins President

Third generation to assume leadership of family-owned, 160-year-old outdoor retailer

MANCHESTER, Vt. (May 26, 2020) — Orvis, the family-owned outdoor retailer, announces the appointment of Simon Perkins to president, effective immediately. Perkins will assume full strategic and operational leadership of the company as president, and is the third generation of the Perkins family to lead Orvis since 1965. Outgoing president/CEO Bill McLaughlin, who has worked closely with Perkins on the Orvis executive team, will act as an advisor through the transition period.

“We have worked hard over a decade to position Orvis to thrive in the omnichannel retail environment of the future. Simon is the ideal leader to drive our brand forward, continuing to inspire our customers, associates, and partners to lead more fulfilling lives rooted in our core pursuits of fly fishing and wing shooting with dogs at our sides,” says Marka Hansen, Orvis chair. “Since joining Orvis in 2012, Simon has served as a unifying leader across departments and categories, overseeing significant growth in our Orvis Adventures business, and acting as a leading voice in the evolution of product innovation, brand storytelling, and purpose-led business initiatives. I have enjoyed working closely with Simon and I am thrilled to see where he takes this company in the future.”

As chief operating officer since August 2018, Perkins has overseen the execution of the company’s long-term strategic planning. Perkins started at Orvis in January 2012 as the e-commerce merchant for fly fishing and hunting, with channel responsibility for the brand’s direct-to-consumer sales of core sporting products. He has since filled leadership roles across the merchandising, adventures and brand marketing teams, serving as vice president of brand marketing prior to his appointment as COO.

Before joining Orvis, Perkins spent 11 years as an upland hunting and fly fishing guide in Montana, sharing his love of the outdoors, fishing and hunting with clients. In his time at Orvis, Perkins has championed projects aimed at diversifying the sport of fly fishing, such as the 50/50 on the Water initiative and the Breaking Barriers Award, which highlights individuals broadening the fly fishing audience. Perkins also serves on the board of Trout Unlimited Headwaters, and has been a driver of Orvis’s involvement in advocacy for conservation projects in locations such as Bristol Bay, Alaska, and Florida’s Everglades.

Simon Perkins is the son of Leigh “Perk” Perkins, former Orvis CEO, and grandson of Leigh H. Perkins, who purchased The Orvis Company in 1965.

“This company has meant so much to me throughout my life as I’ve watched it grow into the brand it is today. Over the past 160 years, Orvis has gone from a catalog mail-order company to a globally recognized fishing, wing shooting, and lifestyle apparel brand that is deeply invested in education and conservation,” says Perkins. “Orvis has the ability to make this world a better place, to inspire others to get outside, explore and connect with the outdoor wonders of the world. I look forward to working with our incredible team and partners to continue providing best in class products and service to our customers, and guiding the company and our community into the future.”

In addition to the appointment of Perkins, the board of directors for The Orvis Company recently named Marka Hansen chair and Roger Farah vice chair and special advisor to the president, effective immediately. Hansen is a former executive with The Gap and Banana Republic, and currently serves on the board of Stitch Fix and J.Jill. Farah has previously worked as a consultant and executive with retail brands including Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch and Ralph Lauren. Both Hansen and Farah have a deep appreciation for the Orvis lifestyle. Hansen is a devoted angler, hunter and dog lover, while Farah is passionate about bird hunting and sporting clays. “Perk” Perkins and David Perkins, who previous held the chairman and vice chairman roles, will retain at-large seats on the board of directors.

Please direct media inquiries to Madeline Fones at madeline.fones@rygr.us

About The Orvis Company: Founded in 1856, we believe the most meaningful experiences are created by sharing the love of nature and being inspired by its endless possibilities. Orvis pioneered the mail order industry in the United States, operates more than 80 retail stores in the U.S and the U.K., and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide as a trusted source of discovery and adventure in the natural world. We promise to open the door to extraordinary outdoor experiences, and to protect nature by committing 5% of our pretax profits each year to conservation efforts worldwide. www.orvis.com

Contact: Madeline Fones
madeline.fones@rygr.u
d: 970-924-0704 ext. 111

Orvis Launches Bevy of Virtual Fly-Fishing Educational Opportunities Online and on Cable Television

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Outdoor retailer continues serving educational mission with online fly fishing instruction and second season of popular fly fishing instruction show .

MANCHESTER, Vt. (April 30, 2020) — Orvis, the family-owned outdoor retailer that specializes in fly-fishing gear and education, takes its proven teaching methods for anglers online, offering one-on-one lessons and other educational opportunities to those homebound by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the popular television show the “Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing” is launching new episodes on cable television and digital streaming platforms throughout the spring.

Beginning immediately, Orvis Adventures is offering programs that will allow participants to refine their casting and angling skills remotely. The virtual programming includes two packages including video analysis, one-on-one instruction and in-depth feedback from Orvis instructors. The packages range in instructor involvement and price, but both promise to aid participants as they work to improve their casting at home.

For more information on virtual instruction opportunities, visit https://www.orvis.com/fly-fishing-schools.

“Sharing the sport of fly fishing through educational experiences and adventures has been our passion for over 160 years,” says Orvis COO Simon Perkins. “This spring, we’ve found that people are craving education and experiences more than ever, so in this time when we aren’t able to physically come together on the water we’ve designed alternative ways to connect with our community. We hope that our catalog of videos and resources can inspire people to take this time to learn something new and refine skillsets, whether it is to help facilitate safe and responsible moments in the outdoors today or future adventures down the road.”

In addition to virtual casting instruction, Orvis is now releasing new episodes of the popular “Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing” series on television and digital platforms throughout the spring.

The “Orvis Guide To Fly Fishing” was originally made popular on cable television in 2012, when thousands of anglers learned the basics of fly fishing from Orvis’s Tom Rosenbauer, an award-winning fly fishing author and podcaster. The second season, which highlights advanced fly fishing techniques and tactics, is being broadcast on The World Fishing Network weekly and is shared on the show’s YouTube channel post-broadcast.  

The World Fishing Network is offering a free, three-month preview to non-subscribers on many major television service providers. Viewers can also find the complete first season and new episodes from season 2 of “The Orvis Guide To Fly Fishing” on YouTube at:  www.youtube.com/channel/UCxGQMCT70DALylKj9CQl2sw.

Furthermore, in recent weeks the Orvis team has committed to sharing educational experiences, including multiple fly-tying workshops each week, through its Facebook platform. These Facebook Live videos, as well as Orvis’s full collection of video content, are available on The Orvis Company YouTube channel at: www.youtube.com/channel/UCGOi5_3PkvM1FLHR_jXM7MQ.

About The Orvis Company: Founded in 1856, we believe the most meaningful experiences are created by sharing the love of nature and being inspired by its endless possibilities. Orvis pioneered the mail order industry in the United States, operates more than 80 retail stores in the U.S and the U.K., and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide as a trusted source of discovery and adventure in the natural world. We promise to open the door to extraordinary outdoor experiences, and to protect nature by committing 5% of our pretax profits each year to conservation efforts worldwide. www.orvis.com

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Contact: Madeline Fones
madeline.fones@rygr.us
d: 970-924-0704 ext. 111

Orvis Partners with Local Manufacturers to Support Roanoke Homeless Community During COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Orvis Partners With Local Manufacturers to Support Roanoke Homeless Community During COVID-19

Outdoor retailer is producing 2,000 masks per week for local non-profit organization

MANCHESTER, Vermont (April 10, 2020) — Orvis, the Vermont-based outdoor retailer, is working together with local partners near its Roanoke, Virginia, fulfillment center to manufacture masks for the homeless in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand has increased for non-medical grade face masks since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that individuals wear cloth face coverings in public settings. Orvis’s efforts will directly support Roanoke-based non-profit Rescue Mission, an organization providing shelter and resources for the regional homeless population.

“There is a very real need for masks among our homeless population here in Roanoke,” says Roanoke Rescue Mission CEO Lee Clark. “These masks are making a tremendous difference in keeping people safe, particularly those with existing medical conditions who are at greatest risk of infection.”

Orvis is collaborating with local furniture manufacturer Chervan to cut patterns, which Orvis is using to stitch together the face masks. Currently, Orvis employees are able to produce up to 2,000 masks each week, the majority of which are donated to Rescue Mission. These masks will be used to protect members of the local homeless community who may be more vulnerable to infection and complications, as well as Rescue Mission staff who are caring for these community members.

“The impact of this pandemic on our communities is heartbreaking, particularly the impact we are seeing on the homeless. We have a long-standing relationship with Roanoke Rescue Mission and we’re proud to help,” says Ken Smith, Orvis VP of customer operations.

In addition to the masks being produced for Rescue Mission, Orvis is also providing masks to its own team members in Roanoke, who are working to ensure customers are continuing to receive excellent service from Orvis.

To make additional donations, and to learn more about the nonprofit Rescue Mission, please visit: https://rescuemission.net/ways-to-give/. To learn more about Orvis, and its other philanthropic programs, please visit: www.orvis.com

About The Orvis Company: Founded in 1856, we believe the most meaningful experiences are created by sharing the love of nature and being inspired by its endless possibilities. Orvis pioneered the mail order industry in the United States, operates more than 80 retail stores in the U.S and the U.K., and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide as a trusted source of discovery and adventure in the natural world. We promise to open the door to extraordinary outdoor experiences, and to protect nature by committing 5% of our pretax profits each year to conservation efforts worldwide. www.orvis.com

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Contact: Madeline Fones
madeline.fones@rygr.us
d: 970-924-0704 ext. 111