As a lot of schools have changed to an all-outdoor curriculum to guard against the spread of the coronavirus among its students and staff, some outdoor-oriented companies are starting new product lines or repurposing existing ones to capitalize on the trends. Demand for Oaki’s rainsuits and related gear has increased 60 percent this year, but a major challenge is that the company is experiencing pandemic-related delays with its manufacturers in India and Mexico. As a result, the company needs to prioritize individual schools or parents’ orders over warehouse and retail orders and has rushed to market a line of fleece and wool socks that don’t need to be washed every day. Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, a Canadian business that designs and builds school playgrounds, has also shifted its focus. Bienenstock has begun creating log-based outdoor classrooms, called OutClass, that schools can set up in less than a day and the classrooms can be converted into play structures whenever schools return to traditional indoor instruction. The year-over-year inquiries for its products from school administrators are up about 600 percent. Some parents are also trying to add an outdoor component to the remote learning experience and the household clients almost doubled compared to the same period last year.
What are the main factors that Bienenstock should consider when evaluating whether they should create OutClass?
Based on how the pandemic has changed the normal educational experience, if your client were a company that sells waterproof products including notebooks and printer paper for the government and going to target schools, how would you advise to help them develop a growth strategy?
With Some Schools Moving Outdoors, Retailers Follow (NYT)