June 21, 2024

Small Business Grants Boost Inclusivity in Outdoor Industry: Charlotte Bowens Receives $10,000 from Verizon for Conscious Gear

1 min read
Winner of small business grant awarded $10K for creating size-inclusive hydration packs

Charlotte Bowens, founder of Conscious Gear, received a $10,000 grant from Verizon to help grow her business. The grant was awarded as a result of Bowens’ participation in Verizon’s Small Business Digital Ready program, which provides tools, coaching, and resources to small businesses.

Bowens’ motivation for creating the VestaPak hydration pack came from her own weight loss journey and the realization that there was a gap in the outdoor equipment industry. The design of the VestaPak includes a vest style, making it easier for people with bigger bodies to move, hydrate, and exercise during outdoor activities. The product has gained national attention and was named one of the 10 best gifts for outdoor enthusiasts by USA Today.

Bowens plans to use the grant money to hire a team member, outsource order fulfillment, and cover office rent. She is also excited about expanding her brand and developing new products like hiking shorts and shirts for plus-sized individuals. Bowens is working towards getting the VestaPak into REI Co-op stores both nationwide and online. She remains dedicated to promoting inclusivity in the hiking community and is grateful for the support she has received from the community.

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