Empowering Inclusivity in the Outdoors: Charlotte Bowens and Conscious Gear’s VestaPak Success Story

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

Charlotte Bowens, the founder of Conscious Gear, was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from Verizon to help her grow her business. The grant came as a result of her participation in Verizon’s Small Business Digital Ready program, which provides tools, coaching, and resources to small businesses. Bowens was chosen for the grant because of her active engagement with the program and her inspiring story.

The VestaPak hydration pack, which was recently launched by Conscious Gear, has gained national attention with USA Today naming it one of the 10 best gifts for outdoor enthusiasts. Bowens’ motivation for creating the VestaPak came from her own weight loss journey and the realization of 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.

Bowens plans to use the money from the grant 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 continues to be dedicated to her mission of promoting inclusivity in the hiking community and is grateful for the support she has received from the community.

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