Meet the Brilliant Female Hustlers we Support
Women-Owned Businesses Supporting Women-Owned Businesses
News Flash: Explorer Chick is a women-owned and operated small business. 😮
Shocker, right? For those of you who don’t know, I single-handedly launched and boot strapped Explorer Chick in 2014. I jumped right into the deep end leaving behind a corporate career and striking out down the entrepreneurial path. And, it was tough.
I quickly learned the hardest part of kick starting a business is getting exposure. You can have the best product in the world, but you’re quick to go out of business if no one knows about it. In those early days I reached out to complimentary brands looking to collaborate, so I could introduce Explorer Chick to new women.
And, you know what? It was either crickets or a hefty fee to collaborate. Just starting out, neither of those two options worked for me. I was on my own to introduce the world to Explorer Chick. So, I rolled up my sleeves, put my nose to grind stone, and hustled.
The drive paid off as the Explorer Chick community has grown substantially since. We’re well over 70,000 strong! (✊ Yeah!)
Now, Explorer Chick is operating on the opposite end of that spectrum. But, I’m doing it differently. I believe with that kind of reach, comes power and responsibility. I want to pay it forward to other Female Hustlers out there – Without asking for anything in return.
This is why Explorer Chick is dedicated to supporting other women-owned small businesses whenever possible. We’ll proudly buy our provisions or fill your Welcome packages with quality products from other She Bosses. We’re going to tell our community about these brands and products. We’ll even tag them in our Social Media posts without a sponsorship fee! (Aghast!)
Why? Because we love them! Because your Explorer Chick Dream Team uses them! Because there needs to be more women-owned businesses succeeding! Because sometimes it’s about doing the right thing and not business.
So, without further ado, here are the Women-Owned, Small Businesses we are supporting right now:
Have you seen our Explorer Chicks rocking insanely adorable tie-dye headbands? These are the brainchild of Katie over at Wildland Elements. I met Katie last summer while hiking in the Sawtooths in Idaho. I stumbled upon her and some friends camping at an alpine lake. Next thing you know, we’re chatting up a storm and freezing our lady bits swimming in crystal, clear water.
I learned she was quite the entrepreneur with a few hustles that allowed her to work without boundaries. One such endeavor was her handmade headbands. (Wider than a typical headband so it covers your ears, but thinner than a full buff). But that’s not all. As she was engaged (now married!) to a Wildland Fire Fighter, she was inspired to support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation with the sale of her headbands. 🙌 All of her headbands are carefully hand dyed and sewn. We love them because of the bright colors and they actually stay on your head! (If you have a small, weird shaped head like me, then you know what I’m talking about).
All of our Explorer Chicks traveling on a trip with us this year, will receive a headband in her Welcome package. If you’re not traveling with us this year, head on over to her Instagram page. She sells her headbands over on Etsy, but they sell out fast. She announces restocks and new colors over on Insta, so it’s the best way to stay informed.
Is it even an adventure if there is no granola? Yeah, we didn’t think so. So, when I met Jamie in line at the bar waiting to order a glass of wine at my cousin’s wedding, I knew we had to work together. She is a Cincinnati-based mom who started simply by making home-made Vegan and Nut-Free granola for her daughter, Ella. A couple years and even more batches later, she transformed her yummy creation into a full fledged business – Grandola Granola. Yummy being the operative word here. When we had a real meeting (this time sober!), I sampled all varieties. I was impressed! They were unique and packed a punch full of vibrant flavors. Yes, some seriously good mouth feels. I might be partial to the Summer Time with its citrus bite.
All of our Welcome packages will receive a sample of Jamie’s Grandola Granola. While, we’ll be dishing out Grandola Granola on all of our Red River Gorge Backpacking Workshops. If you’re in the Cincinnati area, be sure to check out where she’ll be selling locally to pick up your own bag. Everyone else, you can order online.
Have you ever flipped over the bags of backpacking food to read the ingredients? Some brands look like a science experiment gone bad and that is not something we want to put into our bodies. Cue Outdoor Pantry. I met Debbie through the magic of Instagram. She sent me a message introducing herself and Outdoor Pantry. Next thing I know, I’m testing samples with Explorer Chick Guide, Lauren. We both agreed. This was tasty.
Debbie thru-hiked the PCT in 2016. Not satisfied with the selection of backpacking food on the market, she made most of her own meals for her trek. Meals that weren’t laden with salt and preservatives. Knowing she was onto something, Debbie decided to launch a business dedicated to serving up an alternative hand-crafted with quality ingredients.
Explorer Chicks venturing out with us on our Red River Gorge Backpacking Workshops will have their choice of Yakitori Chicken or Quinoa & Black Bean chili. (Of course, you’ll be lighting your camp stove and cooking it on your own!). All of our trip Welcome packages include a special discount code, so our Explorer Chicks can order their own freeze-dried meals for their next adventure or even as emergency rations.
These three companies are just a few of the woman-owned small businesses we support. The Tour Industry is a massive network of small businesses from local guiding services, restaurants, lodges, and more all working in unison to provide exceptional experiences for travelers (and Explorer Chicks!).
Yes, the big guys exist – the Hiltons, the Airlines, the Sandals resorts, etc. But, a majority of the industry is made up of small, local businesses who have their niche in their destination. And some of the businesses are wholly women-owned or partially. Take for example our kayaking partners in Vegas, our rafting partners in Moab, our climbing partners in Hocking Hills, and our boat partners in Baja.
Small businesses are responsible for about 2 out of 3 new jobs every year.
So, I’m going to close this out sharing why you should support small businesses. For this, I am using Explorer Chick as an example. In 2014, Explorer Chick launched as a 1 woman show. Almost 5 years later, EC employs 10 other women who work remotely across the country. This includes 2 stay at home moms (Hooray for Mandi and Amy!) who have a nice side hustle with the flexibility to care for their families. We have collectively created a 21st century work environment – one where we can all passionately work without boundaries while still coming together as a Dream Team.
Then, beyond our own office, we contract the services of other small businesses who employ even more people – our website development team, accounting and payroll, several software platforms, and more. Supporting Small Businesses helps support increased employment. Small businesses are responsible for about 2 out of 3 new jobs every year. That’s nothing to bat an eye at. So, next time you go to spend that dollar, maybe direct it towards one of your favorite small businesses to help our economy flourish.
If you’re supporting one of our Women-Owned Business Partners, please show them some love by tagging them in your social media posts. Small steps make the biggest impact!