UNH-based Entrepreneurs Launch Sustainable Clothing Brand on Kickstarter
A team of entrepreneurs from UNH Cooperative Extension have launched a new sustainable brand on Kickstarter called Nature Groupie Gear, selling products such as t-shirts, mugs and sweatshirts. UNH Extension will use the $20,000 in funds raised through Kickstarter to start a nonprofit business allowing nature enthusiasts across the country to show their appreciation for the outdoors while also supporting the work of Nature Groupie. Clyde and her team at UNH Extension created the Kickstarter campaign for Nature Groupie Gear after participating in the UNH I-Corps program.
“Nature Groupie exists to support conservation organizations recruiting and working with volunteers to care for lands,” said manager Malin Clyde of UNH Extension. “During the current pandemic, public lands in New Hampshire and elsewhere have seen more recreational use. With budgets already stretched thin, agencies and conservation groups are struggling to care for these community lands. This Kickstarter campaign will ensure that more volunteers will be trained and ready to help our public lands when the pandemic is over.”
Since 2013, more than 5,000 volunteers have used Nature Groupie (naturegroupie.org) to help clean rivers, restore wildlife habitats, maintain trails, plant trees and do environmental research in New England. More than 200 environmental organizations use Nature Groupie to connect with volunteers. This year, volunteers using Nature Groupie helped maintain trails near Squam Lake, removed invasive plants in Durham and planted milkweed for monarch butterflies in East Kingston.
“Kickstarter exists so small brands can get off the ground and get the capital they need,” explained Clyde. “Nature Groupie already attracts lots of people to volunteering, but the new brand will give a way for people to support us in a fun way and help ensure that lands will be taken care of in the future.”
Backers of the Nature Groupie Kickstarter campaign will receive rewards such as clothing and cups from ethical suppliers committed to fair labor practices and environmental sustainability. Hand-knit mittens with Nature Groupie’s orange creature are a special reward for larger pledges. A successful Kickstarter campaign will create a permanent online marketplace for the sale of Nature Groupie products into the future.
About Nature Groupie
Nature Groupie is a program that makes it easy to volunteer for nature in New England. Based at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, Nature Groupie empowers generations of outdoor enthusiasts to volunteer for nature through a website, digital communication, and supporting resources for conservation partners who work with outdoor volunteers. Learn more at naturegroupie.org.
About UNH Cooperative Extension
UNH Cooperative Extension puts trusted information and practical knowledge in the hands of citizens and businesses in New Hampshire. UNH Cooperative Extension is at work in every New Hampshire county, making the state’s critical industries stronger; developing vibrant communities and municipal leaders; fostering healthy families and an informed and engaged citizenry, and keeping the state’s natural resources healthy and productive. Learn more at extension.unh.edu.