Entrepreneur designing size-inclusive hydration packs awarded $10K small business grant

Charlotte Bowens, the founder of Conscious Gear, a brand dedicated to creating products that promote a more inclusive hiking community, received a surprise this week that will help her business grow. Verizon awarded her a $10,000 grant to support her brand as a result of her participation in Verizon’s Small Business Digital Ready program.

Verizon Arizona Director of Small Business Sales Claudia Hidalgo stated that Charlotte was chosen for the grant because she is an active and engaged user on the platform. Her story resonated with Verizon, making her a deserving recipient of the grant. ABC15 previously featured Bowens and Conscious Gear, specifically highlighting their VestaPak hydration packs designed to better fit larger bodies.

The Vestapak utilizes a vest-style design, different from traditional backpack-like straps, to enhance movement, hydration, and exercise. This innovative product was inspired by Bowens’ personal weight loss journey and fitness experiences. She noticed a gap in the outdoor equipment industry and decided to address it with her brand.

Receiving national attention, USA Today included the Vestapak in its list of the top 10 gifts for outdoor enthusiasts. Bowens expressed that the grant came as a pleasant surprise, emphasizing her passion for creating products that resonate with the plus-sized community. She plans to use the grant money to hire a team member, outsource order fulfillment, and cover office rent expenses. Despite occasional self-doubt, Bowens feels validated by the support she has received from the community and believes in the importance of her work.

Excited to expand her brand, Bowens aims to develop new products such as hiking shorts and shirts catering to plus-sized individuals. Additionally, she is working on making the VestaPak available in REI Co-op stores nationwide and online. Bowen’s commitment to inclusivity and innovation is propelling Conscious Gear to new heights in

By Riley Johnson

As a content writer at newsmol.com, I dive into the depths of information to craft compelling stories that captivate and inform readers. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I strive to create engaging content that resonates with our audience. Whether it's breaking news, in-depth features, or thought-provoking opinion pieces, I am dedicated to delivering high-quality, informative content that keeps readers coming back for more. My goal is to bring a fresh perspective to every article I write and to make a meaningful impact through the power of words.

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