The Story of ANIMOSA

Kate Blazar

My mom calls me her Wild Child.

I grew up way out in the woods of the Olympic Peninsula, where the mountains were my playground and the fjords my swimming pool.  I prefer sleeping under the stars, just me and my sleeping bag, over a plush hotel bed.  I love whitewater rafting, standup paddling, swimming, canoeing, kayaking– anything involving water.  I’ve hiked in Costa Rica, camped in Mongolia, road-tripped across Argentina, climbed a mountain in China, trekked in Thailand, and rafted the Grand Canyon three times.  

In other words, I love to explore.  I feel strong and capable when I’m adventuring.  I’m more self aware, more confident, more present in the moment and in my body.  

After college I started down a career path of nonprofit environmental advocacy.  Within a few years, I had the opportunity to lead a fierce grassroots organization. It was hard and immensely rewarding work, but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that my professional trajectory was off-target.  That I could make an even greater positive impact on the world and inspire social change.

Then, in the midst of a river trip, I had the epiphany: I could start my own company.  A company with a mission to empower women to explore.  I’ve always been frustrated with women’s outdoor gear (and the lack thereof), so the company could make gear by adventurous women, for adventurous women.  Not just any gear, but gear that solves real problems– challenges women face in the outdoors and traveling.  

Just like that, the seeds of Animosa took root.

I started identifying gaps in existing outdoor gear and designing products to fill unmet needs.  I spent two years earning an MBA at the University of Oregon and used every class as an opportunity to work on the business.  In school I met Maggie and Ally, two women with badass business skills.  We teamed up and took Animosa on the road to startup pitch competitions.  We won a major international business plan competition (the first all-women team to do so!).  We talked with hundreds of women around the country and the world to understand their adventure gear needs, challenges, and interests.  

That brings us to where we are now, two months after graduating.  Our company is in the RAIN Accelerator program in Eugene, Oregon.  We’re getting ready to launch our first product this fall via Kickstarter.  The major pieces that go into making a company– the people, the systems, the funding, the strategies– are coming together, but with plenty of bumps along the way.  As it turns out, starting a company is a wild adventure unto itself.  

If you want to join the women of Animosa on this adventure, you’re in the right place.  We’ll post news, make announcements, and share our journey right here on our blog.

Let’s ride.

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Kate Blazar