EP20 – How Serial Entrepreneur Davis Smith Built “Gear For Good” Apparel & Experience Brand, Cotopaxi

In episode 20 of The Stokecast, Emily and Jonathan recap the joys and pains of their recent experience running the Trapp Lodge Mountain Marathon in Stowe, Vermont. After, they have a deep conversation about building businesses with social impact with Cotopaxi Founder and CEO, Davis Smith.
  • How Davis runs his business AND his family by defining values and building an organizational culture (14:32)
  • When and why Davis learned to embrace his entrepreneurial spirit (16:00)
  • How Davis started and scaled his first business, going digitally native and selling pool tables online (18:45)
  • Why you shouldn’t hire your closest friends first or at all (24:20)
  • How to identify ideas that are going to work and stick with it (29:35)
  • How to compete in a crowded market (34:38)
  • Why he started an adventure race series called Questival and hired two llamas off Craigslist to launch Cotopaxi (41:14)
  • How Cotopaxi is empowering creativity within their manufacturing facility in the Philippines (49:31)
  • What is a Benefit Corporation and how does it work? (53:55)
  • The benefits of bootstrapping vs. raising capital (56:33)
  • Davis’ work to promote gender equality with GirlUp and Women’s Leadership Institute
  • How he balances professional and personal life by managing both like a business (1:05:00)
  • What Cotopaxi is doing to aid the refugee crisis and one incredible story of the impact made (1:11:06)
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Friends are a special gift. Each year, I share an outdoor adventure with six founder friends. We have different strengths, but together we build each other up, and through our friendship become better business leaders, friends, fathers, and believers. For this year’s trip we rented two small sailboats and island hopped around the Bahamas. We brought no meals (only a few snacks), and we lived off the land (fish and coconuts). We had some of the most amazing ceviche, fish/coconut stew, and grilled conch. Each campsite was breathtaking, every day’s sail a new test, and the challenge of bringing in our own food was incredibly fulfilling. #bahamas #exumas #adventureon #inthewildtime #spearfishing #camping #survival #sailing #cotopaxi

A post shared by Davis Smith (@davismsmith) on

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Thanks for joining us. Until next week!


Jonathan Ronzio
Jonathan Ronzio

Founder & Host

Founder, Explore Inspired | CMO, Trainual | Co-Host of The Stokecast Podcast | Mountain Athlete | Award-Winning Adventure Filmmaker | Keynote Speaker

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