Meet Hanna Bowden and Laurel Kasel, 2 women who launched an outdoor apparel business, Mpowher, last year that creates functional and attractive outdoor clothing and also, donates 20% of its proceeds to organizations that empower women and girls around the world.
Hanna reached out to us at The WON late last summer, and we couldn’t help but be impressed with the business plan, business style and altruistic attitude of Hanna and her business partner, Laurel. We think you’ll be impressed, too.
The WON: When people ask what do you do for a living, what do you say?
Hanna: I say that I have started a business with my business partner Laurel Kasel. Our company’s mission is all about helping to empower and inspire women everywhere.
The WON: What did you do before you did this job?
Hanna: Before this job I worked for the Aspire Group selling basketball ticket packages at Seton Hall University. Just before that I finished up 4 years of college and 4 years of playing collegiate basketball.
The WON: How was Mpowher born?
Hanna: Mpowher was born from the fact that we saw a lack of empowerment of women from all our years playing team sports to working in corporate America. This lack of empowerment was everywhere. Laurel and I knew that we needed to help make a change, but where to start. That is when Mpowher came to the scene, we both loved being active from team sports to being in the great outdoors. I grew up in Colorado so I split my time also skiing, snowboarding, rafting, hiking and mountain biking. We knew that we wanted to incorporate fitness and a healthy lifestyle into the company. I will speak for myself on how much confidence I gained from being active to just being over all healthy. It gives you purpose and when you feel good physically it helps you feel more confident about yourself. Bringing all of this together was how Mpowher was born.
The WON: Who designs the line of apparel?
Hanna: We had the basic ideas and thoughts for the design and worked with various people to refine them into garments that could be produced.
The WON: The charitable giving … what’s that about and why?
Hanna: To us this company is about helping people; that is how the company began. It was never about bringing in a huge paycheck. At the end of the day, we just really wanted to help our fellow women and lend a helping hand to those around us. What better way than to give back to amazing charities that are already doing incredible things.
The WON: When you’re not working on the biz, what do you like to do outdoors?
Hanna: Currently living in Park City, Utah, which has a ton of outdoor activities to offer. I like to hike, trail run and I am getting back into mountain biking (great biking trails by the way). When the snow starts to fall, I will be out on my skis and snowboard. If I can do something outside, you know that I will be doing it!
The WON: It’s a lofty goal, to “help empower and inspire women everywhere.” How do you even begin to do this task?
Laurel: We start everyday with the question, “How are we going to empower and inspire someone today?” It is a lofty goal; we like to think about the idea that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and it is a process that will take time. This is why the Mpowher Community is so important, because this community’s goal is to motivate and inspire each other to be the best they can be and be who they are. We continue to think about it one step at a time.
The WON: You have a partnership with Hanna in this business. What strengths do you each contribute?
Laurel: Hanna and I balance each other out very well in our business! I would say that Hanna excels with her creativity, her patience and timeliness. I am very driven, organized and detail oriented. Together we are both very hard working, great at engaging with people and we challenge each other to be the best versions of ourselves. I don’t think that this company would be where it is today without both of us working together.
The WON: What did you do before Mpowher Apparel?
Laurel: I played 4 years of collegiate basketball and graduated from Colorado Mesa University, with a degree in Business Marketing and Business Management. After graduation I worked at an Independent Sales Agency in New York where I represented Teva Sandals. That year was an amazing experience and I learned an abundant amount about sales, business and the workplace. It was also great to be part of the outdoor industry, which I love so much!
The WON: Can you expand a bit on the type of woman who would want to purchase this line of apparel? How do you envision your typical customer?
Laurel: Women’s empowerment is not specific to one type of person, so I would say our ideal customer is a woman who enjoys being active outside and embodies the mission of helping themselves and others to be the most empowered person they can be. This is a cause that needs everyone to come together and that is exactly what we are doing with our community, by building a support group to help all women!
The WON: What do you like to do when not working?
Laurel: I love being active and working out. You can find me hiking a mountain, at the gym or playing games outside. I just love being active and having fun in the sun!
Find out how to apply for the Mbassador program, host an event and share your story. Visit https://mpowherapparel.com