Photos by Erica Jessop
Want to launch an unknown brand in a sea of well-known major players and expect to come out ahead? Do one of two things. Create a Questival or hire Davis Smith. The self-professed entrepreneur and BYU grad not only has a track record for finding and filling gaps in ecommerce but he can throw one hell of an event.
Questival, a scavenger/adventure race (scaventure?) kicked off in Salt Lake City yesterday to celebrate the launch of Davis’ latest endeavor. Cotopaxi is a benefit corporation that will manufacture and sell outdoor packs, water bottles and apparel direct to consumer online with a portion of sales going to third world countries to aid impoverished kids. Davis is trying to show you that is possible and easy to pay it forward. Buying just one water bottle will create two years of clean water. One pack can educate one child in Nepal for a week.
There were 1300 registrants for the 24-hour event before anyone had ever seen a pack. At the check-in point at Rice Eccles Stadium at 4 p.m. teams of up to four received their first Cotopaxi pack (named after the second highest summit in Equador) along with instructions that sent them all over Utah earning points for performing certain tasks and Instagraming them. Not only are they required to hashtag #cotopaxi #gearforgood #questival and the task number but the photo must have one teammate and four of the packs pictured. After six hours, they had logged more than 21 thousand tags. How’s that for marketing?
“We make money, give it to nonprofits and sell at super-competitive prices. It’s a great business model IF you can build an incredible brand,” said Davis. But with a zillion backpack companies in the outdoor market it’s “dang hard to build a brand.” Questival became his inspiration for mass awareness.
Each team from the three categories- co-ed, all men, all women- has a shot at a trip to Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, or Kilimanjaro. They accumulate points by choosing “challenges” from a variety of categories like adventure, service, social media, survival and quirky. You can ride a slide at a public park for two points or drive to a national park for 30 points; strike a yoga pose in a natural setting, take a photo of a county line sign; hike to Ensign Peak or do an hour of community service. The photos that have emerged are both hilarious and inspiring.
“The Questival is the perfect culmination of our ideas,” said Davis. “It’s adventure, memories, viral and social all tied to a social mission that we can do good with our packs. There are tons of points for doing the good tasks. It makes you feel amazing.” There’s also a huge bonding aspect as teammates race across the city taking creative pictures with catchy phrases for all the world to see. Like Team Thunder_Ducks going buff at Stewart Falls- “As our good brother Job said: Naked came I out of my mother’s womb and naked shall I return thither save for my “Cotopaxi backpack.”
To learn more about Cotopaxi and feel a pack firsthand, get on down to Thanksgiving Point tonight at 6 p.m. (Saturday, April 12) for the free concert. Mates Of State, Joshua James, and Kenz Hall + Fictionist +Brumby perform.