Colorado start-up ShareBrands gears up for social change |

Colorado start-up ShareBrands gears up for social change

Kelsey Fowler
ShareBrands founders Connor Knuston and Justin Hoffman are biking from Denver to Los Angeles, with Breckenridge and Vail among their first stops. The company sells products in five colors, with each color coordinating to a cause.
Kelsey Fowler / |

Pick a color, pick a cause — that’s how a new Colorado startup plans to initiate social change.

ShareBrands will soon start selling durable, everyday merchandise with a philanthropic twist.

The company plans to offer yoga mats, headphones, tote bags, dog collars, phone cases, mugs and T-shirts in five different colors. Purchase an $8 green tote bag, either online or at a partner store, and 25 percent of the purchase price goes toward the current ShareBrands environmental nonprofit.

Co-founders and Colorado natives Justin Hoffman and Connor Knutson are biking from Denver to Los Angeles, stopping in 12 cities to engage local businesses and nonprofits. The pair arrived in Breckenridge yesterday, and will travel to Vail today.

In Breckenridge, Knuston and Hoffman had already met with two local businesses, one of which signed on to carry ShareBrands products.

“We wanted to design a company that combines the nonprofit and for-profit business model,” Knuston said.

Yellow products support education, green for environmental, red for poverty, blue is men and children’s health and pink is women and children’s health.

Currently, ShareBrands is working with three nonprofits. Blue and pink product sales will support the Colorado Project Angel Heart, which helps provide nutritious meals to people with fatal illnesses.

For poverty, the company is currently supporting Friendship Bridge, offering micro-finance loans to women in Guatemala. Rays of Grace is the education benefactor, to help build a school in Uganda. The team is currently looking for an environmental nonprofit.

Knutson said he and Hoffman wanted to change the way people buy products and the impact those sales have.

“We saw a really big issues with the conventional retail model,” he said.

Since health and the environment are two of the key issues, Knutson said the bike tour was an important way for him and his team to spread the word and bring in more businesses.

“I want ShareBrands to be a company where we put our money where our mouth is,” he said. “We want inspire this desire in other people to do similar things.”

Knutson said he hopes to have about 70 percent of total sales online, and the other 30 percent in local stores who are partnering with ShareBrands.

“The first step is to meet with people in these different cities and find shop owners who might be interested in selling our products,” he said. “We want to encourage purchases that move consumers to an active role, a positive role, in social and economic change.”

The other stops include: Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Francisco.

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