What's in a Name?
Cotopaxi (kōtōpä´ksē) is an active stratovolcano in the Ecuadorian region of the Andes. The volcano is an important part of the local culture and is held sacred by nearby Andean indigenous communities. It’s also our namesake.
Our founder, Davis Smith, grew up in Latin America and lived for several years in Ecuador. When he wasn’t in school, Davis was exploring and camping in Cotopaxi National Park. It was here that he developed a lifelong reverence for the strong, hard-working people of the Andes. His time in Latin America also showed him the plight of those in abject poverty.
Davis later moved to the United States, where he pursued advanced degrees in business and international studies. He started several successful e-commerce businesses, two of which took him to Brazil, where he lived from 2010 to 2013. Despite his success, he wanted to do more to make a difference in the world. For his next venture, he decided to merge his love of travel with a poverty-fighting business model. Each customer’s purchase would give to those living in the world’s poorest regions. He named the company Cotopaxi to represent the spirit of adventure, optimism, and determination that he’d experienced during his time in Ecuador.
What We Do
We’re a Certified B-Corp that creates outdoor products and events, and we give 2% of our revenue to alleviate poverty. We work with organizations like International Rescue Committee, Educate Girls, and Proximity Designs to provide health, education, and livelihoods in developing countries. One of our grantees, Escuela Nueva, has a presence in Ecuador, and we're working to expand our impact throughout the Andes. In our own communities, we help welcome new international neighbors through programs like Refugee Card Writing and the Refugee Coding Project.
We’re a people-focused company, and we strive to help others at every point in our supply chain. Our company’s journey has had its own setbacks and surprises, but it’s been well worth the effort.
The adventure is just beginning. We hope you’ll join us.
At Cotopaxi, we like to shake things up. Those scraps of leftover fabric? We’re making gear out of them. That old way of insulating a jacket? We’re using llama fiber. By taking an inventive, considered approach to product design, we believe we can help make a positive impact on the world.
The old standard is, well, getting old. By empowering the people who make our gear, building lasting relationships, and ensuring our products come to life under fair, sustainable working conditions, we’re changing the supply chain for the better.
“Will Cotopaxi change the world? It’s still way too early to tell. But I’m confident that Smith and his brand are clearly and traceably aiming to do good.”
“Elegant, smart, and as innovative as their business plan.”
“Cotopaxi is part of a wave of successful start-ups who are proving that fundamentally realigning the balance between profit and philanthropy can generate win-win relationships for everyone involved.”
Our products are guaranteed to last 61 years—the average lifespan of a person living in the developing world. If there’s a problem with your product, we’ll gladly exchange it, get you a replacement, or repair the item in-house. In other words, it’s going to last.