Outdoor Afro Partner Spotlight–Caroleigh Pierce, Klean Kanteen

Who are Outdoor Afro’s partners? What do these partnerships mean? 
We are asked these types of questions frequently, and in response, decided to launch a short series of brand partner spotlights to share how they work with Outdoor Afro, and the passionate people who drive them.
Introducing: KLEAN_KANTEEN
Since meeting founder Rue Mapp at Outdoor Retailer in 2012, Caroleigh Pierce of Klean Kanteen has been a close friend, avid supporter, and true partner of Outdoor Afro. The two were introduced through our friends at Nature Bridge, and quickly formed a friendship. Caroleigh’s expertise about the ecological and health benefits of sustainable containers (as well as the negative aspects of plastic) have been invaluable to the Outdoor Afro Leadership Team and the larger Outdoor Afro community. Klean Kanteen’s array of lightweight, reusable products ensure that any camping, hiking, skiing, mountaineering–pretty much any outdoor trip–will be healthy and environmentally sound! We caught up with Caroleigh to share a bit more about herself, the Klean Kanteen brand, and our partnership.
1. How long have you been at Klean Kanteen?
I’ve been working for Klean Kanteen since 1/11/10. I started out doing wholesale invoicing then moved through a few departments until I found my home in partnerships 2 years ago.
2. How did you become interested in the outdoors/Outdoor Retail industry?
I grew up camping, fishing and working in the garden with my parents but I have never considered myself an “outdoors” person. I found my way to Klean via a girlfriend who thought I would be a good fit for our very family friendly company. Since I’ve come to Klean, I’ve found a new appreciation and love of the outdoors and how important it is to my overall health and wellness. You can’t get better therapy than a crisp night looking up at the stars or sitting in silence next to a quick moving stream or near the powerful ocean.
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3. What excites you the most about working for Klean Kanteen?
I LOVE that I work for a company that sees the value of supporting nonprofit organizations that are out doing the hard work and flying the flag to create change in the world. My job as Outreach Manager allows our company to actively seek out and nurture relationships with these thought leaders. Creating real, mutually beneficial relationships that go beyond a check and a table at the annual dinner auction.
4. What excites you about Klean Kanteen’s partnership with Outdoor Afro?
LOTS!! I was excited from the very first time I was introduced to Rue by a mutual friend at Outdoor Retailer. I knew I needed to find a way to work with her and it was OBVIOUS that she was on a mission and going to do amazing things. Since then, every time I’ve participated in an OA event or call or Facebook conversation I’ve felt as though I was a part of the team. The love and commitment and FUN is contagious. I love that the OA leaders are working in their own community to meet people where they are at and to customize their experiences. I know this is just the beginning for Outdoor Afro and I want to be a part of this conversation and transformation to get folks outside. I’m also excited about how interested the leaders have been in learning more about our product and have become such great ambassadors for our brand.
5. How do you see your products facilitating people’s outdoor experiences, especially first timers?
Our product is top notch. It’s expensive, but with the proper understanding of what it replaces, it’s worth the investment. It can be something that can be used in all facets of your life. From the desk to the day hike. From your kitchen to the backcountry. You can’t say that about much outdoor gear. On a deeper level, I also think our product can start a conversation and can help people have a better understanding of the “leave no trace” philosophy as well as “healthy hydration”. Packing in and out your own safe, clean water that isn’t filled with chemicals is a really good thing.

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6. What is something people might not know about you and/or Klean Kanteen?
We all live and work together in the small college town of Chico, California. A company of less than 50 employees that now serve almost 50 countries. We are brothers, sisters, neighbors and friends. Until recently, most of us had very little job experience in sales, marketing or distribution. We just loved what our brand stood for and saw the potential of what it could become. 10 years later, we’re still having fun and continuing to grow!
7. How can people learn more about Klean Kanteen and your mission?
You can go to our website kleankanteen.com or check us out on Facebook and Twitter. We share a lot of information about our company mission, our overseas production and our partnerships.
We are thankful to Caroleigh Pierce for her undying enthusiasm for our mission!
What’s your favorite Klean Kanteen product?