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‘We’re selling a means to support national parks’ with our apparel and goods lines: Parks Project CEO

Parks Project makes national park-inspired apparel and home goods in order to give back to specific conservation efforts which will protect and preserve public lands in the United States. Keith Eshelman, the Parks Project Co-Founder and CEO, joins The Final Round to discuss his company, his latest ventures in apparel, and how Parks Project is helping to fight climate change.

Video Transcript

JEN ROGERS: So during this time of the pandemic, we have seen many people hitting the road, getting out to our national parks. I want to bring in our next guest, Keith Eshelman. He's Parks Project co-founder and CEO. This is part of our Road to Recovery segment, brought to you by Mastercard. And Keith, for people that don't know about your company, what is it? What are you guys selling? And what are you doing with the money?

Oh, hey, Keith, you got to unmute.

KEITH ESHELMAN: I apologize there.

JEN ROGERS: Don't worry, I do it all the time.

KEITH ESHELMAN: I would say, you know, what we are selling is a means to engage and support national parks, honestly. And that's by way of clothing, home goods, and accessories that represent our parks. Every product we do sell gives back to national parks to fund projects that are ongoing across our park lands.

DAN ROBERTS: Keith, Dan Roberts here. Thanks for joining us. I should say, I'm a fan of the site. And I have made a purchase from you guys. I recently bought the deck of playing cards from your site, although I'm disappointed that the hat with the sun is gone. I wanted that cap.

Let me ask you, during the past few years amid the Trump administration, without necessarily getting too political, but I would ask if you've seen sort of a spike in interest and a spike in purchases because of the perceived concerns over the current administration's policies with regard to national parks, the idea that, you know, our national parks are special and they may be more at risk right now because of the current government situation than they have been in the past.

KEITH ESHELMAN: Yeah, sure, I think some people in the outdoor industry would call it the Trump bump, where there is more threat of diminishing national park land and some of the area around park lands. And I do think that especially during the shutdown a few years ago, we saw a great spike in interest in business and traffic and conversion.

So with, you know, some of the overall concerns about conservation and the lack of funding for park plans, there has been-- the private sector and the nonprofit sector has seen increased funding to kind of adjust for that lack of public funding.

JEN ROGERS: Hey, Keith, before we go, real quick, just how is your business? I mean, look, we're looking at the economy here kind of being uneven. We're waiting for Washington, DC to come out with stimulus. How is it for you right now?

KEITH ESHELMAN: Yeah, our business is really strong. You know what I think? When you look year over year at 2019 to 2020, the new success metric is just holding steady. We'll be about 15% up year over year. A lot of that has come through e-commerce. A lot of it has come through sort of the cozy home goods products and the big collaborations that we've done.

Like, you guys showed the Sierra Club collaboration, activating people to vote for the environment. We've done some collaborations with musicians like The Lumineers. And we've got to find those pockets of audiences that care about your purpose and mission. And we've been able to do really well this year.

JEN ROGERS: All right, Keith, great to have you on. For anyone that's been just to the gift store at a national park, you guys have a really nice selection of stuff. So kudos to you there. Again, the company is Parks Project. Keith is the co-founder and CEO. Thanks a lot.

KEITH ESHELMAN: All right, take care. Thanks.