I typically view anniversaries or momentous milestones as an opportunity to reflect on the memories made along the way, reveal behind the scenes stories, and show appreciation to all the people we've met and relationships that have been formed. But it’s also a point in time to reconfirm the purpose that is the guiding light as our company continues to grow.

As most know, Kokopelli was founded out of a garage in Denver, CO in the summer of 2012. Along with two of my long-time grade school friends, we set out to create a brand that checked a few boxes: (1) create cool outdoor gear (2) be approachable and community driven, and (3) have fun doing it. Looking back now, I think we have stayed true to those founding principles.

I can’t even begin to try and recall all the new places and people that I have met along this journey. I would like to recognize and give appreciation to all of those relationships I have made and the hard work that has gone into creating this company. It all starts with our employees who share the same passion and vision for making great products that get us outdoors more easily and more often. That love comes out each day through the work we do at Kokopelli. We have built great relationships with our retail and manufacturing partners, our ambassador team, and most importantly, with the community and customer base who shares that same passion for getting into the outdoors for a good ol’ fashioned adventure. I would like to personally thank every one of you because without you we wouldn’t be here today.

Some of my most memorable moments include recognition from the industry and media that show the thoughtful and purpose driven design that go into each of our products. We have been awarded 2x Best in Show awards by Gear Junkie at Outdoor Retailer, a Men’s Journal Gear of the Year award, a Brand New award from ISPO Munich, named to Colorado Companies to Watch, and recently recognized as an Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies award. Each of these recognitions encapsulate all the hard work and dedication that go into bringing these ideas and products to life.

All businesses face challenging times, but a global pandemic wrought with ongoing shutdowns of our retailers, manufacturing headaches, and logistical supply chain nightmares probably comes first to mind as one of the most chronic and impactful beat down sessions our team has gone through together. We pick each other up when needed, offer encouraging words and give praise for a job well done when deserved. We’re focused and driven to make Kokopelli a continued success and have every intent to do it together as a team.

We were recently on a river trip where we were battling 40-50 mph head winds and were having trouble holding our position on the river. We made it only four miles in roughly six hours of paddling. We were mentally and physically drained, but the next morning we woke up to the most stunning sunrise I'd seen a long time. I look back at that moment as a metaphor to how we approach business — we all go through challenging and trying times but if you can endure, you’re bound for those special moments that come just around the next bend.

I want to thank our loyal and passionate customers for helping build and be part of something that means more to me than I can find words to express. I see no limit to the degree of creativity, or amount of success we can achieve together. We have exciting new products in the development pipeline that will be releasing later this Fall and throughout 2023. The team continues to grow and we will stay true to our vision for creating purposeful outdoor adventure gear, fostering a growing community, and having fun while doing it.

See you out on the water!

- Kelley Smith, President and Founder


July 13, 2022 — Kelley Smith