After a day of volunteering in the Santa Monica Mountains, Keith Eshelman and Sevag Kazanci realized that environmental damage and insufficient funding had left a detrimental mark on the lands. On that day in 2014, the Parks Project brand was born. The duo started small, printing shirts in their garage and taking them to trade shows where people could learn about their cause and support the business. The more people started to recognize the project, the more they could give back to the parks, and by 2016, Eshelman and Kazanci became an official National Parks partner.
While Eshelman and Kazanci helped the parks by donating money from their apparel sales to help fund projects, they did not stop there. In 2019, the two launched their Volunteer Alliance Field Crew program, which hosts volunteer days all over the country to help clean up the national parks. They even started doing company volunteer trips to get more people involved and to develop a better connection with nature. The Parks Project’s website has information on its 42 current projects that consist of youth education, wildlife conservation, visitor programs, and habitat restoration. One of its many projects involves teaming up with the Joshua Tree National Park Association, funding the association’s park research. The project values educating younger generations, as the national parks will outlive society, and it is up to advocation to keep conserving the lands that will have a continuous impact on the ecosystem.
Parks Project has made its products more sustainable as it works to change the abundance of consumption in society. According to the National Park Trips’ website, Parks Project has done drops of vintage apparel on its website. The team is also working on upcycling materials to make items. In terms of production processes, its partner facilities run on solar power, and the company is working on becoming a completely paper-free facility, as noted on the Parks Project website. As Eshelman and Kazanci strive to make their company as sustainable as possible, their beautifully designed products continue to have a positive impact.
The Parks Project sells a variety of items, from clothing and accessories to home goods. Consumers can even “shop by park,” which includes the national parks that the team helps fund, such as Joshua Tree, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, and Acadia. The business creates unique designs that are exclusive to each park, and the different attributes of the lands are featured on the products.
This generation can do their part by supporting businesses like Parks Project, which create sustainable clothing while also giving back to the environment. Doing small actions each day can help better the planet, whether that be recycling plastics and paper, buying sustainably-sourced products, or reducing consumption. Each of those actions will make an impact, no matter how trivial it may seem, as the core message of the Parks Project says, “Leave it better than you found it.”