It all began in March 2014, when Niki Koubourlis launched a Denver Meetup group called Bold Betties, to help everyday women get out and enjoy different outdoor activities. However, the cost for gear to attend these Meetups added up quickly; it’s pricey enough to outfit for one activity, let alone a handful, she explained.
That’s where Niki’s new company, Bold Betties Outfitters, steps in.
“The purpose of Bold Betties Outfitters is to get more women involved in adventure travel and the outdoors, and to make that accessible by reducing the cost,” Niki said.
This last August Niki started offering outdoor equipment rentals online – everything from backpacks and tents to clothes and dry bags. The Bold Betties’ closet won’t stow gear or apparel that’s more than two seasons old or rundown, and there’s a bonus—if you like the gear you can keep it!
The retail price of the item is docked depending on its condition, age, and the number of times it’s been rented, and the rental fee is deducted as well. Essentially, the process is similar to purchasing a pair of demo skis.
In addition to outdoor equipment rentals, the Bold Betties sells consumables and various necessities, including batteries and first aid kits, making it a one stop shop.
While the Meetup endeavor doesn’t turn a profit, it has helped Niki identify the community she wants to help: women that want to have a good time outside, but might not want to be competitive.
The most common deterrents for women interested in trying a new activity include the cost factor; intimidation (marketing of uber-fit women and men); not having the right group of people (non-competitive types); and the logistics of deciding where to go and how to organize the trip.
“For me, it’s important to know what to expect so I can prepare for it, but in media and the industry as we know it, there’s often vernacular or jargon that makes you feel…stupid. Everything here is designed for the average woman and I’m trying to demystify this stuff and make it simpler,” Niki said.
Niki is a Washington native who after wrapping up her MBA at the University of Chicago, moved to Chile to run a tech company called Crystal Lagoons. The company created water purification technology for use in mega-sized artificial pools and bodies of water.
“The first pool the company built was 1 kilometer long; you can sail in it. Now there’s one that’s fifty percent larger in Egypt,” she said.
As cool as that sounds, the career security Niki achieved didn’t outweigh her true passion and desire for a greater life purpose—to spend time in the outdoors exploring and building meaningful relationships.
“For me, my time outside and seeing the world has been invaluable in terms of having a richer life, gaining independence and feeling self sufficient,” Niki said. “When I’m doing those things solo or with my girlfriends, those experiences have been very valuable to me. I began to see those experiences as being the vehicle for me to help women.”
After moving from Santiago to Colorado a year and half ago, Niki decided to commit to her passion and started Bold Betties.
When was the last time you tried a new outdoor sport? What was the best and worst part?