Purpose Driven | Sevag Kazanci, Co-Founder, Parks Project

October 30, 2018

 Shop Parks Project: Use the code: underswell30 for 30% off your purchase; limit to one use per customer.


Sevag Kazanci is the co-founder of Parks Project, a brand whose motto is to “leave it better than you found it,” referring to our National, State, and local parks; as well as local public lands. The unique thing about Parks Project? Each collection of quality goods Parks Project makes, is made with purpose and helps fund a project in our (yes OUR) parks.


So how’d it all start?


In 2010 Sevag started working for TOMS, the shoe company that helped bring the purpose driven business model to the mainstream. Sevag admired their belief system and the opportunities to visit developing countries and pass out shoes to those truly in need of them. While he worked at TOMS, Sevag began volunteering doing trail work and some habitat restoration and the time he spent putting in service supporting the parks slowly turned into the question, “What else can I do?” This was the initial spark for Park’s Project.


Sevag studied at Cal State Long Beach and couldn’t shake the inspiration he felt to make a positive impact with his life and often considered joining the Peace Corps. He worked his way through the surf/skate apparel industry, spending time at O’Neill and eventually a job as a Sales Support Associate at Volcom. Even though Volcom was his “dream skate job” Sevag was really inspired by the positive work he had been a part of at TOMS Shoes.


Sevag Kazanci met fellow coworker/ friend and eventual Co-Founder, Keith Eshelman while at TOMS and they developed a friendship and eventually decided they wanted to leave and create a brand where philanthropy was rooted in their business model. Parks Project was then born to educate, engage, and connect communities to nature as well help fund the restoration of our National Parks and lands.


Parks Project does something more…


Parks Project organizes volunteer days to tend to trails or plant native species back in the park and hopes to be a place to let people come experience volunteering and the outdoors. Parks Project currently works with 32 conservation park projects. Majority are national parks but also state, local parks, and lands.


Parks project makes apparel and accessories and all of their gear either ties back to a specific park or has a message/purpose behind them. Every Parks Project product helps fund a park or public land. By looking at the hangtag or online, buyers can see exactly which projects they are funding with each purchase. Parks Project ultimately would love for people to get outside and live healthier lives; but also pay respect to these places by conserving them. Sevag states, “Giving back to nature gives us the chance to really make a true difference.”


Such an inspiring business model. If you love our parks, you’ll love Parks Project and if you love doing better business, you’ll love this conversation...


Shop Parks Project: Use the code: underswell30 for 30% off your purchase; limit to one use per customer.


Topics Covered in our talk:

-National, State, Local Park and Land Preservation

-Volunteer Work: Restoring Trails and lands

-Parks Project

-Products with a purpose


-Camping/Hiking/Trail Work

-Planting Native plants and “Giving Back More than Taking”

-Community Service/raising volunteers

-Engaging People to support parks and voting for right people

-Partnering with National Parks


-Better Business

-Collaboration with National Geographic

-Current Issues in National Parks

-Finding Balance

-Team Creating

-Gift shop Mentality

-Creating Purpose and Impact


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©2017 Derek A. Sabori, The Underswell.