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Meet the Maker: BioLite

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You know what they say – a couple that hikes together, creates more likes together.

Okay, people may not actually say that, but studies have shown that couples who participate in outdoor activities together report increased feelings of love, connection, and happiness. That’s probably why so many couples have added BioLite’s innovative outdoor recreation equipment to their registries this year and why we’ve partnered with them!

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BioLite Camp Stove

BioLite’s most well-known product is their flagship CampStove, a portable wood-burning stove that turns fire into electricity. Using nothing but the sticks and twigs around you, you can create a smokeless portable campfire in minutes that you can use to cook up delicious meals while charging your gadgets (hey, someone’s gotta power your phone to keep Instagram-ing). Beyond the CampStove, BioLite has introduced a whole line of cooking, charging, and lighting products that make off-grid life fun, accessible, and social. Whether you’re a looking to go trekking in the backcountry or just wanting to relax together with a mini bonfire on the beach, BioLite has something for you.

BioLite has been winning a steady stream of awards over the past few years, making them a rising name in the outdoor world. But here’s something you may not know about them: while this Brooklyn-based startup makes great gear for camping, they’re also using those same technologies to try and save lives in other parts of the world—all with your help.

The full story begins back in 2006 when co-founders Jonathan Cedar and Alec Drummond were spending their nights and weekends developing the CampStove as an efficient alternative to petroleum and battery powered camp stoves. After a few years of tinkering, they found themselves with a working prototype and two tickets to a stove convention. “We thought it would be a bunch of random folks like us just trying to make interesting things – but we quickly learned that there was this entire movement around the need for cleaner cookstoves,” says Jonathan, now CEO, “Half the planet still cooks over smoky wood fires leading to more annual deaths than AIDS, TB, and Malaria combined.”

This technology had the potential to do much more than fuel a fire while recreationally camping in the outdoors: “it was right then and there that we decided to build our business around a much bigger mission: to help households living in energy poverty by providing safe, accessible, and affordable energy solutions on a personal scale. And that’s where the HomeStove was born.”

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The HomeStove is BioLite’s emerging markets model stove which cuts fuel consumption in half and reduces emissions by 90% – and yes, it generates electricity, too.

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BioLite has sold over 15,000 HomeStoves across India and sub-Saharan Africa, reducing carbon output by an estimated 50,000 tons. Over the next ten years they plan to reach millions of homes, but building markets is a long road – and that’s where you come in. 

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BioLite practices a unique business model called Parallel Innovation where BioLite’s R&D team develops core technologies and then turns them into products unique to their two distinct markets. From there, a portion of sales from their outdoor products gets reinvested into the long-term costs to build effective channels and programs in emerging markets. In other words, each time you buy BioLite equipment, you’re not just getting a great off-grid product, you’re directly supporting a team that is working on bringing meaningful solutions to households living in energy poverty

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A company that gets you outside, makes great products, and has a mission you can feel good about.

That seems pretty registry-worthy, doesn’t it?

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