When Kit Edwards lost his job to COVID-induced downsizing, he knew he wanted to do something meaningful. He had been working in fulfillment/ecommerce for St. Louis-based sales and marketing company Martiz and loved it. “So, I talked to my wife, and we decided to go it on our own,” he said.
Edwards launched Urban Bower, an online marketplace that specializes in products made from recycled and sustainable materials. “I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and being active: camping, hiking, fishing,” Edwards said. “At Urban Bower, our mission is not only to bring you great, eco-friendly products, but also to introduce customers to brands that have wonderful missions of their own.”
Edwards started with items like sustainably made backpacks, yoga mats, hammocks, and camping utensils — “products for any kind of outdoor activity,” he said — but has recently branched out into eco-friendly gifts. One example: the Glow & Grow candle, a soy-blend scented candle that comes in a ceramic vessel and includes seeds to grow a spruce tree once the candle has been burned down. Urban Bower currently offers about 170 individual products.
“Before this, I used to go to [outdoor stores] and go out of my way to find things made of better materials that were eco-friendly. With Urban Bower, I want to make sure people like me don’t have to go looking for a needle in a haystack,” Edwards said. “I want my customers to know there are high-quality products out there made from sustainable materials. I think a lot of people think the opposite.”
Edwards also hopes to combat industrial waste, which some studies estimate produces as much as 7.6 billion tons of garbage each year. “A lot of large companies are starting to transition to using recycled materials, and the reason for that is customer demand,” he said. “If I can help show there’s a demand for recycled materials, rather than virgin materials, where scraps end up in a landfill or stream, I find that important.”
Apart from online at urbanbower.com, you can find Urban Bower at local craft fairs and events like the St. Louis Earth Day Festival and the Gateway Outdoor Expo. Edwards says he loves interacting with shoppers and strives to provide the best possible customer service and satisfaction. “I really love it when customers are open and honest with me,” he said. “I want to know what they want us to carry, and I’m always open to suggestions, so please reach out!”