We had the good fortune of connecting with Mariana Cevallos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mariana, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Since Mike (my co-founder and husband) and I met, we’ve always talked about running our own business together. I grew up in the urban Lima, Peru and when I moved to Colorado in 2015 I immediately fell in love with the outdoors. As a Latina woman of color, I felt underrepresented every time I was doing something considered ‘outdoorsy’.
We wanted this business to help more people like me feel included in the great outdoors so we came up with Alluvia Packraft. We are a startup based in Grand Junction that makes lightweight, packable, inflatable boats for adventurous explorers who want to include water sports in their outdoor activities. A packraft can be folded down to the size of a roll of paper towels and weigh less than 8lbs. 3% of our profits will go towards making the outdoors a more inclusive, diverse, and safe space for everyone.
Unlike our competitors who target packrafts towards someone who’s looking for ‘hardcore ‘multi day/sport adventures, we want to be perceived as a more approachable way to float on bodies of water positioning ourselves around a more urban and casual use. Ultimately, we want to become the outdoor exploration company that provides you with the gear that reduces the barriers of entry to the outdoors so we can all enjoy being outside in any way that we love.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The vision we have for Alluvia is to become the outdoor exploration company that provides you with the gear that reduces the barriers of entry to the outdoors so we can all enjoy being outside in any way that we love. Our business was founded with the purpose of being agent of change, and that believes in making the outdoors a more inclusive, diverse and safe space for everyone. And this is what makes us the most proud and excited about Alluvia.
Mike and I decided to start the business while I was waiting for the approval of my permanent residence in the US. Due to COVID, we knew that it was going to take a while so we took this as an opportunity to start Alluvia. Was it easy? I don’t think so. Mike has experience with running a separate business but there are so many industry specific details that you have to learn on your own or with the help of your network.
This is our first year of operations and we are still figuring out where to take our business. I think this is something that has to be seen as normal. It is ok to not have all the answers. The fastest you get out there, the easier it will be for you to find the answers. That has been our biggest lesson.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Outdoor Rec – Hike at the Colorado National Monument, skiing/snowboarding at Powderhorn, hiking at the Grand Mesa, maybe canyoneering and climbing.
Eat – Bin 707, Taco Party, Guru’s Kitchen, Suheiro, Snooks Bottom BBQ, Pablo’s Pizza
Drink – Highlands Distillery, Moody’s, Ramblebine, a winery in Palisade
Hang out – Main Street, farmer’s market (summer)
Favorite place to check out – secret dinosaur bones spot
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband and co-founder Mike Davlantes, who helped me discover the great outdoors and who encourages me every day to be an agent of change in this world.
And Spencer Ingram, he has been mentoring and supporting us in the process of creating and evolving our business idea into a viable business model.