Inspired by the word “Kook” which is a slang to describe an amateur surfer, Koastal Kooks is an apparel and clothing company founded by University of New Hampshire (UNH) students John Bogush, Patrick Cotter, Adil Hamdi, Carter Havey and Christian Lamers. Though Koastal Kooks was only an idea for these five co-founders when they were in high school, it came to fruition this past summer. Since then, Koastal Kooks has become a popular brand in the UNH community. The brand sells basic clothing pieces ranging from t-shirts, crewnecks, hoodies, sweatpants, to accessories like hats and beanies.  

Koastal Kooks Co-Founder Carter Havey said that the co-founders wanted to celebrate amateurism in outdoor activities, and so, the name “Koastal Kooks” was born. “Koastal Kooks represents someone who have a desire for an adventurous lifestyle. They are not doing it for the mastery, they’re doing it for pure enjoyment of it; that is what being a ‘kook’ is,” he added.  

Havey said that the co-founders wanted to reflect the meaning of their brand through the designs of their products. After reaching out to a few people, the co-founders ended up collaborating with Alyssa Doust, who mocked up the typeface and the first design for the brand. “I think our designs do reflect the level of earthiness and lightness [that we envisioned],” said Havey.  

Koastal Kooks uses a lot earthy and pastel tones in the color schemes of their products to align the designs with the meaning behind the name of the brand. The design of the clothes is made to be heavy-duty without sacrificing quality or comfort. 

However, Havey acknowledged that running a business during a pandemic can be a daunting challenge, especially for a startup like Koastal Kooks. “Running a business itself, at any point is something that is fun but challenging to do,” said Havey. Though, the Hampton, N.H. native said that he is thankful for the UNH community for being supportive of the brand.  

Koastal Kooks has received a lot of support from their biggest target market, UNH students. “A huge chunk of our sales has been UNH [students]. It’s the market that we’re currently deepest in right now,” added Havey. Being UNH students themselves, the co-founders have decided to firstly approach close friends and other UNH students regarding their products.  

Havey said that this approach has been one of their marketing strategies as a startup but hope to expand their brand in the near future. “Hopefully this holiday break UNH students who have purchased our products will go home and wear it, and their friends from other schools or towns will see it, and that would probably attract a few more sales outside of the UNH community,” he explained.  

In terms of Koastal Kooks’ plans for the future, Havey said that the co-founders are working on making Koastal Kooks a recognizable brand nationwide. To do this, Havey stresses the important of building up the brand through their marketing strategies by “producing contents that goes hand in hand with the clothing.” He added, “The quality of our products speaks for itself but in order to get to where we want, I think it’ll be a tremendous amount about making a lifestyle around the brand.” 

Currently, Koastal Kooks’ biggest sales has been its sweatshirts and sweatpants which Havey claimed to be the brand’s iconic pieces, but the company is working on producing more designs for all of their products. “We are always working on new designs and new concepts, so I think moving forward, that is definitely the ultimate goal which is to have more variety,” said Havey.  

Customers can purchase Koastal Kooks’ products through their Instagram (@koastal.kooks). Their high quality, heavy-duty and comfortable apparels and accessories ranges anywhere in between $25 for their hats and beanies to $45 for their hoodies. 

Photos courtesy of Christian Macdonald