Outside Business Journal

A Black-Owned Outdoor Business in Kentucky Faces a Fundraising Deadline

A new glamping destination called Camp Bespoke is set to open in Kentucky, if the project can meet fundraising goals

Chris Burton

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In order for Camp Bespoke to bring glamping to northern Kentucky, its owners will have to lock down some significant funding.

“For us to be able to open with our twelve-unit footprint, we are fundraising for about $250,000,” Camp Bespoke founder and CEO Nicole Brassington said this week. “If we are able to obtain that money within the next month, then we will be able to have an April opening with the smaller footprint.”

The twelve-unit operation will be a partial launch of the camping and recreation center, which aims to appeal to the nature-loving casual camper, according to Brassington. The compound will have 36 lodging units between its cabins, cottages and tipis, and for the more outdoorsy, 32 campsites where guests can pitch a tent. Camp Bespoke is situated on a 31-acre plot of land in Williamstown, Kentucky, about 50 minutes north of Lexington.

It’s been a long road for Brassington and her co-owners, who set out to create Camp Bespoke in 2019. The pandemic threw several wrenches in the group’s efforts, as important meetings were canceled, approval to move forward was delayed, and the cost of materials rose.

Trying to get a start-up off the ground as four Black women in the hospitality industry—where, as Brassington points out, less than 1 percent of owners and CEOs are Black—has also been challenging, especially in fundraising. The task of launching Camp Bespoke carries that additional weight in Brassington’s mind.

“Representation matters,” Brassington said. “There are people that could never imagine seeing someone who looks like them doing a project like this.”

While the ownership group is pursuing investors to cover the $250,000 general cost, they’ve set up a GoFundMe for a more urgent deadline (link below). The $65,000 that the GoFundMe seeks to raise by February 21 will cover the camp’s completed electrical work.

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