Business to Know

Business to KnowBryan Pape, Founder of MiiR, reflects back on launching his company, his lessons learned along the way and on what he loves most about Seattle, Washington as part of the Dirt Road Travels digital city guide for Washingotn.

Seattle, Washington


"Buy a product and you're giving back."

MiiR Flagship
Bike the Burke-Gilman Trail
Cafe Besalu


"Buy a product and you're giving back."

Recommended by:
Recommended in:
Seattle, Washington
Bryan Pape, MiiR's Founder, talks about launching his water bottle business.

My Story

"I grew up entrepreneurial. My grandfather started a machinery company, and when he passed away, my grandmother started a foundation in his honor to give back to the community.

It struck me that while my grandfather was generous during his lifetime, he missed out on all that giving later in life with the foundation. So in the back of my mind, I always thought about combining business and generosity at the same time.


Then, I was skiing, took a couple of bad turns in a tightly wooded area, and hit a tree, snapping my femur right in half. I knew while this was happening that when you break your femur, you can bleed to death within minutes if you hit your femoral artery.

So I didn't know if I was going to live or die. 

I was laying against a tree not knowing what was going to happen. I wasn't in a panic, it was an odd, self-reflective time in the midst of chaos.

I had two distinct thoughts as the adrenaline was kicking in. One was about my girlfriend: 'If I survive this, I should wrap this up and propose because she's an incredible lady.' We got married a year later. We've been married 10 years now and have a beautiful 1.5 year old daughter.

The other was kind of morbid: 'If I have a funeral, what would people say about me?' I was struck by it. Nobody would get up and say, 'Bryan really cared about the people around him, about his community and used his life to help others.' 

I valued those things but wasn't putting it into action.

MiiR water bottles for sale on the wall at MiiR HQ in Seattle.

The accident was a catalyst for me to reflect on how I was using my life. Before, it was all about how much money I could make and what kind of car I drove. Things that really don't matter, looking back. It was a moment of shock and awe of, 'Man! I need to get my life together.'

With MiiR, it's all about giving back. We give 3% of our revenue - whether you buy a backpack, a beer, a coffee or a bottle - back to trackable giving projects."

My Favorite MiiR Product

"Our Growler. It's 64 ounces, so chances are you'll be sharing that beer or coffee with someone else. It represents community for our products." 

MiiR's growlers hanging on a wall at Miir Flagship in Seattle.

Best Advice I've Received

"Dennis Madsen, the former CEO of REI, is always telling me, 'Bryan, it's a marathon, not a sprint.' Entrepreneurs want to go, go, go, but it's important to remember that if you're really building a legacy that has a lasting impact, it doesn't happen overnight."

Completed Give Projects at MiiR HQ in Seattle.

My Advice for Others

""Patience. Today, there's this desire to have everything be done super quick, to grow really fast and always be crushin' it. Having patience and be willing to be in the 10, 15, 20-year game as opposed to the 5 years and flip it, or selling. At MiiR, we're going the long route. That organic growth lets you take care of your employees better too so that they can grow with the organization as opposed to us outgrowing our employees."

MiiR notebooks for sale at MiiR Flagship in Seattle.
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My Seattle Musts

"Start with a coffee or beer at MiiR Flagship, and then bike the Burke Gilman Trail. The best pastries are at Cafe Besalu, and head to Westward for dinner - it has the best views of the city, with oysters. Hard to beat that." 

MiiR's giving projects on the wall at MiiR Flagship in Seattle.

My Recommended Content

""Essentialism by Greg McKeown has been a pretty life changing book for me. As a founder and someone who's coming up with ideas and wanting to hustle and get after it, this book talks about the really beautiful idea of simplicity and cutting things out that aren't important, to just focus on what's necessary for happiness."




Bryan Pape
MiiR Flagship
"Fill a growler, fill your heart."
Bike the Burke-Gilman Trail
"A trail with tons of uses, right along the water."
"Every bite was better than the last. Truly."
Cafe Besalu
"Pastries that are way, way too good."
"Buy a product and you're giving back."

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