Elephant Branded has a simple idea to help school children in need. You buy one ethically made, recycled bag or related product and they give one ergonomically designed school bag and kit to a child in Africa or Asia.
From cement bags to a socially conscious and ethical brand.
James Munro Boon was on a trip in Cambodia when he noticed school children without adequate school supplies.
I traveled a lot and again would go to schools where the kids just didn’t have anything. I was shocked to see students coming into the school without pens or pencils and had to do their writing on pieces of old paper.
It was on one such trip that he met Pry and Mey, his now business partners in Cambodia. They had just started making a simple bag out of recycled cement bags. James thought if they changed the design a little then they could sell some bags to his friends and help raise some money to buy school equipment for the schools he had been to.
Meeting Pry and Mey in Cambodia really inspired James to help them grow the idea they had started with, tweak the design using his architecture background and bringing it to a wider market, while using some of the proceeds to help the communities.
The original plan was to sell 50 Elephant Branded bags to my friend and help to fund 50 school kits. I started in Hong Kong before heading back to the UK for my master’s degree in 2012, that is when things took off.
Within two weeks we had people calling us up and saying, ‘How can I get involved? We grew through student friends initially with ten representatives in the UK and four overseas, now we have over 50+ student reps all over the world. The people I have met along the way have made Elephant Branded possible.
Elephant branded has now sold bags in flagship stores such as John Lewis as well as on flights, through Cathay Pacific. They were also named one of Google’s Young Minds for business in 2012, from this they got a contract to supply delegate bags for Google world conferences, which gave them the funding to grow and expand without needing investment.
Supporting local businesses instead of aid
Elephant Branded believes that aid is only a short term solution. Instead they support local enterprises by giving local people the support to run their own businesses to get themselves out of poverty.
The Enterprise we work with in Cambodia works with over 30 women across two villages. Many of the women have lost their husbands and live and work at home so they can look after their children…. local people, local skills, local materials.
To know more about Elephant Branded and how you can contribute or become an EB rep visit their website at www.elephantbranded.com