82. Elephant Branded

The start-up donating school kits to underprivileged children in Africa and Asia with each purchase of its recycled bags

Founder: James Boon
Founded: February 2012
Website: www.elephantbranded.com 

The idea behind Elephant Branded is appealingly simple; every time it sells one of its ethically sourced, recycled bags, it will donate one much-needed school kit to a child in Africa or Asia. The bags themselves come from a worthy source – Elephant Branded works with local village co-operatives in Cambodia making products from recycled cement bags, helping the older generations there gain the skills to get out of poverty. The cost of the donation school kit is included in the cost price of the bag but the company still turns a profit with every sale, allowing instant re-investment in new products and rapid expansion in just a year. Elephant Branded’s breakthrough moment came when founder James Boon won the 2012 Google Young Minds competition, leading to the company supplying the web giant with bags for their world conference and gaining a significant amount of capital as a result. Now stocked in 14 of John Lewis’ flagship stores across Europe as well as a FAB design outlet in Germany, the company plans to extend its range of Elephant Branded products with major projects in South Africa and Colombia next on the agenda. 

Startups 100 by Startups.co.uk