Student start-up company secures John Lewis distribution deal

Ethical bag company also appearing on popular BBC3 series

Ethical bag producer ElephantBranded has successfully completed a deal to sell its products at John Lewis.

The company, founded by University of Bath student James Boon, offers disadvantaged children in Africa and Asia an ergonomically designed school bag for every ethical bag sold.

Boon and his partner Tim Mendelssohn also promise villagers in Africa and Asia a fair wage for producing their stock, made from recyclable materials.

The start-up has been helped along by support and mentoring from the SETsquared Partnership, a collaboration between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Surrey and Southampton to support new businesses through spin-outs, licensing and incubation.

In June the student start-up company won SETsquared’s Uni Popshop competition, successfully making the most profit at a one-day trading event at London’s Spitalfields market.

ElephantBranded, which is currently appearing on the BBC3 series ‘Be Your Own Boss’, is due to sell its products at John Lewis stores across the UK from October.

Boon is grateful for the support from SETsquared for helping him to get his company to where it is: “The support provided by SETsquared, including mentoring and its student entrepreneurship events, has been invaluable in helping me develop ElephantBranded, and in boosting my skills in running a business.”

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