Kiwi travel gear start-up Elephant Stripes gets global backing

A Kiwi start-up with a dream to redesign women’s travelling backpacks to be more stylish has received worldwide support on its Kickstarter. The campaign also taps into the corporate social responsibility trend, with a school bag offered to an Indonesian child in need for every bag sold during the campaign.

Elephant Stripes was co-founded by 23-year-old Francesca Logan and Jordan Abrahams, who met at Victoria University in Wellington.

Despite having vastly different interests, the pair bonded over a love of travelling and the desire to make a difference in the world.

While searching for travel gear for a backpacking trip around South East Asia, they struggled to find gear that looked good while being durable.

We found that most packs were made for hiking, not travelling,” Logan says. “The result was ugly, top-loading bags, with straps hanging off everywhere; not ideal for travel.”

They also couldn’t find any travel bags that had been designed with primarily women in mind.

“We were horrified by the mud-brown and boogie-green shades on offer. When it came to female travel packs usually the only change from the men’s packs was to ‘shrink it and pink it,’” Logan says.  

The idea for Elephant Stripes was born, with two years of design resulting in a product range that includes duffel bags, folding bags, suitcases and cosmetics cases in various designs.

Despite being fashionable, the bags still have all of the practical features like harnesses, rain cover and carry traps.

Their desire to do good in the world also meant they wanted some sort of ethical ‘give back’ aspect to their businesses.

Logan says they want to be part of the global movement towards better, more ethical business practices.

This is commonly referred to as “the caring economy” or “corporate social responsibility” and emphasises the idea of businesses being more socially responsible with products they create.

High-profile examples of this include Warby Parker, which donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair of glasses bought. More locally, Eat My Lunch gifts a child in need a lunch every time a lunch is bought.

Data from Nielsen shows two in five Kiwis will pay more for a brand from a company boasting environmental or social sustainability credentials, and 22 percent bought a product or service from a company supporting a worthy cause in the last month even though it was slightly more expensive. 

Elephant Stripes has since partnered with the Bali Children’s project, a not-for-profit charity, to give a school bag to an Indonesian child in need for every bag sold during the campaign.

Logan says the company is also moving towards fully recycled packaging, and wants to use recycled fabrics in the future.

The range has been well received, with over $20,000 raised in two weeks with backers from over 15 countries. There are still four days to go on the campaign.

Its goal was to reach $15,000. Keep an eye on the Kickstarter here.

This article originally appeared on The Register.