Backpacks From Upcycled Shirts, Providing Cambodian Education: BeeKeeper Parade
BeeKeeper backpacks tackle global textile waste issues, whilst funding English programs in rural Cambodia.
This really is a business that ticks all the boxes.
Environmentally-focussed, socially-conscious & vegan-friendly.
We recently met with Koky, the founder of BeeKeeper Parade, who shared his incredibly humbling story behind the social enterprise.
All backpacks are handmade by artisans in Cambodia,
using up-cycled discarded shirts and textiles - saving them from landfill.
Each bag is unique, with patterns sitting a little differently,
which makes them all the more charming.
They are also all vegan-friendly, with no animal glues used.
Creating Positive Change
Koky came to Australia with his family as a refugee,
after spending his first three years of life in a Cambodian prison.
Their own personal experiences inspired him and his sister Sophia to found Baby Tree,
a charity fighting for children's rights
and bringing quality education to rural Cambodia.
In order to fund this charity, BeeKeeper Parade was born.
It now helps deliver English classes in the schools Koky and his team built.
Heartbreakingly, Sophia lost her life to cervical cancer while they were founding the business, but urged Koky to carry on fulfilling their passions.
BeeKeeper also produce iPad & tablet cases,
which directly fund its Gift of Light Solar Project
- giving students access to clean renewable energy sources for lamps,
rather than dangerous kerosene ones.
Another thing we love about BeeKeeper Parade is that should little breakages occur, customers are encouraged to bring their pieces back to be repaired,
rather than throwing them away.
Note: the above design is sadly sold out, but gives an idea of how lovely the pieces are.
Where can I get one, you ask?
BeeKeeper Parade ship worldwide, and if you happen to be in Melbourne, they currently have a pop up store in Melbourne Central (First Floor, on the link bridge).
Because up-cycled materials are used, styles are often limited edition and produced in small batches, but rest assured - new styles are always being created.
By supporting this organisation, you are supporting something truly wonderful.