It’s the middle of the night. Mark sits up with an inexplicable determination: “I want to work with you and Zane…”
Two middle-of-the-nights later: “We can sell backpacks and donate some to backpack drives...”
Two weeks later. Mark, Zane and I talk at once. Phrases like ”No heart for online selling,” “Where’s the motivation?” and “--need to give something back” kept arising.
“A nonprofit," Mark says.
Zane and I agree. We aren’t rich, but don’t we have enough? “We should just give the proceeds away.”
That’s it! All three of us know it.
Mark talks, orders, negotiates with many until he encounters Biswadeep Ghosh, and from the get-go, you can’t refuse to love him. He’s a law school graduate who owns a factory in
Kolkata, and he promises samples of every kind of backpack—canvas, leather, vegan leather, and Ocean Bound Plastic. He sends these samples, but before they arrive, we’re already intrigued—what is Ocean Bound Plastic?
Ocean Bound Plastic is abandoned plastic waste on its way to the sea—it’s never been touched by salt water. OBP is critical in the fight against oceanic plastic pollution, 80% of which originates from the land.
Cool. It’s a settled matter once we receive the samples - the OBP fabric feels amazing, and the durability is immediately evident. Although we’re weeks, even months from understanding the full consequence of this both to us and to the environment, we’re in. All of our backpacks will be OBP, and we start designing them with this in mind. (Bonus: Mon Exports–Biswadeep’s business– can make anything we can draw—WOW.)
This evolves because, once Bis understands that we actually do grasp business basics, he embraces our desire for charity. He personally donated two annual salaries to the teachers who serve those that would otherwise have no school and no education.
Tell us more.
“Come to India,” he says. Let me show you.”
Biswadeep has a law school classmate (Mukut) and his friend who is a film editor (Sabya) who gave up their normal lives eight years ago. Between trips to climb the Himalayas, they traveled repeatedly through villages in the Sunderbans where Dalit people – ”untouchables”--are forced to live in a land made unlivable because of the world’s carbon footprint.
These people are the poorest of the poor. They live in unsustainable ways and have no hope of improvement. Over and over Mukut and Sabya trekked the scenic islands for pleasure until, finally, it was too much. With broken hearted resolution, they decided to make a difference. They would focus on teaching sustainable practices, starting a school and sewing hope in one village. They would call that hope Prameya Pathshala.
“Come to India,” Biswasdeep coaxes. “See for yourselves.”
And we do! We see all that he claims and more…
On return from this mind/heart altering adventure, we begin to understand what we must do in a new iteration. Not backpacks—bags. Not only drives—donations. Not just OBP but eventually Net Zero carbon waste. Not just a local wave of good from ocean-minded clean-up, but a tide that will wash over multiple partners for good, the first of which will be Prameya.
We will donate bags, plant trees, employ and empower indigenous underdogs. We will educate kids, clean rivers, save oceans, and—when you buy an Oceanbag–you will do all of these things, too.
This family believes that success is defined by changing lives because already we’ve changed our own, and the rest will surely come.