[MUSIC PLAYING] Module 6, improving the world. Finding product market fit is a powerful thing. It also means that you can cultivate an entire community around your product and perhaps even build a brand. Brands are powerful because they bring together groups of people who share similar tastes, values, or interests. Similarly as you grow your product you gain more control over your supply chain because you choose who you buy from. The same way consumers choose where to spend their money and which businesses to support you choose who you support as you make your purchasing and supply chain decisions as a company, and you always have the power to choose better.
Choose better factories, better materials, demand transparency, ask for all the certifications, and hold your supply chain accountable. Always keep pushing the dial forward. One of the biggest reasons I chose to start Samara was because I wanted to find a way to sustainably create impact in the world. I really wanted this to be through an impact initiative I had started before, the solar backpack.
I actually started Samara because I realized how powerful it can be if you create products people love and how much good you can do in the world through that. When I realized I might have found PMF, I knew I had to somehow channel that back into creating impact in the world and to start. That would be through the solar backpack. From day one, Samara has always contributed towards providing children in Kenya where I grew up with solar powered backpacks so they can do their homework every night without the use of kerosene.
By growing Samara, I've truly seen the power that brands and communities can have. We first started as a vegan leather bag brand because we quickly found PMF. But over the last two years, we've tried to be better and we've grown with our customers. We've constantly challenged ourselves and what it means to build a brand. We want to always keep evolving so that we can always provide value for our customers and for the world.
Most vegan leather is made from plastic, specifically PVC, which is quite environmentally detrimental. We chose to stay as far away from PVC as possible wherever we could. And most of our products were made from PU and microfiber which are a little better. Over time, we knew we had to do better for the world and for our customers.
We experimented by trying to create leather out of coconut. This was actually done in my kitchen. We tried pineapple leather that was already in the market but nothing seemed to give us that luxury feel that we wanted. After almost a year of searching, we then found some luck with apples. So now some of our bags are made from apple leather that's made from the waste byproduct of the juicing industry.
This is also made from apples. Over the past year, we've created sunglasses out of castor seeds and backpacks out of recycled ocean plastics. We've made clothing from bamboo and blankets scarves from recycled plastic bottles. We're just getting started, and we're doing this because we feel a responsibility to provide our customers with better choices and better materials.
As a fashion brand we feel we have a responsibility to improve the world by making the fashion industry better and we want to be aware of our impact and our footprint. This has in turn attracted more people who are aligned with those very values and has grown our community too, which means that as more like minded people come together around Samara we're hopefully able to create even more value for them through the things we do and the products we create as a brand.
It's a continuous cycle and is all a part of PMF. I love the story of our ocean backpack. Since we started Samara, we'd get requests literally every week asking for a backpack that was sleek, stylish, and had enough room for a laptop, as well as features like a luggage slider, a key liche, and an easy access pocket. As we design this product, we took feedback from all our customers and decided we wanted to create it out of a revolutionary material.
Each of these backpacks is now made from the equivalent of 2,500 ml small plastic bottles that would have been in the ocean in this very moment. Fishermen are paid to collect plastics from the ocean. Those plastics are cleaned, pelletised, and turned into yarn. The yarn is turned into a backpack and now can be infinitely recycled, which means that it'll never be in the ocean again.
As we get more sales, we can remove more trash from the ocean improving the world and growing our business all at the same time. Connecting with your customers through a product with a story is something that is so powerful too. At Samara we truly believe that our products should go deeper than what meets the eye. Also involve your community in the impact that you can collectively have.
When COVID-19 began, I realized that a lot of people globally were losing their jobs, which meant that having access to basic essentials like food and clean water were becoming even more difficult. I grew up in Kenya and wanted to give back to the community there. We decided that we bring the Samara community together, and for every dollar spent on our website we donate a meal to someone in need.
In just under three weeks our community came together and we collectively provided 18 million grams of food or over 100,000 meals to people in need. From solar to Samara, the foundation of both companies has been to improve the world, whether that's through our products, our impact, our supply chain, or our community.
For us, finding product market fit has been a vehicle to do that. Growing a brand is fun, but what makes things so much more rewarding is the impact that you can have in the world through the brand. And I encourage anyone who's starting a brand to always try and do more. [MUSIC PLAYING]