It’s not everyday that you come across a worthy and meaningful brand, especially in retail. While most companies are just out to make a buck, there are a few that do it to support a beautiful cause. One such company is Extinct Sunwear, which I got to know when I stumbled upon their SITE. At first I thought it was just another eyewear company, until I read their tagline: Sunglasses That Fight Wildlife Extinction. I couldn’t help but get excited over this. Finally, a brand that promises to fight for animals and preserve their existence! It’s really about time! Something has to be done to raise awareness and preserve our wildlife. Too many senseless animal killings have been happening worldwide due to poaching, habitat loss, wildlife trade and global warming, which is why we must do all we can to put an end to it.
And we can! Founders of Extinct Sunwear, Alex and Kaitlyn are seeking the funds necessary to products its first run of sunglasses. Their site allows us to back up this worthy project and pledge money to get this company running. The contributions will go directly towards getting us our sunglasses or shirt, while supporting the wildlife organizations through 25% of their company’s annual profits, which they will be donating. Any excess funds will be put towards making everything from their glasses to shipping supplies environmentally friendly and good for the earth.
So when Extinct gets the funding it needs, we get to purchase cool retro sunnies and in turn support organizations who have been making an enormous impact on wildlife, like Sea Shepherd and the International Anti-Poaching Foundation. Sounds awesome, right? I really love this idea of shopping for a cause–it allows us to do our part while still looking good in the process.
I was so moved by this cause that I got in touch with Alex and Kaitlyn. They were so nice and accommodating, it made me want to support Extinct Sunwear even more. Scroll down to read more about them.
Me: Can you tell us about yourselves, Kaitlyn and Alex? What were you doing before you came up with Extinct Sunwear?
Kaitlyn: Absolutely! I’ve been on the path of studying psychology as a way to understand the similarities between human and animal behavior. I’ve always had a huge interest in working alongside and protecting these animals in the wild, so I’ve spent a lot of my time in the last couple of years learning and appreciating the natural world and all of It’s inhabitants.
Alex: I’m a web designer but also huge on young people empowerment and social enterprises. I’ve started a non-profit out of the Santa Cruz area called Changebound, that aims to help socially conscious young entrepreneurs by providing working space and resources. Kate and I are also die hard adventurers and water lovers, so we do our best to get out and scuba or paddle board as much as possible.
Me: Protecting endangered animals is definitely a great cause, can you tell us what was the defining moment when you decided you had to do something about our current situation?
Kaitlyn: I’ve pretty much always appreciated and had a passion for protecting animals. Once I really began to understand the fact that humans were responsible for the soaring extinction rates among wildlife from documentaries like “Revolution” and “The Cove”, I knew I wanted to step in and make efforts to reverse that.
Alex: Good question! Like Kaitlyn said, I think the defining moment was when Kate and I watched the Cove together. Kate had been an avid wildlife advocate so these issues had always been a topic of discussion for us, but that documentary really made the entire picture click in my head. From there my interest grew and I continued to learn about all the other horrendous activities across the globe. It became pretty apparent that the consequences for our actions as humans will be catastrophic if we don’t start making changes.
Me: Can you tell us how you plan to manufacture Extinct Sunwear products? Like what materials will you be using and how will you ensure these will be environmentally friendly?
Of course! Our goal is to refine our manufacturing process as much as possible to create the most sustainable products we possibly can. As soon as we are able to hit the minimums, we’ll be utilizing recycled plastic for our sunglasses and organic cotton for our shirts. As of now, each pair of shades is shipped in an organic cotton sleeve, eco-friendly burlap pouch, and cardboard based box. We’re also seeking manufacturing certifications to insure completely clean processes across the board.
Me: What sort of designs can we expect from your first collection? For sunnies and shirts?
We’re all about fashion and timelessness. We’re young, and our goal is to make conservation stylish and cool so you can expect some new school retro and also a few unique designs that we think everyone will really love.
Me: Where will you be selling Extinct Sunwear? Just online or will you have physical stores?
For now, and immediately after the kickstarter, we’ll be purely online so that you can get a pair of Extincts wherever you are in the world. We would love to have a flagship store at some point in the future, and are already looking into a few different retail outlets for both our clothes and sunglasses.
Me: How much of your profit are you planning to donate?
We’ll be donating 25% of each sale to our two organizations: Sea Shepherd and The International Anti Poaching Foundation. That’s a little over $7 per pair of sunglasses going towards animal conservation.
Me: Off topic: Have you been to the Philippines?
Unfortunately no… But it’s pretty high up there on our bucket list! The culture seems incredible and the diving is supposedly magnificant, maybe you can show us around as soon as we can get over there. 🙂
Me: How are you doing in terms of following your timeline? Are things progressing as planned?
We’re doing great so far and it’s mainly just a matter of continuing to spread the word so we can reach our goal! We’ve had a ton of positive feedback, so we’re hopeful that we can at the very least aid in raising awareness for the critical issues we need all need to pay attention to.