One Entrepreneur’s Story on How to Spread Lemur Conservation to the Masses
We entrepreneurs don’t have it easy. It seems like there’s always something pulling us in multiple directions, calling attention to one opportunity or another.
It’s not easy to decide which project to devote your attention to, especially when you’re dedicated; 60+ hour work weeks are common when you’re passionate about what you’re doing – just ask anyone in the LCN. Sometimes, however, the universe seems to put everything into place for you, making the decision easy.
This is exactly what happened to me in the Spring of 2016. I had been looking for a new project to work on, but with somewhere around a gajillion ideas floating around in my head, I was struggling to decide where to start. I was already working on a business of mine for many years, and loved the team I was working with, but I wanted to do something completely new, and most importantly, wanted to give help to someone or something in need.
While I was backpacking Thailand in the winter, everything just fell into place. I was truly inspired by the many great conservation efforts happening for elephants, sea life, and the many stray animals that need help. At about the same time, I met a local design student whose family runs a small facility in Central Thailand.
After talking for many hours, we decided to work together; her and her family would help me produce a collection of stylish canvas bags called Lemur Bags, and we would not only donate to lemur conservation efforts, but help spread the word about lemurs’ critical situation to people who may have never known that they were threatened with extinction.
But Why Lemurs?
I was born and raised in Iowa, but as an adult I lived in North Carolina, just outside of Durham. Durham happens to be home to Duke Lemur Center, where a team of researchers and scientists are doing an amazing job with lemur conservation. It’s here where I became familiar with the situation that lemurs find themselves in, and how badly they need our help. Since it’s mostly uncaring or undereducated humans that created the problems for lemurs through illegal deforestation and hunting, I found myself left with a sense of collective guilt that I felt I needed to do something about. But like most of us, we feel that there’s only so much we can do.
Only when the new opportunity I came across in Thailand presented itself did I think, “Hey, not only could I help lemur conservation efforts through donations, but these bags are so cool that I could help spread the dire state of the situation to those who might not have a clue a problem exists in the first place!”
What is Lemur Bags Doing to Help Lemurs?
In short, everything we possibly can. However, starting a small business is expensive, and as a bootstrapped business, things start slowly and (ideally) grow from there. As of this writing, we’ve only been live for a little over a month, and the response has been extraordinary!
People love the bags and love that they’re helping lemur conservation. I’ve already received multiple messages from customers saying they didn’t know lemurs were in such danger, and that they want to help more.
We will be donating a portion of each sale to lemur conservation efforts, working with organizations such as Lemur Conservation Network on figuring out where our resources will be best utilized, co-organizing special programs and events, donating bags to those who need them, and I personally want to volunteer to help in Madagascar.
On LemurBags.com I am working on building a large information library on everything Madagascar and lemur-related and keeping my followers and customers up to date on the work that these great organizations are doing.
What’s Next for Lemur Bags?
I can’t wait to find out! As Lemur Bags grows, I’m looking forward to integrating into the lemur and Madagascar conservation community, and helping these people and organizations do the best possible work.
But I need your help! Thanks to LCN, I’ve already found lots of great resources and research that has helped determine which organizations are doing great work. However, I would love to hear feedback from the entire community, so if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, please let me know by going to LemurBags.com and writing a message; I promise I’ll read and respond to every one.