These days, corporate responsibility is at the core of many companies. While it's always nice to hear about companies that are concerned about more than just making a profit, they unsurprisingly don't always fare well in the Shark Tank . Will Taaluma Totes have a different fate?
Taaluma Totes is a for-profit bag company, but it aims to impact lives beyond just making some money for the people that run the company. Now the sharks will undoubtedly be impressed with the Taaluma Totes mission. Their cold-blooded hearts are always warmed by the great things philanthropreneurs are doing with their companies.
However, Taaluma Totes' focus on creating an impact could also work against them. If the company doesn't have sales that make the sharks hear angels sing, they won't want to volunteer to help Taaluma Totes grow. Low sales from this type of company usually make the sharks think that the entrepreneurs care too much about the cause and not enough about the cash. That's exactly what happened to Sseko during last Friday night's episode of Shark Tank , a company that otherwise seemed to have a high-quality product and measurable impact.
So does Taaluma Totes have this in the bag, or will the sharks just toss it away? Read up on the company and decide for yourself.
These Totes Let You "Carry A Country"
"Taaluma" means "culture" in Swahili, which is extremely fitting since each one of these totes, which really look more like backpacks if you ask me, is made from a traditional fabric from countries around the world. In accordance with that globetrotting theme, these bags are really made for world travelers with features like padded lining to give you an instant pillow for long trips and an inside pocket to keep valuables, such as a passport, safe. Now if only these totes fit as much as Mary Poppins' bag, you'd really be all set.
It's A Tote With A Heart of Gold
Now here's the part about Taaluma Totes having a philanthropic spirit. Not only does the fabric for each tote actually come from the developing country it represents, but 20 percent of the profits from each tote sold go back to that country as microloans to farmers and small business owners. They repay the loan whenever they are able, and then Taaluma Totes uses that money to buy more fabric from that country. I just love it when things come full circle, don't you? Even though these are worldly totes, they're actually made right here in the United States by adults with disabilities. All of this is to say that it's going to be pretty darn hard not to smile whenever you think about Taaluma Totes.
You Can Tote One Away Right Now
If your heart has sufficiently melted by this point, you can pick up a Taaluma Tote through the company's official website right now. Totes from Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, the Ivory Coast, Mali, and Vietnam are currently available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Each one costs $65, but you can create a custom tote for $80. To do that latter option, you can pick out your own fabric during your travels, and then send it to Taaluma Totes to make it for you.
The Company Is Very Social
Whenever the owners of a company say they've grown their customer base purely through social media, the sharks are instantly impressed. I don't really understand this, because, hello, every company uses social media today. But I digress. Taaluma Totes is also big into social media, so the sharks will probably like it when they hear about their #CarryaCountry campaign. Basically, it's just a hashtag travelers use on Instagram when they take photos with their Taaluma Totes all over the world. Sure, the pics are nice, but we'll have to wait and see if this campaign had an impact on sales.
The Young Co-Founders Will Make You Question What You're Doing With Your Life
For all of you living the post-grad life out there, Taaluma Totes' co-founders Jack DuFour and Alley Heffern will put you to shame. The two are recent Virginia Tech alums, graduating in 2012 and 2013, respectively. While they both have engineering degrees, they quit their jobs to focus on Taaluma Totes full time, which only launched in 2012. And in addition to being business partners, they're dating.
I am feeling way too many warm and fuzzies right now. Doesn't it just make you sick, Mr. Wonderful?
Images: Adam Rose/ABC; realitytvgifs/Tumblr