Traveller Collective: A Canadian Small Business with a Conscience
About a year ago, I stumbled upon a company that I thought sounded cool and unique. It was a Canadian small business with a unique idea and a global conscience. I did what we all do, built an online shopping cart and then never bothered ordering anything.
Something inspired me about a month ago to finally place my order and my positive experience has made me want to share it with you!
I decided to reach out to Traveller Collective's founder, Darryl. What followed was a great Skype chat where we talked travel, global issues, international business and education.
What is Traveller Collective?
Darryl of Traveller Collective had a lightbulb moment about a year and a half ago. Many of us love to travel. What if there was some sort of token you could collect for each place you've visited? Something you could discreetly, but proudly wear as a badge of honour. No more cheesy teeshirts or magnets! Nothing bulky that couldn't go with you on your excursions!
He invented a stylish, branded keychain that would host engraved charms or "rings" for each country you've visited. It's sleek and classy enough for the business traveller, affordable enough for the student backpacker. He chose a durable leather for the keychain, with a vegan-friendly version, so no one was excluded.
Who is Darryl?
Darryl is a young, educated guy living in Vancouver, Canada. He has a degree in International Business from the University of Victoria. At UVic he was introduced to study and employment abroad opportunities in Europe and Asia. And thus, like many of us, was bitten by the travel bug.
Also like many educated, well travelled, young professionals, Darryl is an open-minded ambitious guy with a global conscience. Merely starting a business where he could profit from others' globe trotting hardly seemed like enough of a social contribution.
Traveller Collective's Contribution
20% of Traveller Collective's profits are donated to a chosen charity project. $10 000 USD is donated to each chosen project. Traveller Collective is currently partnering with imagine1day, an organization committed to taking TC's $10 000 donation to help fund the construction of a primary school and the purchase of teaching materials in Dum, Ethiopia. Imagine1day will remain in Dum for 3 years after the completion of the project to provide ongoing training and ensure the continued commitment of the Dum community to its longterm education goals. This, as Darryl explains it, was one of the key reasons imagine1day was chosen.
Traveller Collective's previous project was with Charity Water and focused on providing access to water for local residents of a different Ethiopian village. They were largely chosen for their 100% model, where 100% of public donations goes to the project it was intended. The charity uses only sanctioned private donations to fund administrative costs.
Perhaps the most important part to Darryl is choosing the right charity, one that resonates with his customer base and more importantly, one he can be confident is best positioned to make a positive, longterm impact. After all, as he sees it, he's not just spending his money, he's spending yours too.
How it all Comes Together
Traveller Collective is a team of two, based out of a small workshop in Vancouver. About 50% of their customers are from the U.S., with most others being from Canada, the U.K and Australia. To date, they've had orders shipped to 65+ countries around the globe.
They do worldwide shipping for $5 USD, although you'll have to be patient. Due to the expensive Canada Post rates, they're stuck sending packages regular mail, with no tracking. If you're Canadian, surely you can sympathize with this woe! My cross country package arrived in less than 2 weeks.
From the business side of things, they're focused on durable craftsmanship and excellent customer service.
I can certainly attest to the customer service. My social media questions, prior to placing my order, were promptly answered. And a couple of days after my order was placed, I received an email saying it was complete and was about to be shipped!
I was so delighted when my order came with a handwritten postcard addressed to me, wishing me the best of luck on my travels and an insert explaining how the 20% to charity would be spent!
A Day in the TC Factory
If you're interested in seeing how exactly the product is made, watch the video! Nothing mass produced in a factory here, folks!
Thinking of Making a Purchase?
One thing to keep in mind is that all prices on their website are initially quoted in USD, not CAD.
If you're interested in getting 10% off your first order, you can use the link http://travellercollectiv.refr.cc/megfoote. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, that means that I will also be getting a discount.
If you're looking to get yourself started for free, I'd strongly urge you to scroll down to the bottom to subscribe to footeoutthedoor's mailing list (if you haven't already!), as there is quite possibly a giveaway coming in partnership with Traveller Collective in the very near future. wink, wink Subscribers will be the first to know about a few upcoming contests and freebies that will be happening!
If you've made a purchase, make sure to follow Traveller Collective on Instagram. If you use their hashtag #ontheroadwithTC, they may feature your pic on their page!
Before we hung up the Skype chat, I asked Darryl to come up with 3 countries where his customers have yet to visit. "They're pretty obscure!", he warned.
Could you possibly be the first person to purchase a ring from Kiribati, Tajikistan or Camoros?
Nothing will make you feel more tingly on the inside than purchasing from a new, local business that puts great efforts into giving back to the world around us.