I recently connected on Instagram with an awesome startup company that I love, Project Latitude. They’ve got a Kickstarter campaign starting today, which I wanted to share with all of you! Danny and Javier, two architects from New York City, have both been involved in numerous volunteer builds around the world, and after their latest trip to Zambia in the summer of 2015, they started working on a way to help subsidize the high costs of these builds. Their thought was that if people are willing to give up a week of their time to volunteer for one of these trips, it should be affordable for them! So instead of making volunteers pay thousands of dollars for their trip or having to ask friends and families for donations, they’ve created Project Latitude, where they will be selling locally inspired products that are influenced and crafted by the community that will see the profits from these sales.
The build trips usually last about a week, including travel time. On their trip to Zambia in 2015, they were able to build a single family home in the time they were there. Trip costs include the building materials as well as the transportation to get to these often very remote towns, plus food and housing for the volunteers. The goal of Project Latitude is to raise enough funds to cover these fixed costs of the trips.
Project Latitude’s first build (Project 00) will be in La Isla, a small community outside of Quito, Ecuador. Danny and Javier’s goals for Project Latitude are to design a project that is both beneficial to the community they are working in and can use the skills that the community has in order to create the products to sell. For Project 00, they’ll be focused on building a workshop in La Isla, where they discovered a need for a better facility for their existing fabric production.
In order to fund this project, Danny and Javier teamed up with a man from La Isla who has spent years creating products out of completely recycled materials. They’ve designed a handmade roll-top backpack inspired by the beautiful textiles of Ecuador.
Introducing — the Chaski backpack! Danny and Javier designed this bag to be the perfect backpack for both a day hike in the woods or for everyday use around town. It is designed using local and sustainable materials – the detailing is made from recycled car tires! And the black hand-woven exterior helps accent the colorful fabric straps that inspired the design.
There’s a quick-release, military grade buckle,
and beautiful handmade fabric straps.
The backpack contains a laptop compartment, adjustable straps, and many easy-access side pockets. I’m in love with it already!
Long-term, Project Latitude’s goal is to develop a larger product line to support each of the communities they work in. For Project 00, that may include other backpack styles or larger duffel bags that match the design and aesthetics of the Chaski backpack. And even longer term, their dream is to create these products in many communities around the world.
Project Latitude is creating a system where people can explore the world and experience new cultures through volunteer build projects, and then making these projects more affordable by selling locally-made products to further support the communities they’re working in.
I could not be more excited to support Project Latitude and their Kickstarter to get Project 00 off the ground. Please check out their site for more information about the company and the Chaski backpack, and join their Kickstarter to get one of these amazing backpacks for yourself!
In addition to the Kickstarter launch for the Chaski backpack that they’ve been planning for months, Project Latitude has also adapted their campaign due to the recent earthquake in Ecuador. For each product that they sell, they’ll be donating water to the communities in Ecuador that were devastated by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit on Saturday. They’ve also designed a t-shirt where 100% of the proceeds will go toward earthquake relief effort.
Again, check out their website and Kickstarter for more details, and please consider supporting this wonderful cause! I’d also love for you to share this post with your networks to help them get the word out!