CAUSEGEAR: Brad Jeffrey and Tackling Slavery In Our Time
CAUSEGEAR: Brad Jeffrey and Tackling Slavery In Our Time
You can also listen to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Intro: Welcome to the Simple Switch Podcast where you'll join me, Rachel, the founder of Simple Switch to talk about conscious consumerism and positive impact purchasing, spending our money in a way that helps our planet and the people on it can be complicated and frustrating. And we're passionate about bringing ease to your journey. Join us as we demystify big ideas about conscious consumerism, and hear from amazing business owners using their work for positive change. Thanks for being here, and enjoy the show.
Rachel: Hey, listeners today we have Brad Jeffrey, he's the co founder and CEO of Cause Gear. I'll let him tell you more about it. But thank you so much for being with us today, Brad.
Brad: It was great to be here.
Rachel: So we're going to start with the basics. Who are you? Where's your company located? And where does it have its impact and what do you make or sell?
Brad: Yeah, so we're a Chicago-based Social Enterprise and it’s where we are. We're our focus is to, you know, help people that are victims of extreme poverty and slavery. And we're doing that through fashion, primarily bags and accessories, backpacks, tote bags, that type of thing.
Rachel: Yeah, and you guys have some. One thing I really like about your products is they're very on-trend. So people don't have to go, you know, well out of their way as far as something that they would buy already. That's something we value a lot for Simple Switch, because we know that every time we can remove a stumbling block like that, it helps you guys make your impact. So appreciate, you guys make some gorgeous products.
Brad: It's great to hear you say that. That was one of our guiding principles in developing the company.
Rachel: Oh, good.
Brad: That we really want it to be very on-trend and connect with the, you know, the average consumer and make the point that you don't need to sacrifice quality and design and price.
Rachel: Absolutely, yeah. And that is so true. And I think there's a growing awareness of that. So thanks for contributing to that.
Rachel: Tell us about how Cause Gear got started as a founder, you know, that story inside and out.
Brad: Sure, I would love to, it kind of fits into what I was just saying. I was in business for quite a while in a very different industry. And really, I found myself wanting to do business that had more significant impact on the world, not just transactional business, I was in an industry that you know, we are doing some good work but it wasn't a humanitarian type of value. I and then later, my wife too, we both wanted to do business that made a difference in the world. And the, the area that we became very passionate about was this topic of slavery and poverty and when you when you look at it, and you go deep and you try to understand this topic and you go travel the world and you see the extremes of poverty. And then you've heard about slavery, and you’ve hear that slavery is at an all time historic high.
Brad: 40 million people. Yeah, it just rocks you. And you can think about it intellectually and go wow, that's just horrible. But then when you get down to the grassroots level, and you see why it's happening, what's going on, you see the level of corruption that drives it. There's actually more money made in slavery today than Google, Starbucks, and Nike, make combined.
Rachel: I mean, that's a striking statistic.
Brad: It is. It's this dark profitable machine. And so that topic alone is really kind of the big picture thing that we want to do something about. And then so you look at, we look at a big behemoth problem like slavery, and then you start to analyze it. Okay, what? What's it a symptom of or what's the root cause? I'm a big believer in if you really want to make a change, you've got to do some root cause analysis.
Brad: And get to the core what's driving this? And yes, we hear about human trafficking. And there are cases where human trafficking which is a type of slavery is connected to, you know, maybe runaway teens or, you know, someone that's gotten mixed up in the wrong situation and found themselves in prostitution and then was trafficked. Yes, those happen, but that's more the exception. The majority of slavery is a symptom of poverty. And it's an it's poverty in faraway places. So 90% of slavery in poverty is really in Africa and Asia. 40% alone is in Indian.
Brad: One country and its three x versus any other country. So, you go okay, slavery's crazy, it's big, and 40% is in India. And then you start looking at India's poverty and so that's what happened. So my wife and I, Catherine, we travel a lot. We saw poverty, the depths of it. And it was on a trip for me, in Kenya, actually it's where it really kind of gripped me. I was in the slums of Nairobi, it's called Kibera. It's the largest slum in Kenya. It's said that there's a half a million people in the size of one square mile.
Brad: Which is hard to fathom. Open sewers just really horrible place. And it was there that the business model just really hit me hard. I was meeting with some women there [unclear5:53] girls, they were HIV positive. And they had been left as damaged goods by the people that abused them, made them pregnant, they already had kids and they were infected, their kids were infected. And they were just trying to survive. And they're making kind of typical handicrafts, jewelry, from bones from the garbage, dog bones, cow bones, who knows? And it was, you know, not bad quality. And they were telling me that they're doing pretty good, they're making $3 a day. And the average person in Canberra was making $1 a day. And they were really trying to be positive, they asked if I'll buy their jewelry and sell it. I said, sure, I'll buy some. And I started asked him, I said, Sir what do you really need, is just $3 really enough? And he said, well, no, you know, we really need more. And they admitted that maybe $7 that kind of range would be really transformative in their life and allow them to really care for their children and have a sustainable lifestyle.
And it's that, when I started thinking about that and so when it hit me and I'm like, What if jobs were created to make? What if we could provide jobs for women like this in the poorest, most unjust region of the world? Making high quality fashion that we really wanted as consumers that was competitive? Could that be done? That was kind of a question mark. And at that time, this was 10 years ago, the what we called cause purchasing was really taking off, where you would go to different stores and you know, for every purchase, someone would want to ask if you want to donate to this cause or that cause. And Tom shoes was really taking off at that point it was really big. And in millennials, especially were showing that they really wanted to buy things that were tied to changing the world or changing circumstances.
Brad: So I saw that trend. I said, you know, and I started to do reading and research around this and knew that the millennials were going to be the generation that was going to make a difference in the world in terms of social impact, and they valued it more than anybody. So I thought of what kind of products would they want to buy? And more importantly, what's working, what's not working? So if slavery is a symptom of poverty, then we got to work on the poverty problem, right? And then, and what would they make and how much would they have to make? And I think the other thing that was kind of like, driving this for me personally, I was a little bit irritated by the default in my mind, and maybe I'm wrong, but it appeared to be that the default solution to poverty was aid. Aid in the form of food and clothing, shelter, water, basically giving people those necessities so you're hungry? Let's get you food. You need clean water? Let's get your clean water. You need shelter? Let's let's build you a house. Now, not that those are bad thing, that's a great thing. I mean, someone's hungry we better feed them today but that's not the sustainable solution.
Rachel: Yeah, absolutely.
Brad: And the more research that I did, if you do the research, you'll see that the World Bank, who tracks all this, has recorded that over a trillion dollars of Aid has been given to Sub-Saharan Africa over a 26 year period. Yeah, most of it comes from United States. And poverty has really been pretty flat, during that time. It hasn't really changed. Now, they'll tell you that the percent of poverty has gone down dramatically. So if you look at the numbers from a percent standpoint, it looks like we're winning the war on poverty. But there's still some 150 million to 2 billion people, roughly depending on which numbers you look at, that are [unclear0:00] poverty, that has been pretty stagnant.
Rachel: Wow, and like you're saying, I mean that Aid, even if it is a short term solution, that short term changing those numbers, it's not sustainable.
Brad: No. In kind of a simplistic way to talk about it, it’s okay, Aids the model then we basically have to sign up for a permanent aid machine.
Rachel: Yeah, forever. I mean that’s very expensive. And I mean, it's not dignifying to the people receiving it or giving.
Brad: No, and then I started looking at the fashion industry and if you look at the fashion industry, South Asia which is basically India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, that region, Pakistan is the fastest growing fashion region for production, Bangladesh, India are the leaders of growth and in the reason that the industry is growing there, is because labor cheaper there than China. The World Bank defines poverty as living on $1.90 a day or less? Well, when I did the research, it appears that the average minimum wage or what's typical of a wage, in the fashion industry is actually at poverty levels.
Brad: So we can't Aid our way out of poverty, if our consumption of fashion, which is the largest industries in the world is feeding the problem.
Rachel: Definitely, yeah. As opposed to contributing to the solution.
Brad: Yeah. So you guys saw that? I mean, I think that's really, really wise. And I love to hear that you guys did that research. You know, you went and saw what is the root cause of this thing that we see because it's so much, you know, the reason that. Not all aid is bad, I'm not saying all aid is bad. But the reason that some of that unnecessary aid happens is that people just want to slap a solution. You know, more or less a bandaid on something before figuring out what is the root cause of this, and how can we make a real difference. So, yeah, how do you feel like, you know, you were led to start what you did start and based on that.
Brad: Yeah, you make a really good point I think we have to be transparent, I can relate to that. That convenience factor of I want to change the world, I want to do good. But if it's not convenient and clear to me, I don't know if I'm going to do it on a regular basis, right?
Rachel: Absolutely. And sometimes, you know, I mean, it's the best intentions.
Rachel: And sometimes there's just ignorance about where that root causes is.
Rachel: If you see, oh, I can, well, I can give them some food, that will be a great way to handle it. And I'm not I mean, those intentions are beautiful and absolutely, you know, worthwhile, but it misses so much.
Brad: Exactly, and I think it's overwhelming too.
Brad: When you think about it, I think let's give Tom's credit for the fact that they simplified a model that said I can buy something and impact lives. All in one transaction?
Brad: And that was I think what I saw is the beauty of that model.
Rachel: Totally, and we popularized it too you know so many people talking to me about Simple Switch saying, oh, I like Tom’s shoes. And for those of you who don't know why we're referencing Toms, and they have actually made some amazing changes to this, but they got called out because of this exact thing that we're talking about, you know, they were a buy one give one model but that gives one kind of contributed to this unsustainability of, of aid in a very different way than maybe government aid would. But they have made some big changes in where they're producing the shoes and the way that they're giving and I hope that they'll continue to do that. But just for you guys who don't know why we're, referencing.
Brad: Yeah, exactly. And Blake who founded the company had really good intentions and there's a great podcast I've been talking about it.
Brad: They've shifted their work to actually create jobs in some of the regions that they're giving shoes away.
Rachel: That’s cool.
Brad: So they kind of lead the way and so what we want to do is take it to the next level and make an easy transactional experience for the consumer to impact a life far away. And so what are our current slogan is made free. And so when you buy a cause gear or other brand is called made by free women. When you buy one of these two products, you're actually helping someone become free from the injustice of slavery and poverty through a dignified job.
Brad: So we're trying to create that transactional simplicity with a message that's measurable, and people can relate to.
Rachel:That's awesome. Oh, man, yeah, I love y'all company. And it's been really cool to read into more of your impact. So you guys, work primarily in India. And that's obviously from what you've said, an incredible place for you guys to be basing the majority of your impact. Do you have any specific anecdotes from the impact side that have been particularly striking to you or do you want to share
Brad: Yeah, I think one of the things we have to be really careful of is that simplifying it too much too, I tell you, we can get real idealistic when you live in a privileged country like the United States, and we can be idealistic. I think we got to be really careful I have to continually remind myself that to really understand someone play someone's play, you've got to come alongside them, be with them as much as you can.
Brad: So my wife Catherine and I, we traveled to India about every six months and spend about two weeks there and every time it's just a great reminder of the privilege that we have in the United States. And so I just think that's something you have to be really careful of, is to maintain remember, it's pretty complex and though we need to do simple things and be tangible about it. So let's think of the dignity and honor of different cultures, different religious groups and all that. And just be really open, you know?
Rachel: Yeah, definitely. One of the reasons I wanted to bring you on the podcast, I asked, you know, a few of our partners to kind of help get us started with our launch. And I've from working with you have kind of just realized that you are such a thoughtful entrepreneur. And I think, you know, pretty much everyone in our industry is, is doing a great deal of thought behind the impact, but I really see a focus for you specifically. And this I think, has to do with your company anyway but also your personality and tell me if I'm wrong, but just in the research and in just really doing a deep dive with every decision that you're making. So it's cool to hear just your style of thinking around this as opposed to someone who maybe has done it a little bit more out of that kind of story idea, or maybe the more emotional side of things, and both are valuable, but it's cool to get a good mix.
Brad: Well, thank you. It's been it's always a learning process.
Brad: Feeling fast, I'll say that.
Rachel: Definitely, that's right.
Rachel: We'll talk more about that later. We say iterate often. That's our version of fail fast. So, um, yeah. And any customers that you, you know, have talked to you who have been particularly impacted. I think this idea of this type of purchasing, it goes both ways. You know, you're able to provide the jobs but also the way that people who are buying the things right, in fact, it often shouldn't be overlooked.
Brad: Exactly. Yeah, a couple things. So, one of the big surprises or breakthroughs for us is to engage businesses in our product line. When you look at the consumption of things that we make like bags and backpacks and accessories. The biggest purchaser besides just the general population is businesses. Businesses buy, as we all know, they buy swag for conferences or their employees.
Rachel:Yeah, you guys have a lot of brandable items on your site, right?
Brad: Yeah, pretty much everything could be branded. One story I'll just tell you about is one company in Chicago, that is probably the leader in stand up desk technology is called Work Right. And actually, they have office in Chicago, they have office in California. They’re an innovator in their own right. One of the things that they're innovating now with us in the type of conference bag they use. So they were like a lot of companies and just didn't have kind of a typical conference tote bag. That was great bag and had lots of features and it was nice and all that you know, very useful bag. But their employees really resonated with our social impact message.
Brad: And they kind of took it upon themselves to have, you know, to petition the management to say, hey, why don't we look at switching our bag, to something that really has a strong social message and has tangible impact. One of the things we do with our corporate clients is we actually measure what we call days of freedom that they provide.
Rachel: Oh, I love that you guys do that, yeah. Tell us a little bit more about that?
Brad: Yeah. So a day of freedom is a day of a really good life changing job. And one of our simple products which is just a natural tote, canvas tote bag. Every 20 bags provides one full day of freedom. So, you know, what we do with our corporate clients is depend on how many bags they buy or how much they part of us, we actually tag every bag with their total days of freedom.
Rachel: That's very cool.
Brad: And it's a way to measure their social impact, but also to get a message out to their employees or clients or associates that we care about this. Freedom is important, and we're partnering to do something about it. So they came to us and said, you know, we want to make a long term investment of freedom. We don't want to just buy some totes for this conference coming up, which is next week here in Chicago it’s called Neo-con which is the premier commercial design trade show at the Merchandise Mart and we want bags for that conference, but we want to look at three years and we want to make a commitment to a significant number of days of freedom. So it was less about the tote, it's a great bag.
Brad: But it was about the impact in the message. They also went to their marketing team and said, we want to we want to print something unique on this tote that is not typical. So they went to their marketing people and said, come up with a cool design for this tote and forget everything we normally do about branding. Don't think about our brand, don't think about our typical messaging. Just let it be thinking an open canvas, blank canvas. And they came up with this really cool abstract drawing of a woman's face. It's beautiful. And with this days of freedom message tied into it, and they actually came up with more than one drives. They're gonna do like a series of bags.
Rachel: How awesome.
Brad: Around freedom.
Rachel: I mean, if you think about it, that's what I love about working with companies like yours and really all my partners I am so lucky with who I get to work with, but not only are you making you know those one off impact from, you know, people who might buy your products on Simple Switch or other places. But you're actually inspiring other companies to be the kind of companies who care about this kind of thing. And at that point, it kind of transcends the products, which I think is really cool.
Brad: Yeah, it's been really exciting. We're really excited about the whole project and what the cool part is that the employees are really excited. And it affects, there's actual practical impact, because not only are they doing good things, but they actually, it improves the performance of the employee teams.
Brad: They're more motivated, you know.
Rachel: Totally. You mentioned millennials just being you know, I'm a millennial, myself, and as an entrepreneur, reading tons of research about this. There's just so much that’s said that this kind of business is not only amazing, you know, for the planet and for the people on the planet, but just for business in general. I mean, our generation and Generation Z as well, there's all sorts of research about caring about that kind of thing as we're consuming.
Rachel: But also for, you know, if you're going to get the best quality workers, you want to have this kind of thing woven into, you know, the breath of your company. And because, yeah, like you're saying, I mean, people are just so much more engaged, and it matters so much more to them, and then you're going to get, you know, get better work.
Brad: Absolutely, yeah.
Rachel: That's so cool. Yeah, thanks for pointing that out. Yeah, you mentioned this a little bit already. So we'll just touch on it. But one of our brand values is ease without apathy. So how do you feel like Cause Gear makes it easier or we say more wins them or more appealing for people to use their purchasing power for good? How do you feel like you can engage people with a stories behind your products? So having that ease without giving up on on that engagement?
Brad: Right, yeah. well, by design that was a really important part of building our brand and our company was that. What I felt was missing in this ethical space, if you want to call it a fashion was that I felt like people had to make a choice between the product they really wanted or the cause they wanted to support.
Brad: And I felt that really limited the growth and if we're really going to impact the world for good, we've got to be competitive with mainstream brands. And I also when you look at disrupter, so we have to be a disrupter to mainstream brands. That was kind of the first thing I thought about. So then you study disruptive companies and why they're successful. And you can point to Apple or Starbucks or you know, Sam Adams Beer, which basically invented the craft brewing industry. And you can look at these companies, go why? What did they bring? They brought new value, and they had a quality offering that the consumer really wanted bad.
Brad: So if we're going to compete with these major brands out there, which is a lot to do, but we're going for it, you know. So the way I look at it is, and also when you look at successful companies, a lot of times they make incremental improvements they don't, even though we think of them as radical, they really aren't that radical. So like, Starbucks did not invent the coffee shop. Okay, they didn't invent good coffee, they didn't invent anything. What they did was they took an existing thing, and they tweaked it. They took the European coffee experience and created a repeatable franchisable or their own store experience.
Brad: But nothing is new, but it's used differently. Okay. Apple hasn't invented really much. They've just done things really well and they're better, you know they package well, they create a better customer experience.
Rachel: Definitely. And people are often I mean, that allows people to still feel comfortable with the experience, you know, they don't have to take a huge leap.
Rachel: But they can, you know, really be impressed. And there's so much more brand loyalty there when you're doing stuff like that.
Brad: Exactly. So with that in mind, I thought, okay, we're the products out there we’re the brands that people love to buy. And what we try to do is replicate their product, but bring that incremental improvement of social impact.
Rachel: Absolutely, that’s great.
Brad:So when you look at our products, I'm not going to name brands, when you look at our product you go, you know, that's very familiar. You know, I've seen that, something very similar to that in other brand.
Brad: And it's priced about the same, and it's a bag that I already buy or already liked.
Brad: This one helps people become free.
Rachel: Yeah, and that makes a huge difference. I remember around Christmas time, I had some people reach out to me which this happens fairly often saying, you know, do you have this kind of thing because I'm looking for it. And I know that Simple Switch sells these kind of things. So I was able to point them towards a lot of your products because it was something that they were already looking for. And I mean, on a consumer and on our side, right, that's so much easier because a consumer isn't wanting to get bombarded with advertisements for things that they will never need. But, you know, getting the opportunity. I'm reading Seth Golden's book on marketing right now, and just presenting opportunities for what they already want, but better is so much more of a wonderful model, and then pushing things that people don't already need. So I love that's baked, you know, in from the beginning, like you said, into your business model.
So another brand value for as we mentioned earlier, is iterate often. So that's our version of fail fast. We know that In our industry, as we mentioned, with companies like, you know, like Toms, like I said, I'm not trying to throw them under the bus. But it was really important that they took that feedback when they realized that the impact they were making maybe wasn't ranking highly and sustainability to make those shifts. So we think it's really important for us to, you know, when we're receiving that feedback, whether it be from our partners, or the artists who is making things or when we're learning new things about the environment, it's really be open to making those shifts. And what is an example for you guys where you had to pivot or change something and how did that affect your business?
Brad: Yeah. So, I can give a couple examples, we have a couple so I’ll just give you one. One of the big trends in our industry is people question raw materials on the sustainability side (inaudible: 28:49) standpoint. So, we were developed to help people come out of poverty of slavery, right. That's our main mission or to reduce their vulnerability to that.
Brad: Well, we found that most of our customers are also big environmentalist and they are very interested in other social issues. So the environment and sustainability and that site so we're social sustainability is our primary.
Brad: We've had the environmental sustainability as a secondary, but it's become more and more important with our customers. So one topic that seems to get a lot of discussion is leather, right. So, leather is a very popular material in our industry. I mean, you can have one opinion or another but the fact remains, majority of people's buy products that are made from leather or have some kind of leather on them. Yes, there are some other alternatives out there. But it's a complicated topic. So one of the discussions I get into people is like, they say, well why don't you use vegan? I say, what do you mean by vegan? Well, not animal. Okay, what are our alternatives? Well, most things that are considered vegan aren't necessarily all good either. So one of the most popular quote, vegan products is products that come from recycled plastic or rubber or virgin rubber or plastic. Now, when you look at those industries, there's a lot of hazards. So where does where does plastic come from? Petroleum, it's a petrochemical. Rubber, petrochemical, oil. So people aren't crazy about that either. You know, they don't want to support the oil industry. So it's complicated.
Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. And every choice I mean, just the fact that you're thinking about those things. I mean, cause you’ve find about a lot of companies who will never even choose it on purpose.
Brad: Yeah. And so when you go down that path of leather, leather alternatives. One of the things that we wrestle with to it's been a real hard topic for us because our primary, remember, our primary mission is to help create jobs for people. And if leather is a product that the general consumers and mass market buy, we don't want to miss out the opportunity to sell product and not create a job, right? Because jobs are number one. And we want to be competitive in the industry. So if the mainstream brands make leather tote bags, for example, so one of the brands that we compete with, they have so many different leather, cow leather bags, and we're trying to compete with them, so we have to have a cow leather bag. So what it did though, is it forced me to do more research around this topic. And the more I looked into leather, I found that actually, there is, I think, a good compromise. It costs more, it's harder work, but we're going for it. So this is a big pivot for us. So when you look at the leather industry particularly in Asia there's different factors and leather, leather is complicated. But the biggest environmental issue around leather is leather that's been is a byproduct of cows are buffalo that were raised solely to create leather, okay. Or leather could be a byproduct of the meat industry which is discarded. The other thing and so we do work in India and everybody always say wow, India wait a minute cows are secrete, how do you do leather in India? You know, and it becomes a big discussion. Well, here's the fact cows die eventually. And the history around Indian cows is that quite a while back I don't know the exact time maybe 150, 200 years ago. The Chinese approached the Indians and said, what are you doing with your dead cows? You're just throwing, they're just roting, they're not being used for anything. So the Chinese created the leather tanning industry in India from the discarded cows.
Brad: And then there's different processes around leather there's vegetable tan, there's semi vegetable tan, there's 100% vegetable pan. So vegetable tanning is a more environmentally responsible process that doesn't use Chrome in the tanning process, which is hazardous. So we've long story short, we've over a three year period of researching and working with the tanning industry. We have secured a relationship with a Chinese Tanner in Kolkata, India, who is an environmentalist, he has a green factory, he catches off rainwater for processing. He only uses discarded Cows that were going to be, from the meat industry they're going to be wasted anyways, he has used 100% vegetable tanning process.
Rachel: Wow, that’s really cool to hear.
Brad: And he has the best tanning leather he could find. So, we are in the process of converting all of our leather over to eco friendly vegetable tanned, recycled if you want to call it cow leather.
Rachel: Very cool.
Brad: It's also biodegradable vegetable tanned leathers biodegradable which the other is not. But there's a cost, so it's about a 50% increase in raw materials.
Rachel: Wow. But I think like you're saying the customers who are coming to you a lot of times, you know, care deeply about that. So it's cool to be able to see that and yeah. That's kind of one of the things that we try to do, and this is at a pretty small level now and we hope to grow it, but being able to give feedback to our partners about things that our customers are asking for. So, what you said is a great example where we have some companies that have a really social focus, but maybe haven't thought as much about the environmental impact of what they're making.
Rachel: And sometimes they have thought really deeply about it and have had to make certain choices. But other times, just the fact that we can say, hey, you know, our customers would love to see you transfer to compostable packaging, you know, or less packaging.
Rachel: And that's easy for them to say, oh, you know, that if the demand is for that of course.
Rachel: You know, there's very little opportunity cost for us to do that. So yeah, we're really thankful to get to be kind of in between sometimes in those things and help those interests kind of come together.
Brad: I’ll add one more thing around this whole environmental it’s an important piece is that the second largest polluter in the world is fashion.
Brad: So really, actually the most effective thing we can make is to buy less things and keep (inaudible: 35:52)
Rachel: Definitely. We've had a campaign of you know, don't don't buy from us.
Rachel: And you know, Patagonia did something similar don't buy this jacket. And we do, think that's really important. And we never want to be a company that's encouraging you to buy more stuff. We just want to be a company that's encouraging you the stuff that you are going to buy the stuff that you decide that you do need or that you are already going to purchase. Choose to purchase that from a company that's making this positive impact.
Rachel: And that's what we talked about positive impact purchasing, which you guys obviously do and have touched on. Yeah, very cool. Yeah, why did you choose to hook up Cause Gear with Simple Switch?
Brad: Aligned values. I mean, I think that's become evident through our talk today.
Brad: Is that we're totally aligned in our purpose and mission as to why we're doing what we do. And it's just a natural fit. So we're really grateful for groups like you, who help us, you know, be the conduit for the general public in a lot of ways. We need you can't do this alone. So just everything you stand for is (inaudible: 37:08) complementary to what we're working on. So thank you so much.
Rachel: Thank you so much. Yeah, I absolutely agree. I just can't say enough how thankful I am for companies like you who do the really hard work to make this happen. And I am constantly thankful for the companies that I've gotten to meet the people I've gotten to talk to, and then the fact that we get to, you know, help. We're working on something right now where our customers will be able to see through our site, the type of impact they've made. And I really love hearing about your days of freedom program because that reminds me a lot of that. So we'll have them be able to sign into their account on Simple Switch and graphically see, this is the impact that you've made through your purchase. So you know, you planted this many trees or you did give days of freedom through Cause Gear. So I just love that our models are similar in that and we love to learn from you guys in the way that you’ve done it for years.
Rachel: Do you have a personal favorite product from Cause Gear? And if so, why do you like it?
Brad: Oh man.
Rachel: When you have a product offering as big as yours, this one can be tricky.
Brad: I'm kind of waffling between two products. One's a very simple product which is our belt. A lot of the products I've designed basically all of them and I've designed them for sometimes mostly if I would want to buy them and so kind of selfish reasons. But I think I represent a lot of what our buyers want too. But our belt is just a very simple, thick, high quality leather, indestructible.
Brad: So, that’s the belt I wear and it kind of goes with everything. The other product is fairly new and that's our roll pack. I created the roll pack because I saw it trending. There was a popular design that other brands were doing, I say, we better look at making one. And I didn't think I'd be that crazy about it. But it's turned out to be my favorite pack because it opens up so big, you can just open up the top and you can just, you know, it's a big bag when it's open.
Rachel: Yeah, I love that. And that helps so much with travel and stuff. I actually, usually when I ask this question, I pull up the, so I'm looking at it right now. And it's just a very cool design and you're right, very trendy. And it's so practical. I mean, how can people not like it?
Brad: So, yeah, I took it to my last trip to India, I brought it and I just whenever I go there, I stuffed the heck out of it. I really (inaudible: 39:39) you know, and it was like this thing really held up well, and I could get more in it than some other bag. So anyway, that's my latest favorite.
Rachel: Yeah. So you guys can find that on Simple Switch if you need a roll pack, which a lot of us do. Okay, lastly, listener if you are thinking, you know, wow, I want to support this company and go buy some of their products, you can find that at simpleswitch.org/collections/causegear. But other than buying your products, is there any way that Simple Switch listeners can support you? And is there anything you're working on right now?
Brad: Oh, absolutely. So one of our most popular simple ways for people to help us is to become a brand ambassador. And it's a very simple but powerful thing. So a brand ambassador just helps us get the word out through Instagram. And you you sign up on our website, become a brand ambassador. There's perks you get discounts on products, because we want to make it easy for you to be a gear carrier, you know, to use our product and the show and tell people.
Brad: But importantly, your role is just to do a couple posts a month and get the word out as to why this is so important and why our work is changing lives.
Brad: We value that, so it's really we're a grassroots company, we're small and the help of others is key. So we're so grateful for our brand ambassadors.
Rachel: Very cool, nice. So, it looks like you guys can find the application on Cause Gear website looks like causegear.com/pages/brandambassador. I'll put that in the show notes as well. We also have a brand ambassador program and I know firsthand how much that really, really can help a company. So yeah, if you guys are interested and like you said, they're products are gorgeous. So it's a great program to become a part of. Very cool, awesome, well, is there anything else that you want to tell us before we sign off here?
Brad: No, just I'm grateful for this opportunity to talk with you today.
Brad: All the work that you're doing and thanks for listeners and there support.
Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much, Brad this has been a great conversation and I hope to talk to you again soon.
Brad: Yeah, thanks Rachel, you too.
Closing: Thanks so much for joining me today. If you liked this episode, you can support us by leaving a great review, sharing with your friends and subscribing. Thanks for caring about our planet and the people on it. We'll see you again soon.