Since announcing our first winner in the Flying Cart Green Lights Eco-Friendly Stores Giveaway, we’ve had countless questions about Waddlebird. So what is Waddlebird?
Waddlebird is the brainchild of brothers Kevin and Scott Platshon, combining a love of design with the sort of healthy admiration for the natural world common to many lifelong Californians. They have lofty aims for a start-up clothing company: to protect endangered species and their habitat, establish conservation education and awareness programs, and help communities around the world build a sustainable relationship with nature.
In conjunction with Conservation International, Waddlebird has helped to protect 330 acres of environmental Hotspots. “Hotspots are the world’s most biologically rich, diverse and most threatened ecosystems. They make up less than 2% of the Earth’s surface, but contain more than 50% of the plants and animals,” said co-founder Scott. According to Conservation International, at the current rate roughly 1 million species will go extinct between 2010 and 2050. The brothers firmly believe if people are informed about the alarming rate of species loss, they will act.
Waddlebird began with an initial batch of 50 t-shirts, and it exploded from there. Scott describes that early stage: “The response was incredibly enthusiastic and we quickly decided to grow the company by offering more products, establishing an online website and store, building an active Facebook community, and getting representatives at different schools.”
In 2009, Waddlebird donated $2,000 to the Succulent Karoo Hotspot on the Southwestern coast of Africa. In 2010, they contributed $3,000 to the Galapagos Islands Hotspot. All from a percentage of Waddlebird sales. The 2011 location remains to be determined.
The shirts come on 100% certified organic cotton, are printed domestically in the United States to reduce carbon footprint from transportation, and use water-based ink to avoid pollutants without sacrificing quality.
The brothers, age 19 and 25, are fueled by passion. And it has reflected in an organic way with the majority of their customer base being under 26, a group that typically does not contribute heavily to philanthropy. The message on the back of their Classic Long Sleeve shirt reads “because 72 species become extinct every day,” something people of all ages can sport proudly. “And once they’ve received their shirt, every time they put it on they become another method to raise awareness of species extinction,” said Scott.
On the horizon, Waddlebird aims to help create a deeper connection between its customers and the species they’re protecting through eco-tourism and other awareness raising initiatives. “Endangered species focused eco-tourism is a natural evolution of Waddlebird and aligns perfectly with the vision Kevin and I have for the company,” explained Scott. They’ll also be unveiling new products for the winter line and new swimwear products in the spring. The 2011 Earth Day Shirt (April 22) is in the works and Scott claims it to be their best yet.