BeeKeeper Parade is an Australian social business hatched between a brother (Koky) and sister (Sophia) in 2012 while Sophia was in hospital fighting cervical cancer.
Every purchase of a stunning and unique Beekeeper Parade bag
supports the continued work of BabyTree Projects, a charity founded by the siblings to fight for children's rights and to bring quality education to the doorsteps of children in rural Cambodia. Read on as Biome's Leah Musch of The Un-Material Girl shares the buzz about BeeKeeper Parade.
The Buzz about BeeKeeper Parade
It could be easy to become blindsided by the outrageously fun prints and designs of BeeKeeper Parade's bag range, however it's the man at the heart of this ethical fashion accessory brand that really deserves the spotlight. Koky Saly, BeeKeeper Parades founder and ‘Chief Keeper' has lived an eventful life. Spending the first 3 years of his life in a Cambodian prison, he was raised by an incredibly strong and protective Mother who lead their family to escape from civil war and seek asylum in Australia. Growing up with a deep sense of gratitude, both Koky and his younger sister Sophia were determined to do something purposeful with their lives. In 2007, Koky founded BabyTree Projects, a not-for-profit group that provides quality education for children in rural Cambodia. This life changing organisation was growing well, but a tragic event stopped Koky in his tracks. In 2012, Sophia lost her life to cancer. In her will, she left Koky her car and instructed him to sell it and use the money to create a business that would inspire change. So that's exactly what he did, and he's been working on it every single day since. From it's humble beginnings as a crowd funded social enterprise, followed by a majorly successful Melbourne Pop Up that has since become a permanent store, BeeKeeper Parade has grown in leaps and bounds. Winning seed funding and awards along the way, this ethical fashion pioneer has helped create 5 schools in Cambodia, one of which is named the Sophia Saly School.
When Trash Becomes Fash
Environmental responsibility is another value at the heart of this sustainable fashion brand. Driven by the desire to avoid creating more new “stuff”, BeeKeeper strives to use existing materials throughout their design and production processes. Each bag is made using textiles and fabrics that were destined for landfill, resulting in a range of backpacks, bumbags and totes that are each wonderfully eco friendly and completely unique – the ultra-limited edition item. It's exciting to peek inside each bag and marvel at the unique lining inside. There has already been many lamenting faces at our head office when a great style is purchased because we were too slow to snap it up. Once it's gone, it's gone! Better yet, each product is completely vegan, made without the use of any animal products or glues. It's estimated that every 6 minutes, 6 tonnes of textiles and clothing is sent to landfill in Australia (Ragtrader, 2018). BeeKeeper Parade is a business that truly cares about their environmental impact, and they have already been responsible for upcycling more than 14 tonnes of textile waste so far.
Inside the Beehive
Each BeeKeeper Parade product is ethically hand made in house at the ‘Production Imaginarium' in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The team of 14 is currently small, but as the business grows there will continue to be more employment opportunities for skilled locals. They also employ people who have disabilities, and it's clear from their photos that this is a tight knit, beautiful team of people. Some additional achievements this unstoppable brand can add to their name is their recent Christmas Campaign, which helped raise enough money to make more than 1,000 school uniforms for the students of the schools they support. In addition, they've funded 15 solar systems for household in the village of the Sophia Saly School. Biome is thrilled to be able to now stock a range of BeeKeeper Parade bags online, and in our stores (arriving over the next few weeks). Our advice? Don't hesitate to support this brilliant business, with each bag being totally unique they won't stay available for long!
Where to find BeeKeeper Parade bags?
Beekeeper backpacks and bags are now available in our Brisbane City and Indooroopilly stores (other stores coming soon) and online. Please note that each product is totally unique, so prints might vary. Browse all Beekeeper Parade range here online
BeeKeeper Parade's mission is to create products that change the world, do no harm to the environment, nourish and support the people and animals that dwell on our planet, to seek solutions to our environmental crisis, to use business to inspire people to consume less, to do more and BEE MORE and to support BabyTree Projects in its fight for quality education for all children.