At the end of 2018 Pavel, one of the founders of Mai, decided to travel across Asia and Oceania. He has chosen to travel to gain more experience about the cultures and ways of life in different parts of the world. His main goal was to discover what he can do for the world after graduating as a product designer and to gain new insights that he will never be able to get in his home country, the Netherlands. During his time in Thailand Pavel visited an elephant sanctuary. Here his eyes were opened for the rough world of the elephant labour and the not only physical, but also mental, harm that the elephants endure. Many elephants have already been rescued from the grasp of their owners, but the majority are still being used and abused for human benefit every day. After Pavel realised how expensive it is to maintain an elephant, he understood why so few elephants are actually saved from captivity. Pavel found it incredibly difficult that he could not do more for these beautiful animals than to come and interact with already saved elephants for a fee. He thought about sponsoring them but didn’t have any financial opportunity for this.
A few weeks later Pavel came across a small tent at a night market that sold all kinds of bags. However, these were very different from all the products that he came across on the market as the quality seemed to exceed Thai standards, all the stiches were perfect and the material looked very durable, the people who made these bags clearly had an eye for detail.
After having a long conversation with the owner of the factory where the bags are made and seeing the factory, Pavel was impressed with how happy all the staff are and how they are all committed to the quality of the product they produce. Realising there is no such backpacks being sold in Europe, Pavel came up with a way to support the Asian elephants. By selling these backpacks and donating a portion of the profit to a charity he will be able to offer the support he could not have offered otherwise.
After getting back from his journey Pavel started working on this idea right away. Together with Karel, who shares his passion for high quality products and nature, he established Mai Bags.