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Kevin Moshayed, Founder of Ark Collective (INTERVIEW)

Buy 1 Backpack, Give Another

— December 23, 2011 — Social Good
Kevin Moshayed is founder of Ark Collective, a social business that not only sells cool backpacks, but also give a backpack to a student in need in LA for each one sold. We recently did a business profile on Ark Collective, which left us eager to get the inside scoop from the entrepreneur who brought this idea to life.

In the interview below, Kevin talks about his spark of inspiration during university, and how the business idea came about. He also shares where he gets his inspiration from and how he recharges his creativity.

4 Questions with Kevin Moshayed

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
The idea started when I was home from university in the summer of 2009, sitting on my couch thinking, “What am I going to do in 6 months when I graduate?” One thing I was certain of was that whatever I was going to do, I wanted to make sure it involved giving back to the community.

As I sat around exploring a few different ideas, I remembered recently learning about various socially-conscious businesses that were making a difference in the lives of others. I spoke with a friend’s mother who was a teacher, and she shed light on the large number of students (approximately one million) who attended school in LA and are living under the poverty level, and as a result, did not have access to adequate school supplies or backpacks.

From that moment on I focused on learning about the obstacle these students faced and figuring out how I could start making a difference. That was when I realized that if I could vest the business models I had learned about in school with backpacks and school supplies, we could really help prepare our future generations for success.

A month or so later I was introduced to Operation School Bell. OSB is a fantastic LA based organization that focuses on preparing underserved students with backpacks, supplies, and uniforms. After helping out at one of their “Wheels” days and seeing the smiles on all the kids’ faces, I knew I wanted to focus my time on supporting these students on their educational roads to success.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?
Based on the belief that I could create a backpack collective that supports the educational journey of many underserved students attending school in the United States.

3. How do you get your inspiration?
People inspire me daily. Their creations and perspectives spur my own creative side to think of new ways to approach the day's adventure. I also love getting into conversations with others about ideas, however random, oblong, or whacky they may sound -- I often find many of them to be brilliant!

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
On a daily level I do my best to get involved with activities outside of Ark Collective. I love cooking and staying active, so I am always trying to make a perfect bite after my day is wrapped up, or find a pickup basketball game to get my mind off the daily movements. It's amazing where you can find inspirations in activities that are not related to your line of work.