Cape Clasp was founded in 2013 by creating a bracelet shaped like Cape Cod. Through this humble beginning, founder Patrick Clarke, has went on to create a full fledged purpose-driven brand with a mission to #makewaves for marine life causes. For each of the companies designs, they partner with a different marine life organization and donate 15% of profits. In 2017, Cape Clasp donations totaled over $10,000 to partner nonprofits! Check out Cape Clasp nonprofit partners here.
Below is a Q&A with the founder of Cape Clasp, Patrick Clarke.
Tell us how Cape Clasp started. What was the initial inspiration?
Five years ago, I created a bracelet shaped like Cape Cod to hide in geocaches around my home in Woods Hole, Mass. I shared these adventures on social media and quickly began to receive inquiries from my followers about purchasing the bracelets. I realized the business potential around the idea, I developed a nonprofit partnership model with the Cape Cod National Seashore, built a website, and called the brand Cape Clasp. After selling out of the first batch of bracelets, I started to think of ways to expand our line and support more non-profit causes.
Today, Cape Clasp is a growing, purpose-driven brand on a mission to #makewaves for marine life causes. Since the very beginning, we have partnered with a different marine life organization on each design and donate 15 percent of our profits to support their cause.
When first launching the brand what where some of the struggles you faced and how did you overcome them?
The biggest setback we dealt with early on was from overseas manufacturers ripping off our products. I have to admit, the first time I saw one of these fakes, my gut dropped. Our company had just started to find success, and already we had competitors nipping at our heels.
Rather than dwell, I knew that my energy would be better spent investing in our brand, giving back to our partners, and sharing our story along the way. More than anything, it inspired us to work harder and move faster. I truly believe you will never win with someone else’s idea, and you will never lose chasing what you love to do. More and more, we see our own fans calling out the fakes and coming to our defense – that is really cool to see.
Cape Clasp has several nonprofit partners that you give back to. What are some of the marine life issues that these partners are working to combat?
Each Cape Clasp design is tied to a specific cause, and 15 percent of profits from that design is donated directly to a nonprofit partner. We are proud to partner with eight amazing nonprofit organizations working on marine life causes, such as the preservation of natural spaces and conservation of different marine species, including sharks, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.
Our partners are leaders in their arenas. For example, The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, known for its research of great whites in the Atlantic Ocean, is making great strides in the field and helping to protect this misunderstood species.
What is the important message about marine life that you would like Cape Clasp to represent?
The ocean is a complex ecosystem with an intricate food web that is sensitive to even the most minimal disruptions.
Humans are responsible for most of the threats facing marine life, and we have a responsibility to do something about it while we still can.
But that doesn’t mean we need to abandon our lifestyles completely: Small changes, like choosing sustainably-caught seafood or reducing our reliance on single-use plastics, can make a tremendous impact if we all commit to making them.
As an individual, it can feel overwhelming to think about the gravity of the situation, but raising awareness to the issues and their solutions can spur collective, meaningful action, and I think we’re seeing that right now with the skip the straw movement. Restaurants and communities around the world are transitioning to sustainable alternatives or banning straws altogether, which will reduce the amount of plastic flowing into the ocean each year.
What has been most gratifying thing about building your social enterprise over the last 5 years?
At the end of each year, we tally up the donations to our nonprofit partners. In 2017 alone, we donated more than $10,000 to our partners, helping them further their missions and make even greater impact in protecting our oceans and marine life around the world. I’m so grateful to be a part of this community and want to do what I can to support it.
What is the future for Cape Clasp, what are some of your plans and goals going forward?
Cape Clasp is looking forward to growing its nonprofit partnership model to continue to support marine causes.
Later this year, we will be launching a new product that uses 100% recycled ocean plastic. Not only will we be able to remove plastic from the ocean, but we are hoping to spur behavior change. Each design will serve as a daily reminder for our customers to make simple lifestyle changes that can have a huge impact on our environment, whether that’s to skip the straw or turning to reusable bags instead of plastic ones.
What is some quick advice you can give to aspiring social entrepreneurs out there that want to start a brand with impact and purpose?
My advice is: you only have one life, so make it yours! Find what you love to do and pursue it relentlessly. Stop treading water and start making waves.
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Founder of Causeartist + Social Entrepreneur + Partner at Charity Charge.