James Boon aims to prove, through his business that a “business can and should be a force for good in the world.” He buys and sells bags made from recycled materials and a donation is made for a child in Cambodia from each bag sold.
What’s your story?
Well I suppose my story really starts at University, during which I helped build a school in South Africa and was shocked by the basic lack of school equipment. A grad job then led me to Asia and a chance encounter with Pry my business partner in Cambodia led us to working together to make and sell bags made from recycled materials. We now sell all over the world and each bag sold donates school equipment back to a child in Cambodia.
What excites you most about your industry?
It is always changing and adapting. Sometimes I feel that the world moves at 100 miles an hour, however that is the fun bit about it. From managing production in Cambodia to sales in the UK, we always have to juggle our time, however that’s what makes it work.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I came to Asia straight out of University and have never looked back. I came here initially with a British architecture company and have stayed since, it really is a home away from home.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
As I live in Hong Kong I would have to say here, however I also love Cambodia as it is a great middle point for South East Asia.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Try everything you can. If someone offers you a job in a country on the other side of the world and you want to do it, just go and try something new.
Who inspires you?
I suppose my grandad had a huge effect on my life, but I would also have to say that there are so many amazing people who I have met all over the world. Pry my business partner in Cambodia would also be on my list of people who inspire me.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Every day there is something, often it is the little things, like new amazing food dishes I have never heard of, often they look terrible but taste amazing!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, never live with regrets!
How do you unwind?
A glass of wine or a cold beer with friends.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Relaxation, probably Kampot in Cambodia. It is the most amazing place. Burma is also very cool, however the key is to visit before all the tourists arrive.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Tim Ferriss – The four hour work week.
Shameless plug for your business:
Elephant Branded. We make bags, run adventures and aim to show that business can and should be a force for good in the world.
How can people connect with you?
Facebook – Elephant Branded or drop me an email – [email protected]
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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