Gareth from Madlug took a few minutes out from his day to answer some questions about this bag brand that's on a special mission...
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting Madlug and how the idea for giving a pack-away bag to a child in care came about?
Madlug was founded in 2015 by Dave Linton, who was a youth worker for over 20 years. One night he was at a fostering meeting and heard a story of a young girl moving with her belongings in bin bags and he was heartbroken. He quickly learned that this issue was prevalent throughout the care system and this sparked a desire within him to do something about it. With £500 he started Madlug which grew into the bag brand you see today. Inspired by the brand ‘Tom’s,’ Dave adopted a ‘buy one, give one’ model where with every bag sold a pack-away travel bag is given to a child moving through care.
How can consumers support and get involved with Madlug's mission?
Consumers can join the Madlug movement by purchasing the bags available on our website. We are a brand for children in care, so the very act of wearing our bags communicates to care-experienced young people a love without words. Alternatively they can purchase a gift-a-bag separately or set up an ongoing subscription to fund bags every month.
How do you measure the impact of Madlug's mission and how has this impacted your business strategy?
Madlug has set a goal that by April 2024 we will have given 100,000 pack-away travel bags to children moving through the care system. This goal has helped us stay focused on raising awareness of the bin bag issue through storytelling and selling quality products. So far, we have been able to give over 70,000 pack-away travel bags and we are on track to achieve our goal.
Can you talk about some of the partnerships or collaborations Madlug has had with other organisations or individuals, and how they have supported your mission?
Madlug is proud to have partnered with many businesses and organisations who have contributed to the Madlug movement. We have an ongoing partnership with shopify, who we supply bags with annually and we are proud to be working with them long term. We have also worked with Ikea in 2020, who gifted Madlug bags to their employees all over the UK. Hege Sæbjørnsen, IKEA Country Sustainability Manager UK and Ireland comments, “Through gifting Madlug bags to our own co-workers, together we will be donating a total of 12,876 bags to children in care”. A recent example is at the end of 2022 we began working with John Lewis, who agreed to purchase 5,000 bags to sell on their website and in-store. We have also established a long-term strategy with the Western Health and Social Care Trust to provide bags for every team that works with children moving through care.
How do you balance the social and environmental impact of your business with its financial sustainability and growth?
As our social impact is the giving of our pack-away travel bags to children in care, the selling of our bags is essential for us to sustain this. Therefore as our business grows, our capacity for social impact increases as well. Alongside that, we regularly communicate with our suppliers to explore more sustainable materials to use within our range of bags and take note of any changes in existing products.
Can you describe the process of becoming a B Corp certified and what impact this has had on your business?
Madlug is a business built around the idea of making a difference and B Corp lines up perfectly with our core values. Although achieving verification was a lengthy process it has been a great way for us to be accountable to our goal of becoming a more sustainable business. It has also given us opportunities to work with like-minded businesses who value people and the planet.
At Ethical Schoolwear, we're very proud to stock Madlug schoolbags.