Taaluma Totes is a line of backpacks made from traditional fabrics from around the world and made by adults with disabilities in the Virginia. Taaluma Totes gives back 20 percent of profits to your tote’s country (where the fabric came from) – profits are microloaned to farmers and small business owners. They repay the loan when they can and Taaluma Totes uses the repayment to buy more fabric to make more totes. “Backpacks that carry a country” is the tagline.
Taaluma Totes has recruited college students as ambassadors to sell Taaluma Totes on campuses. The two founders, Jack DuFour and Alley Heffren, pitched their company on Shark Tank in February 2015. They went into the Tank seeking an investment of $110,000 in exchange for 15 percent equity. Most of the Sharks said Taaluma Totes was “too early” to invest in and, alas, they did not leave with a deal. Four years later and Taaluma Totes is still growing strong. They best illustrate the spirit of the business and uniqueness of the product by posting photos of people posing with their totes and of people traveling far and wide to find fabrics to send to the company in the U.S. (see a few below). Taaluma Totes retail for $65 to $75. New episodes of Shark Tank air Sundays at 10 pm on ABC, right after American Idol. [Related: 27 Favorite ‘Shark Tank’ Products at Amazon — New List]