Growing up in Singapore ignited my passion for our fragile oceans and its inhabitants. I became fascinated by fish and at one point I kept over 30 fish tanks in my childhood bedroom. Living so close to the ocean also showed me firsthand the damaging effects that humans were having on our seas.
Four years ago, I started my first eco-venture, an ocean-friendly jewelry line called Sand Shack, which donated 5% of its profits to ocean conservation efforts. At the end of the day I was left with the same burning question: what kind of difference were my donations making on our oceans? That’s when I created a unique business model in 2010, which would associate each business transaction with a concrete environmental action.
United By Blue is an ocean-friendly brand of apparel, which removes a pound of trash from oceans and waterways for every product sold from our line of organic t-shirts, canvas bags and jewelry. We don’t pay anyone to take out the trash: our staff jumps at the chance get our hands dirty. In just under two years, UBB has removed over 80,000 pounds of trash during 60 cleanups in 15 states and two countries.
Our distribution has grown from a few specialty stores to over 100 stores throughout the country and Japan. United By Blue’s story and products have been featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to GQ. Our business model allows our impact to grow as fast as our business does.
Even before United By Blue was founded, I greatly admired Clean Ocean Action’s dedication to turning the tide of our oceans’ future. After all, it doesn’t matter if it is a UBB customer in Kansas or a Clean Ocean Action supporter on the Jersey Shore-- we are all United By Blue.
Brian Linton, United By Blue’s Founder and Chief Trash Collector