When I got to be old enough to think about earning pocket money, my mom started to encourage me to make a similar sort of product.
“Why don’t you make handkerchiefs like the one appa carries, Ben? Only with tourists maps of Bali. You’ll sell lots of them!” The idea didn’t really stick, but my mom reminded me of it now and then over the course of a couple of years. And then, when I reached grade 8 and it was time to come up with a project for my ‘Quest’ presentation, the idea popped up again.
At Green School Bali, where I go to school, students have to present a project related to sustainability or social justice to the school community in order to graduate from middle school. I thought promoting handkerchiefs might be a good way of getting people at Green School to stop wasting paper tissues to dry their hands in the bathrooms. But I still wasn’t convinced it was the right idea.
That December, on a family trip to Nepal, we came across a handkerchief in a shop with a map of Annapurna, the mountain range that we were about to go trekking in. Of course, my dad bought the handkerchief and together with my big brother, JJ, and my parents, we sipped sweet hot Nepali milk tea and brainstormed on a brand concept.
“GREENkerchiefs!!” my dad suggested… “LAME!” JJ said, “It’s gotta sound more cool, more hipster, more compact. How about LRX, like appa’s favourite Dr. Seuss book.”, ”nah, that’s taken.” Then I thought of “TRI”. It sounds like ‘tree’, but could be something else too. JJ pitched in, “hashtag, ‘chiefs for change!!!” It stuck.
A few days later, my dad realized “TRI” could also be like Tri Hita Karana, Bali’s beautiful philosophy about the three causes for happiness or prosperity: harmony with humans, harmony with nature, harmony with Spirit.
As we had been thinking about using the money we would make from selling ‘chiefs to support indigenous organizations that were protecting trees, it seemed right to have a brand that connected with our values and Bali, our adopted home that we love.