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Coconut Workshop – crowdsourcing for a cause

Calling all artists: imagine a doodle which can feed the hungry, heal the sick, and protect the environment. That’s the thinking behind Coconut Workshop, an initiative which aims to bring aid to the developing world through design. Their strapline; “products with a conscience”.

Coconut have chosen perhaps the most ubiquitous surface of the age as their medium – the smartphone cover. Every couple of months, a new Coconut Case will be released, featuring a design from an up-and-coming artist or designer, with a portion of the revenue going to good causes in third world countries. A Coconut Case (which can be purchased for Apple and Samsung products) consists of two parts; the funky canvas itself, and the “cause beacon”, a coloured segment which indicates the nature of the cause your purchase is supporting; blue for water, red for AIDS, green for the environment, etc.

Co-founder Ben Dolgin-Gardner, formerly of SZCEIT, is based in Shenzhen and has a background in electronics manufacturing, placing the Coconut team in an ideal position to turn around new designs incredibly quickly. Alongside designers and fellow SZCEIT alumni Malcolm Russell and Steve Murray, Dolgin-Gardner decided that they could utilise their combined expertise to make a real difference: “I wanted to apply my energy to creating a brand which other people want to see succeed as much as I do. Coconut does this because it benefits new designers and worthy causes which people are happy to support.”

And here’s the good news for budding designers: anybody can submit a design to Coconut. The process is pretty simple – once you’ve come up with a stunning graphic, take a snapshot and upload it to Instagram using the hashtag #cocovote. Within 24 hours, your submission will be displayed on the Coconut page, where anyone is welcome to vote on their favourite design. If your entry is selected to proudly emblazon the next Coconut Case, you can choose from either an upfront cash payment or a percentage royalty fee from all sales.

Coconut have recently launched an Indiegogo campaign which will run throughout the month of April. Their goal is to raise $50,000 to build their brand, expand manufacturing efforts and broaden distribution avenues. Click here to check out the campaign and make a donation.

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