Planting a Billion Trees with tentree: Arthur Kononuk – Episode 016

by | Mar 16, 2020 | Podcast

Subscribe on: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify

When you start a company for the sole purpose of funding tree planting, and it takes off as a fashion brand, you see how it would be hard to stay focused. But through rebrands, viral social media hits, and an evolving fashion landscape, tentree hasn’t strayed from their mission.

In this episode of the podcast, I get the absolute pleasure of speaking with Arthur Kononuk, Creative Director and Co-founder of tentree. To give some context, tentree plants 10 trees for every item purchased, and we dive into their audacious goal of planting 1 billion trees by 2030. We talk about their experience of going viral on Instagram, why they did a rebrand, the state of the textiles industry and sustainable fashion, and why selling more clothing might not be the best way to reach their new goal.

Oh and if you’re here in time, there’s a sweet little giveaway for you:

The Giveaway: Subscribe Before March 31, 2020 to Have a Chance of Winning a $100 Gift Card to tentree

About Arthur Kononuk and tentree

As co-founder and Creative Director at tentree, Arthur Kononuk has been responsible for helping guide the brand’s strategic vision and product development. Arthur is an award-winning entrepreneur and creative, who earned his start building international campaigns, brands, and strategy in the advertising industry. Outside of work, he volunteers his time as an impact investor and advisor for brands helping make our world a better place.

Find Arthur on LinkedIn

Find Arthur on Instagram

tentree believe that big change starts small. Whether you’re bringing eco-bags to the grocery store (when you remember), or have a fancy reusable water bottle, we are here to celebrate the small wins. At tentree, we empower everyone to plant trees with their purchases, while offering sustainably made products for everyone to enjoy. For every item purchased tentree will plant 10 trees, all trackable and verified.

Find tentree on Their Website https://www.tentree.ca/

Find tentree on LinkedIn

Find tentree on Instagram: @tentree

Find tentree on Twitter: @tentree

Everything we Talked About In This Episode

[02:36] Overview of tentree

[02:53] Find them in retailers like MEC and REI

[03:46] Why having 5 co-founders was essential to the success of tentree

[04:22] Dave and Kalen were the original co-founders and idea creators

[05:04] Was the tree planting an addition to selling shirts, or was clothing just a means of planting trees?

[07:41] What were some of the hardest decisions that you had to make together as a 5 person team?

[10:36] People buy for a range of reasons, but often because they not only want to give back but to be a symbol of their ideology

[14:20] How has your view of fashion and the industry changed over time?

[17:18] Reference to H&M Conscious Division

[18:29] The sustainable manufacturing piece is permeating all levels of the industry

[20:50] Quote: “There’s enough clothing on this planet right now that we probably don’t need to make anything new for years

[22:38] Hopefully moving to a circular economy model in textiles, but it’s slow to adopt

[24:32] Reference to Adidas circular economy shoe product

[26:33] Why bother going through a rebrand and logo redesign

[30:12] Why the universality of the new brand is Arthur’s favourite part of the brand

[31:49] How the heck tentree got 15+million likes on an Instagram post, and how you can learn from it

[33:02] Quote: “What if we took our advertising budget, and instead of spending it to pay these big companies to display ads to people what if we put that money to do something good”

[36:46] How did going viral affect your sales?

[42:48] Reference to Stanley Park Brewing partnership

[43:52] Reference to Cisco partnership

[50:30] Arthurs advice for other social entrepreneurs: you have the power to create products and partners to   

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The Change Maker’s Dilemma

How can we dedicate our lives to a specific mission while also keeping an open mind? I don't think we can. As human beings, we don't want to pursue a lifelong mission unless we're convinced its 100% the best thing we can do for the world. So, to be 100% convinced, we...

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