Inspiration

‘Inspirational Elements’

The curious combination of hot chocolate with a hurricane may sound strange but both elements are crucial ingredients to empowering people with inspiration. Align yourself with a league of legends and discover what drives a Human Hurricane.

Women of Action Poster Series

Download posters of some seriously fit females from varied backgrounds and athletic disciplines. Showcasing strength, speed and smarts these women set high standards and help inspire the same in others.

Intrepid Spirits get inspired with our Wild Side Travel Guide!

Shopping centres are a hive of activity at this time of year, store shelves adorned with seasonal gifts and fare. While for some Christmas is commercial, for others it inspires a creative spirit to make or uncover a truly unique present for their loved ones.

Strolling modern markets one discovers a surprising amount of pop-up stores, with make-your-own options transforming standard stocking stuffers into personalised ornaments, perfumes, confectionaries and much more. Creative spaces filled with happy crafters beavering away like elves in Santa’s workshop. And a beautiful hand-crafted gift certainly makes an impression but it takes time to produce—a luxury rarely afforded the deadline driven. For busy people seeking a gift of authentic and original craftsmanship, Kantala’s collection of handmade ethical fashion accessories might just be what you’re looking for.

Inspired by a 300-year-old traditional hand-weaving technique, Kantala combines Sri Lankan influences with functionality for a modern lifestyle.

Ethical Elegance aptly describes the brands aspirations, from plant-based materials to supporting local artisans. BE Journal takes you behind the brand with co-founder Nadishan Shanthikumar to learn more…

How did you begin designing consciously-crafted bags?

Both of us believe in creating value through our work that creates a positive impact in our communities and the environment. This belief was influenced by our upbringing and local culture which emphasizes compassion, care and respect towards others. So, our shared vision was to set up an enterprise based on these values with a mission to create a positive social and environmental impact.

While on his travels, Vikum found the moment of inspiration in Egypt when he saw a set of hieroglyphics cleverly incorporated into contemporary goods. He became convinced a product based on a traditional Sri Lankan craft was the business he wanted to create. Upon his return to Sri Lanka, Vikum searched for a traditional Sri Lankan craft that could be applied to a contemporary product which had a global demand. It was while on this search he came across the traditional artisans of Henavala, who were continuing a handwoven craft with a history of over 300 years, dating back to Sri Lanka’s last royal kingdom of Kandy. After Vikum shared his findings with me the two of us set out to learn more about this traditional craft. Soon we came to realise both the craft and the natural fibre material used to weave the mats gave the foundation to the positive social and environmental impact we wanted to create.

After seeking feedback from various people about the different applications of the handwoven material, we realized the material was well suited to make handbags. Hereafter, we set in motion the process of creating the perfect handbag that would champion the handwoven mat. As we brought in the different elements we needed to complete the Kantala handbag, we always stuck to the vision and mission we shared. This helped us to create the consciously-crafted bag each and every Kantala handbag is today.

What are the cultural influences and benefits to local communities?

There are multiple cultural influences at play when it comes to our work. As the core material of every Kantala product is the handwoven natural fibre mat, each product is influenced by the traditional craft which has a history of over 300 years. The weaving techniques used to create various designs have been perfected generation after generation. It is these skills and techniques which make it possible for us to create a variety of woven patterns.
Unfortunately, when we first met the artisans back in December 2012, the craft was in decline due to a lack of economically viable opportunities. We were amazed by the craft and its potential that we made it our mission to secure and revive the craft.

A fair living wage and timely payments have helped create economic benefits for the artisans. This helped to increase the number of artisans engaged with Kantala from 8 in 2013 to 22 by end of 2017. However, one concerning indicator was the average age of the artisans. In 2013 the average age of an artisan was 60, which highlighted the impending demise of the craft due to a new generation not taking up the craft. However, as we continued to promote our artisans to a global audience and reposition the craft as a highly skilled and prestigious sector, younger folks have started to take up the craft. By the end of 2017, the average age of an artisan dropped to 50. Thereby, Kantala has helped to secure a defining element of our traditional crafts and culture while creating a fair and respectable livelihood for rural communities in Sri Lanka.

What elements of nature proved the most versatile in construction and style?

One of the key elements which drew us to the handwoven mats was the natural fibre mat which was used to weave the mats. The fibre, which is extracted from the hana plan (Agave cantala), is a long fine white colour fibre with a mild sheen. The fibre is extremely strong, it’s cousin in Mexico is used to make rope, making it an ideal material for making objects that have to withstand weight. At the same time, its visual qualities give it an aesthetically pleasing texture once dyed and woven.

While this might not be of relevance to its use as a material in our handbags, the hana plant also serves quite a bit of community service as well. Hana plants can be grown as a bio-fence to stop wildlife entering cultivated land. It is a safe and environmentally conscious alternative to electric fences used to ward off wildlife. The plant can grow without watering and fertilizer while the leaves will keep on growing until the plant flowers and dies. All of this make the hana plant a genuinely versatile element of nature in many aspects.

Another element in our bags which play a versatile role is the upcycled coconut shell accessories. The coconut shell, which is discarded or incinerated, is used to make the logo tags and some of the other accessories such as D-rings and shoulder strap sliders used in our bags. Coconut shells are deceivingly tough and once polished using sandpaper and a brush, adds a unique aesthetic element to our products. Engraving the Kantala logo on coconut shell pieces has given a signature touch to our products.

Why is it vital to improve the current methods and materials used?

As an organisation which creates a positive social and environmental impact, our cost base is comparatively greater than most of our competition. In order to scale supply and maintain costs at a manageable level that doesn’t erode our competitiveness and mission, it is important for us to continuously review the processes and materials which are used to create Kantala products.

When you are working with traditional crafts, scalability becomes a key concern because all processed are done using hand tools. If the business fails to scale while maintaining cost competitiveness, the brand will ultimately fail. Therefore, certain low value add processes have to be mechanised using modern technology while labour is redirected to the core high value add activities. This will create higher efficiency, meaning the brand can scale while maintaining cost competitiveness. Also, by redirecting labour to higher value add activities, the artisans can earn more while increasing their output.

Three materials used in Kantala products are sourced from overseas, due to the lack of a viable alternative in Sri Lanka. This incurs added costs and increased lead times, which reduce the efficiency of our operations. Therefore, it is vital for us to engage local sources to improve substitutes to these imported materials, which will reduce the material cost and lead times. This also means we can redirect fund which would have been sent overseas back into our local communities as well.

What are the practical challenges of designing innovative storage solutions for modern lifestyles?

A world of fast changing consumer preferences translates into shorter product lifecycles which becomes hugely challenging when you are producing handcrafted goods. Unlike synthetic materials which can be easily moulded into any form or shape, natural materials are restrictive in their adaptability. However, by designing the interior of the products in such a manner that it gives the user functional flexibility, we manage to overcome most of these issues. We create certain products that are targeted to a very specific lifestyle while other products have the functionality to apply across multiple lifestyles.

Our plan is to carve out a niche position in the market that addresses a selected number of lifestyles which complement the personality of Kantala as a slow fashion brand. Therefore, we concentrate on achieving technical and design proficiency in addressing the storage requirements of these selected lifestyles.

How do you envision the definition and application of bags evolving in the future?

The core functionality of the handbag has remained the same over the decades. However, the purpose it fulfils changes according to the consumer who carries it. For one consumer their handbag is merely a practical necessity while to another it is an aesthetic element. To another customer, it could have emotional connotations. We believe the definition and application of the handbag will remain within this paradigm changing only from the point of view of the customer.

Bag makers who clearly identify their customer group and delivers a product that meets the customer’s practical, aesthetic and emotional expectations will see their products do well.

What is the ideal all-rounder for a travelling professional?

This is actually a question we are addressing at the moment. One of our first and favourite customers recently got in touch asking to develop a bag for her which she can use on her work trips of about one to two nights. We worked closely with her first to identify her needs while traveling on work and how we can provide her a solution.

The modern professional has many electronic devices which need to travel safely. They also like to carry a book to read, a magazine, notepad and pen etc. And then you have all the garments they need. The last thing a traveling professional needs after a long day of meetings is to have to carry multiple bags and spend time checking in and retrieving luggage.

Therefore, we created a simple solution with a comfortable handle for easy carrying, extra padding for safety, and a wide base which allows us to add multiple compartments which can accommodate up to 4 electronic devices and cables while having room for writing material and garments. From the outside it looks like the everyday elegant bag you take to work. But on the inside, it can accommodate quite a lot of things that will keep you organised and on the go for at least 2 nights. This is what we believe will make an ideal all-rounder for a traveling professional.

Explore the full range of vibrant and vegan accessories at Kantalabrands.com

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Principles of Success learned through the Pursuit of Adventure, an animation by Ray Dalio. A short film with wide application to life and work.

“Whatever success I’ve had in life hasn’t been because of anything unique about me—it’s because of principles that I believe anyone can adopt. I created this animated series to share them with you”. —Ray Dalio

In 1975, Ray Dalio founded Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Over forty years later, Bridgewater has grown into the largest hedge fund in the world and the fifth most important private company in the United States according to Fortune magazine, and Dalio himself has been named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along the way Dalio discovered unique principles that have led to his and Bridgewater’s unique success. It is these principles, and not anything special about Dalio, that he believes are the reason behind whatever success he has had. He is now at a stage in his life that he wants to pass them along to others to do whatever they think is appropriate to do with them.

Learn more about Ray’s Principles @ principles.com

Coffee is a comfort which sustains explorers the world over. Seeds from the unassuming coffee shrub have inspired voyages of harvest and trade since the 10th century. This heritage is embraced by the coffee connoisseurs at Nespresso who have released a limited collection of the world’s rarest single origin arabica’s—sourced from India, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and the Galapagos Islands.

Imbued with tradition, the four coffees in Nespresso’s 2018 Explorations Tasting Box reveal distinctive cultural and landscape qualities.

A story within a box, unfolding like origami to reveal treasures within. Four sleeves of coffee adorned with patterns unique to their origin. A photo album nestled inside, shares the stories of the coffee growers and hints at the complex aromas and flavours of the beans you are about to experience. Two special edition glasses are hidden beneath in a submerged cavity—unveiled only as you explore a little deeper.

Distilled in a drink…the mysteries of nature—a thought to savour as you unwrap this exquisite gift!

The carefully-curated Explorations 2018 box is the result of a challenge set by Nespresso coffee experts who travelled the world to source and select their ‘picks of the year’: a collection of four Limited Edition coffees considered as ‘gems’ due to their rarity, scarcity and extraordinary aromatic profiles. In addition to the four coffees, the box also comes complete with a set of two Nespresso Reveal coffee glasses, designed with Riedel, along with a coffee table book filled with coffee stories and tasting recommendations.

Mitch Monaghan, Nespresso Coffee Ambassador, said of the launch: “All of the coffees in the new Explorations box each hold a rare story that I am excited to share with Australia. Remote lands or unusual conditions can transform a normal coffee plant into a true coffee treasure; I love that each unique taste of the Explorations range comes from somewhere unexpected.”

India Mylemoney

Mylemoney Single Estate sits at a high elevation near the Bababudan Mountain in Chikmagalur, Southern India. According to legend, India’s first coffee was planted there over 300 years ago with seeds smuggled in from Arabia by a pilgrim named Bababuda, after whom the mountain was named.

All ideal factors culminate on this farm: 1200 metres high elevation rich farm biodiversity, two distinct levels of shaded trees, a meticulous processing system with selective picking of ripe cherries and eco-friendly pulping, fermenting, washing and drying under the natural sunlight.

The result is a complex coffee with dry cereal and toasted notes that are reminiscent of bread crust.

Nicaragua Las Marias

1300 metres above sea level, Finca Las Marias was the first Nicaraguan farm to be Rainforest Alliance-certified back in 2003.

Where Nicaraguan coffee is usually processed by the washing method, this single-estate gem is ‘black honey’ processed. This means the mucilage or ‘miel’ (honey) in Spanish – the sticky fruit of the coffee cherry – is left on the seed during drying.

The process enhances the coffee’s ultimate sweetness by highlighting the fruity notes which are coupled with a fine acidity for an overall comforting, balanced and round cup of coffee.

República Dominicana Valle Del Cibao

What’s striking in this medium roasted Espresso is its refreshing green notes of fruits and nuts. Complimented with a touch of acidity and a light body, this is undoubtedly a great coffee to discover.

Prone to hurricanes in the Caribbean, the Valle Del Cibao lies between two mountain chains with one being home to the Caribbean’s highest mountain, Pico Duarte. This giant mass protects the entire region from excessive climate variations, adding a stability that is evidently translated into the coffee beans, making its flavours round and balanced.

These conditions, coupled with the constant rainy season of the Caribbean Islands which yields an almost year-round coffee cropping and harvesting period, result in a refreshing medium-roast coffee with green notes of fruit and nuts.

Galapagos Santa Cruz

The Galapagos Islands are not the tropical hothouse that usually characterise a fine coffee-sourcing region. Instead – with the cold ocean current that runs from Peru, The Cromwell currents that travel from the West Pacific and carry rich nutrients, and the North and South trade that battles the heat of the sun – the Galapagos become a unique hot bed for plant growth.

These specialised conditions create a full-bodied coffee with a cacao-like bitterness, that reveals roasted and sweet biscuit notes.

The 2018 Explorations Tasting Box will be available for a limited time from 15th October 2018 to purchase from Nespresso Boutiques, or order through the Nespresso Club, and online at nespresso.com. RRP $90 for four sleeves of coffee, a set of Nespresso Reveal Glasses and a Limited Edition coffee table book.

Mental Health Week signifies a growing awareness and interest in fostering new narratives around mental health issues. First held in Australia in 1985, the annual event coincides with World Mental Health Day on October 10th and includes “Mental As”, a collection of stories on mental health issues aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

These documentaries do a fine job of promoting new science and expressing unique perspectives on various conditions from Autism to Alzheimers. Though if I could add anything to their line-up it would be the cultural documentary CRAZYWISE co-directed by photographer-filmmaker Phil Borges. In this program we learn how indigenous cultures encourage exploration of altered states—what emerges is an understanding that ‘reality is relative’ to the individual and the culture.

People with unique sensitivities are offered guidance and respect to empower self discovery and confidence to embrace their differences. This is starkly different from the stigma associated with different states of mind amongst modern society. Shapeshifting and vision quests move beyond concepts of fiction or myth—this film shows how these practices represent an opportunity to master states of heightened awareness and to skilfully navigate new experiences with an open mind.

CRAZYWISE examines the effects of how modern vs traditional cultures approach mental health and what the outcome is for people who are labeled as mentally dysfunctional, disturbed or disabled. What are the consequences of diagnosing and prescribing drugs to treat an illness? Should we consider it a unique form of insight when someone hears voices in their head or experiences hallucinations? Is it better to administer pharmaceuticals to dampen these aberrations or enhance them? The film poses these questions, but also offers audiences a more expansive and inclusive view of mental health. It is a noteworthy omission from ABC’s “Mental As” showcase, one which reveals the mental health costs of limiting our state of mind.

Read our interview with Phil Borges in issue 47.

Phil Borges, a social documentary photographer and filmmaker, has been documenting indigenous cultures for over 25 years. His films and photographs are exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. Phil has hosted television documentaries on indigenous cultures for Discovery and National Geographic. As an experienced lecturer, he has spoken at multiple TED talks. Phil directed 13 short documentaries focusing on gender based issues around the world for UN Women, CARE, ReSurge, joinFITE, Foundation for Women and One Heart. Two recent films include: One Heart in Nepal (2012, 6:39 min), and Ms. Trung (2012, 4:51 min).

CRAZYWISE is available to stream, download or purchase as a DVD. You can also attend or host a community screening, details @ crazywisefilm.com

Building on our list of the 40 Best Drone Business Ideas 2018 by Oliver McClintock—we explore the remote environments which drones make accessible.

Part Two: Drones and the Environment

From disaster relief to environmental surveillance, farms to forests—drones facilitate access on a much broader scale. Piercing the veil of impenetrable regions with aerial precision, drones allow us to remotely service those in need of medical or survival rations, to span vast ecosystems faster and with more freedom, monitoring wildlife populations and migrations or scouting for signs of climate change (literally giving us a heads-up).

15. Drone Search and Rescue

One of the best applications for aerial technology is the benefit of searching for people that might be lost or hurt. It is far more useful to search for someone uses a drone that has thermal imaging than it is to search for them on the ground at night. It might not be the place to make the most money, but it is possible that some related drone business ideas include making add-on hardware for rescue drones or creating special mapping software for unique missions. Take for example DJI’s partnership with several entrepreneurs who invented a 3D printed utility attachment and a self-releasing delivery capsule to help those in need.

16. Emergency Deliveries

Many companies are looking at delivering small, time-sensitive packages to users via drone. UPS tested a drone to deliver emergency supplies to a coastal children’s camp in Maine this summer. A government partnership in Rwanda delivered blood and emergency supplies via parachute and are now bringing that technology to the US. Those searching for drone business ideas could develop self- release packaging or identify critical delivery services in their local area.

17. News Reporting

UAV pilots have been recording and finding newsworthy stories since they could first fly with cameras. Now outlets like CNN are starting their operations like “CNN AIR” to help tell stories in a more documentary-like way. Local drone pilots could link up with news outlets to help provide coverage of events when the media outlet does not have the time or resources to start their news drone division. Drones like the Phantom 4 are enabling anyone to become a newscaster! They are used all over the country to document local happenings to be shared on Youtube and beyond.

18. Environmental Monitoring and Compliance

Drones can be used to bring new perspectives to protecting our environment. Different departments across the US are using aerial views to monitor everything from coastline erosion to animal species and populations. UAV technology can be a discrete, non-invasive way to inspect vast areas of forest, coastline, and wetlands cost- effectively. New drones from companies like Sensefly are providing flexible ways for drone pilots to protect the world we live in. For those who are passionate about helping protect nature in the US, related drone business ideas could include contracting out with a local environmental department or selling aerial data to these organizations.

19. Protect and Conserve WIldlife

Poachers threaten many endangered animal populations across the globe. These poachers target animals such as elephants and rhinos due to their valuable tusks and horns which can be sold in markets across Asia. Several organizations are using the power of quadcopters to fight back against poachers. Teams like Air Shepherd are working with drones to identify poachers and work with local law enforcement to put an end to this illegal activity.

20. Monitor Natural Disasters

Monitoring natural disasters can be another excellent drone business idea for entrepreneurial remote pilots. By working closely with local law enforcement agencies, pilots could contract out as a third party to provide live aerial images and video of disasters happening in real time. It is essential to note the reckless operation of drones in disaster areas like wildfire fighting can put people’s lives in real danger. However, if appropriately coordinated, drones can provide an excellent view of regions affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and tornadoes. It can help first responders allocate their resources more effectively to help save lives.

21. Meteorology and Weather

Drones are helping weather stations and storm reporters alike get an edge on severe weather. From atmospheric sampling data from multiple sources to taking a real-time video about storms, drones can help us get an edge on mother nature. Those looking for weather-related drone business ideas could partner with a storm chasing team to provide intelligence.

23. Inspect Water Management and Irrigation

Water usage is critical to farmers, especially in areas like the west coast of the US where drought has been taking place for years. For managing water resources more effectively, farmers are now turning to drones to tackle irrigation inefficiencies. Farmers have to deal with potential losses from complicated underground irrigation systems and now can see where their crops either are or are not being watered. Using UAV technology to help improve irrigation also makes a ton of sense for farmers as the areas they manage are often too large to a survey by foot or ground-based vehicle efficiently.

24. Monitor Crop Health for Precision Agriculture

Massive advances in UAV software have enabled farmers to understand their crop health from the skies better. Many drone companies have entered the space to offer a customized drone and software package to increase yields. AgEagle, SenseFly eBee, and PrecisionHawk all target farmers looking to capitalize on the productivity gains that can be had from drone data. UAV business owners could buy one of these drones, master the data analytics, and sell service packages to farmers who do not want to learn or invest in the software themselves.

Author Bio

Oliver McClintock is a tech enthusiast, and his main interests are drones and everything related to aviation gadgets. He shares his experience, product reviews, buyer’s guides, and how-to content on his site called MyDearDrone. It is awarded as one of the top 10 drone blogs of 2018 and a proud supporter of various high-profile events related to tech, aviation, drones, government, security & defense, military, etc.