Canadian Expat Karla Zen Helping Environmentally Friendly Coffee Drinkers
I'm a San
Francisco-based sustainability pro with a serious coffee addiction. I love
magical design and smart products that slash waste.
I grew up outside a
small town on Vancouver Island in Canada (as in bears-walking-through-the-yard
small). My parents were always making things and growing things. They taught be
about how interconnected the natural environment is, and that every action can
have an impact somewhere else.
Fast forward to a few
years ago: I was writing a green living website about the changes I was making
in my own life to become healthier and more "planet friendly."
My research led me to
a photo by artist Chris Jordan that visually represent 15 minutes worth of paper
That image really
stayed with me, and although I was working and living "green," I was a hypocrite
when it came to my coffee habit. I really wanted to carry a reusable coffee cup,
but I couldn't find one that fit my life. Travel mugs were leaky, heavy and a
burden to carry around all day. If I had plans after work, I'd opt to use a
disposable cup rather than lug a bulky cup around until 10 pm. Existing
collapsible mugs were small, flimsy and not up to the task of hot liquid.
I created Zip Cup
because it's a product that I wanted in my own life. In designing Zip Cup, I was
also really inspired by the book Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and
Michael Braungart and I'm working to ensure that Zip Cup is as safe for people
and the environment as possible.
led corporate branding, strategy and biz dev in the pioneering world of green
building, where I'm a LEED Accredited Professional. I surround myself with
extraordinary people, including top notch industrial designers and business
Zip Cup is the biggest
thing I've ever done, and I'm incredibly inspired by the support I've received.
I'm trying to give back throughout my Indiegogo campaign by raising funds for a
women's coffee cooperative in Rwanda, and by buying a stranger a cup of coffee a
few times a week...small acts of coffee karma!