Ever wondered how you could support ethical, sustainable businesses? Welcome to a new regular series highlighting products, services and organizations that are doing well by doing good.

Stone + Cloth is a fashion brand that gives back by helping fund scholarship programs for students in East Africa. Featuring backpacks and totes for daily commutes or weekend adventures, their beautifully minimalistic designs have gained a loyal following.

We spoke to Matthew Clough, the young entrepreneur behind Stone + Cloth, about how he found inspiration on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro to start this business.


Please give us an overview of your business?
We make well-crafted backpacks and bags in small factories in Los Angeles. Your purchase helps provide scholarships for students.

How did you get started with this idea?
It was inspired by a trip I took to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro. On the trip I learned the porters who helped me climb the mountain sometimes do not get work often enough or get paid enough to put their children through school. Arriving home I wanted to help and designed a backpack that I felt represented education—the bag similar to the one I went to school with and pledged to provide 25 hours of classroom learning for students, from each purchase, through our non-profit partners.

What is the purpose of this business?
We believe education is paramount in creating a brighter future. And also believe that education is something anyone that wants it should have access to.


What are you proudest of?
Starting a socially conscious company with a few hundred dollars in my pocket and a used sewing machine and growing it into a company that has impacted many lives.

How do you think you are different from your competitors?
We always focus on getting better, not bigger, and believe it’s all about quality over quantity—that means for our products, and who we support when it comes to providing scholarships.

What do your customers/community say about your business that makes you happy?
I’m always happy when people are excited about the product itself, and are impressed when they learn we make our products locally and also help provide scholarships.


Where can people go to support your business?
Online! We primarily operate entirely online now so is a great place to start.

What are your plans for the future?
The plan is to continue focusing on building things that are valuable to the world and making a positive impact.


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