Conrad shares how his PS1 education helped set the foundation for his entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and ability to make cross-cultural connections.
Conrad, Class of 2003, recently shared the news of the launch of his first company, Samui Bags. He states, "I am passionate about creating a brand with a strong social component and am excited that Samui incorporates this," adding, "I strongly believe my passion for helping others stems directly from my experience and education from PS1."
We wanted to find out more about how Conrad's entrepreneurial spirit connects with his experience at PS1, so we asked him some questions!
How did your PS1 education help set the foundation for your academic and personal pursuits?
My time at PS1 laid the foundation for who I am today, both personally and professionally. My vision, creativity, problem-solving abilities and confidence was all formed during my time at PS1. I remember writing intricate and beautiful stories about entirely made up worlds as the teachers strongly supported my creative vision and encouraged me to write and think in more detail than I could have alone. This is just one small example of how PS1 instilled in me a foundation of creativity, and confidence to not limit myself. These qualities remain at the heart of who I am, and I rely on this foundation to tell the story of how Samui Bags supports fair wages and ethical working conditions for artisans in rural Thailand.
What are some of the ways PS1 helped inspire you to pursue your interests and passions?
PS1 always encouraged me to genuinely connect with others regardless of gender, race, religion, cultural background or any other differences. During this time, all the students were exposed to stories, poetry and engaged in hands-on projects involving different cultures. These formative years taught me to live with an open heart and to genuinely care for others. This exposure to cultures from around the world has directly influenced my passion for starting a company with a strong social mission. My goal for Samui is to support entrepreneurs and artisans globally and to provide them with a direct sales channel to the United States, which they previously would not have access to. PS1 laid the foundation for caring about others which constantly inspires me to use business as a platform for generating kindness and supporting others.
Tell us more about what you've been up to in recent years and how Samui Bags came about.
After graduating from Occidental College, I visited the Thai island of Koh Samui (which I named the brand after) and saw vendors selling similar, brightly colored bags. My partner, Alexandra, bought one for herself and when we came back all of her friends loved it and wanted one for themselves! A light bulb went off, and I started searching for a fair trade manufacturer right away. My career has been focused on marketing and community outreach for companies that contain a social mission, and I am applying everything I learned from my current and previous jobs to garner more traction and outreach for Samui Bags.
To learn more, visit www.samuibags.com