In late 2015, Jake stood on a near empty beach in Bali watching a local man carve and polish souvenirs out of discarded coconut shells. Jake was inspired by the coconut shells, naturally shaped like a bowl, no plastic needed.
Australian digital nomad Jake McKeon was ending 6 incredible months of round the world surf backpacking. Among the trinkets and memories of a fulfilling adventure was the bitter understanding of how enormous and global the issue of plastic pollution had become. His travels had put Jake in the path of plastic. He saw it piled on the beaches of Central America, down the coast of Southern California and as set in the scenery of Europe as the historic culture he’d travelled there to experience.
Back in Bali and talking to the local artisan crafting the coconut shells, Jake asked if the same crafting technique could be applied to turn them into bowls that people could eat from? The answer was yes. Jake had 100 made, packed them into his surfboard bag and returned to Australia confident that his friends and family would like some “Coconut Bowls”.
Back home Jake kept his tropical travel memories alive by serving up healthy smoothies in Coconut Bowls each morning. They looked so good he had to share them on Instagram. Soon Jake and friends were sharing breakfast every morning, people saw them, wanted to buy them and within a month Jake had no more Coconut Bowls.
After 3 more trips to Bali, sourcing coconut shells, working with local artisans and returning home with growing demand, Jake had a realisation. The coconut shell was so much more than a bowl, it was the best example he’d seen of closed-loop sustainability. As a young entrepreneur Jake did his research. It showed that billions of shells were going to waste every year as a bi-product of the coconut industry. If he could take this natural shell, give it a purpose that replaced the need for plastic bowls and then compost it back into the earth at the end of its life, then a beautiful and sustainable loop would be created.
Inspired by the opportunity to reduce single use plastics, source sustainable coconut shells and provide jobs for local artisans and farmers - Coconut Bowls was born.