We have always loved Elephants! They are such intelligent and sweet creatures. While traveling through SE Asia in the spring of 2015 we finally had our chance to see an elephant in person! There were ads everywhere to go see elephant shows or to ride an elephant, but it didn’t feel right to use these wonderful creatures that way for our entertainment. Whenever we would see them being used as entertainment for tourists in this way, being worked all day long, whipped, and kept chained up, they seemed sad.
Finally we discovered an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai where people could interact with the elephants in their own habitat. They weren’t performing tricks, being ridden, or kept chained up. We decided to visit the sanctuary to have meaningful interaction with the elephants without supporting their mistreatment. It turned out to be so much more than we were expecting! The elephants were all elderly and rescues who used to work for entertainment or for industry. We were able to feed them, walk around with them, and bathe them in the rivers. They truly seemed happy with their new lifestyle and enjoyed the love and attention that they were now receiving at their new home. The experience at the elephant sanctuary left a lasting impression on us and we were so thankful that there are places that truly help the elephants instead of exploiting them for labor and entertainment.
Thai culture is full of colors and happiness. After numerous trips to Thailand we fell in love with vibrancy and patterns. At the same time we couldn’t forget the difference that the elephant sanctuaries were making in the lives of these amazing creatures. That is when the light bulb lit up and we thought, “People back home will love the colorful Thai style of clothing and it gives us a chance to make a difference with helping the elephants.” The elephant sanctuaries rely on visitors and donations to support their rescue elephants. Unfortunately not everyone will have the chance to visit these sanctuaries in person but by purchasing our clothing they are still making a difference through donations. This led to creation of The Elephant Shirt Store where our goal is to enable our customers to make a difference while looking good.