There aren’t many companies out there like GoSun, and one genuinely means that. Their catalog of quality sustainability and environmentally friendly products could only be matched by the endearing eccentricity of GoSun’s founder, Patrick Sherwin. Sherwin, a solar energy expert, founded GoSun after realizing he could use the power of the sun to heat a hotdog in a spare vacuum tube he had sitting around.
Since launching their solar dogger in 2016 - they’ve launched an array of products ranging from kitchenware to water filters. Today I sit down with Sherwin over GChat to talk about GoSun’s biggest campaign to date, their solar powered cooler - the Chillest.
Stacy Bradford: I love the Chillest, because like you I have a big problem with ice. But before we get to that - tell us a little about GoSun and the founding of the company.
Patrick Sherwin: GoSun creates innovative products that encourage fun, resilience and independence. We are passionate about our products and how they power our customers’ lives. Founded in a small suburban garage in Cincinnati, Ohio, we grew quickly thanks to our community of committed customers and shareholders, who not only believe in our products, but also use them to bring people together.
SB: Describe GoSun’s business model.
PS: Although GoSun is still a small entrepreneurial business, we believe we should all do what we can, when we can. Since our inception, we've worked with dozens of nonprofit organizations to provide discounted solar cookers and other solar products to those that need them most.
SB: Are a portion of the funds going to a charitable organization? If so - where?
PS: GoSun has provided funding to support the efforts of the California Fire Foundation, The Houston Food Bank, Global Giving, and Operation BBQ Relief. We have made donations to The American Red Cross and World Central Kitchen to assist in Hurricane Florence relief efforts and to the California Community Wildfire Relief Fund. We provided 1,500 solar cookers to the American Red Cross to assist with relief efforts due to Typhoon Yutu. We also donate money to Trees for the Future every year to help combat climate change. So far, we've helped plant over 50,000 trees.
SB: Describe any partnerships that contribute back to the greater good.
PS: In addition to the previously mentioned partnerships and donations - GoSun has shipped products to over 70 countries throughout the world to all continents. We have donated over 1,000 units for the advancement of solar education. Plus, GoSun has provided over 2,500 units at substantial discount to NGO's throughout the U.S and the World.
SB: Alright, let’s begin to lean into the Chillest. Earlier I mentioned I don’t like ice. That’s because it gives me separation anxiety when it melts. Let me ask you this: what’s your beef with ice?
PS: Ice sucks. It melts, makes a mess, takes up space, adds weight, and requires constant replenishing.
SB: And without any further ado - tell me a little about the Chillest. What is it?
PS: The Chillest is the ultimate portable fridge. The Chillest cools food and drinks with electricity from 12V, AC, or solar.
SB: I see. So how is the Chillest different from the Chill?
PS: Chillest has two separate compartments so you can use one for freezing one for cooling. It has an integrated table and an optional umbrella. These are features that weren’t available with the Chill.
SB: What are the environmental benefits of the Chillest?
PS: Given that it's solar powered - the most immediate benefits should be self-evident given that the most environmentally flattering use case uses no outside power to cool or freeze.
SB: Does the Chillest have any third party certifications?
PS: The Chillest is UL and CE certified.
SB: Let’s pivot a little bit - where are the materials for the Chillest sourced as well as where is it manufactured?
PS: All materials are sourced in, its factory are the product of China.
SB: Have you personally toured the space?
PS: Yes, several times - we own 10% of the factory.
SB: Oh, good for you guys! Tell me more about the working conditions.
PS: Excellent. We insist on excellent conditions, and safety precautions, fans, safety goggles, gloves, good lighting, etc.
SB: Does the factory adhere to international labour standards?
PS: Yes. We pay higher than average wages as well as offer perks.
SB: That’s great to hear. So once each Chillest has been produced - what shipping provider will GoSun be using to fulfill your backers?
PS: GoSun trusts UPS and FedEx for all fulfillment around the Chillest campaign.
SB: Will the Chillest’s carbon footprint due to shipping be offset as well?
PS: Indirectly; we plant thousands of trees each year and anticipate our efforts going a long way to offset our carbon footprint.
SB: All of that is great to hear. When are you anticipating fulfillment of the Chillest to begin?
PS: October, 2021
SB: Now that we’re kind of wrapping up here - do you have any advice out there for other entrepreneurs out there looking into getting into the energy, green tech, sustainability space?
PS: People and the world need sustainable products. My advice is to build your community, build your internal email list prior to a campaign, and know your costs and timeline before you set upon a product (it always costs more and takes longer!)
SB: Patrick, thank you so much for your time today.
PS: You’re absolutely welcome. Thank you.