After looking at the problem statements, the whole team connected with one specific problem that all of us had experienced. We have all visited other countries and purchased souvenirs with no knowledge of what we could and could not bring home. As it turns out, we are not alone. According to the World Wildlife Seizures Database, “While enforcement agents must seize non-compliant shipments, many of these incidents appear to be the result of ignorance or negligence, not criminal intent.”

What it does

Safe Souvenirs is both a mobile and web app that provides tourists with information on what products are illegal to import into the United States. In addition, it provides tourists with safe to bring home souvenir options from their destination.

How we built it

We approached this problem by gauging what we can create in the two days and how easily we can scale it. We were also very keen on providing not just a proof of concept, but also a prototype. Hence, we decided to do a web app and a mobile app.

An important goal for us was to make sure our product is hyper-focused so anyone seeing our product knows exactly what we are trying to do and that we have a clear direction in how we proceed. So we created a website that had a search engine for major regions of tourists. Once they identified where they wanted to travel, we would provide information on what exactly they should be on the look-out for and good alternatives that practice sustainable sales and harvesting. We paralleled this on the mobile app. Our whole theme was a travel and shopping centric application that targeted the average tourist/family

Challenges we ran into

Picking a problem statement and narrowing our focus, acquiring product data, cataloguing and a highly air conditioned room were some of our team’s challenges.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

As we built Safe Souvenirs, we realized how it addressed the fundamental concern of wildlife trafficking. Globally we know the demand for illegal products has increased, and our product reduces the demand for these products. We are proud of increasing the education of consumers, while also driving business to reputable, sustainable, and responsible merchants abroad.

What we learned

When we became a team and realized each of our specialized skillsets and strengths, we naturally fell into specific roles as we developed our product. We learned communication and flexibility were key as we developed our idea and brought it to life.

What's next for Safe Souvenirs

Our next steps are to finish compiling the product catalog and building a merchant contact database.

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