We're already familiar with Ian Somerhalder the actor, philanthropist, and environmental campaigner — but what about the green entrepreneur?
The 33-year-old "Vampire Diaries" star recently announced that he and his brother, Bob, have launched Built of Barnwood, a recycled furniture business that uses materials reclaimed from old structures. "Our store opens Monday," he tweeted last weekend. "Very stoked about this. You're going to love this stuff. Unique and recycled."
While the company is still very young, the Somerhalders are definitely throwing a lot of energy into it, with a new physical shop opening up this week in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Initial products include framed wall art and wooden "Ian" crosses, with tables, plaques, and trays coming soon.
As expected, a portion of the proceeds from each sale will benefit Somerhalder's environmental foundation. In a recent interview with MNN, the actor explained why he started his foundation, and how important it is to get youth involved with nature early.
"Each of us could easily list a million challenges facing the planet, but at ISF we believe that one fundamental understanding has the ability to catalyze infinite possibilities," he said. "It's the understanding that we are not separate from nature. Nature is an interdependent being that is expressed through us."
"When young children think about air pollution, they tend to think it's 'out there.' It's not. It's in us, in 'here'. When we dump toxic waste into our rivers, it's essentially dumping waste into our bloodstream. When we ravage forests, we literally deforest our own lungs. Nothing we do is actually outside of us. Imagine a world where youth are raised with this understanding."