Estrafalario, sustainable fashion brand: “Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world”

16 Sep

We present Estrafalario, one of the eight social businesses selected for the Due Diligence stage of the Entrepreneurial Fund. 

At this stage, the Entrepreneurial Fund team develops a business plan and a financing scheme together with each finalist company, and then submit this information to the evaluation of an Investment Committee, which will ultimately define the formation of the first portfolio of social businesses of the Wiese Foundation Entrepreneurial Fund. 

What is Estrafalario?

Estrafalario is an urban fashion brand that offers clothing and accessories of versatile and original designs. This brand is aimed at women who are economically active and, unlike its competition, Estrafalario offers its consumers the possibility of generating, through their purchase, a social and environmental impact. 

Estrafalario works by empowering women in the Anexo Chorrillos prison, offering them decent work and training the teenage mothers of INABIF. It also seeks to extend the useful life and uses of the garments that it manufactures, making versatile designs, generating a circular economy, recycling and/or using organic fabrics and offering a fair payment to its tailoring service providers.

Under these ideals Valery Zevallos works, founder of Estrafalario, who tells us details of the company and the work she does to be a reference for sustainable fashion in Peru. 

Constitution of Estrafalario as a social business

Valery Zevallos tells us that she launched her clothing brand in 2010, convinced that she wanted to devote herself to fashion design. However, it wasn’t until 2015 when she becomes aware of the importance of sustainable fashion; this happened after attending an event, where it was shown that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world and that parallel to it, in Peru there are alarming rates of abuse and violence against women. Thus, she decided to contribute to the solution of both problems through her company. The current business model of Estrafalario seeks to generate a social and environmental impact, financially helping women in vulnerable situations and reducing the generation of waste from the clothing it makes.

Social and environmental objectives

Estrafalario works with sustainable inputs such as natural organic fibers and with recycled products. For example, the lycra of its swimsuits are ECONYL, a regenerated product and 100% sustainable. In social terms, Valery Zevallos explains that, as Estrafalario is growing, its work network is also growing, consisting of prisoners of the Anexo Chorrillos prison that are part of its production chain. She also explains her intention to make the INABIF pilot program scalable so that it is enabled throughout the country, providing teenage mothers with a work tool they will need when they turn 18. 

Financial sustainability

Valery Zevallos says that the main objective of Estrafalario is to continue positioning itself in the country’s shopping centers. It has started at Jockey Plaza, and is evaluating having other strategic points of sale that allow it to expand its commercial channels. “When we get to have more points of sale, we will have more production and so we will help our beneficiaries,” she says.

The leader of the endeavor states that Estrafalario has grown by 83% compared to last year. However, they can not put more sales modules because they do not have a working capital that allows them to support 2 stores in parallel.

First allies

Valery recalls as first allies to INPE and INABIF, which have allowed her to impact the lives of these vulnerable women. She also talks about Kunan, an annual contest that rewards social endeavors, where she was among the 10 finalists. She mentions that when she started working with INABIF and the Anexo Chorrillos prison, she did not know that she was leading the emergence of a social business; and that only after answering all questions of the mentioned contest, she could recognize herself as such and begin to measure her impacts.

Challenges

Valery believes that her main challenge is to properly address administrative and operational issues, because the more the company grows, the more expenses start to be generated. “We, with the social program of INABIF, must pay the teachers and people who train the young mothers of the Program, and it is difficult to subsidize it, because they still do not produce,” she tells us.

Wiese Foundation Entrepreneurial Fund

Valery tells us that thanks to the Wiese Foundation Entrepreneurial Fund, she is learning to schematize and visualize the weak areas of her company. “As part of the Entrepreneurial Fund we want to make that leap and have a well structured company (…). I like to think about 3-year goals, because that is something we never did and we have loved it,” she says.

She also says that she wants the Due Diligence stage of the Entrepreneurial Fund to help her grow her Social Program, since that is the heart of the brand. “We want to position ourselves as the first fashion brand in Peru with a socio-environmental impact,” she says. Learn more about Estrafalario, its products and its purpose at https://estrafalario.juntoz.com/ or https://www.instagram.com/estrafalario.pe/