Remu was born in November 2017 when the three of us, Jose, Felipe and Juan Xavier decided to take the jump and start our own business. We were brought together by our passion for nature, so our initial idea was for Remu to be an outdoor apparel company. We aimed to design technical gear, produce it in China and sell it through an e-commerce platform worldwide. We wanted to include an environmentally responsible element to our brand so we planned to plant a tree in the Ecuadorian Amazon for every product sold. The name Remu followed on from this intention. Remu means tree in Shuar, a language spoken by some Ecuadorian indigenous communities.
As a pilot, we placed an order for twenty travel hammocks back then. As we were waiting for the delivery to arrive, we realized that we had no idea where our products were being produced, who was producing them, under what conditions and with what kind of materials. We wanted to create and own a transparent company. One which would allow us to be accountable for the quality of our products and the working conditions of the people throughout all of our supply chain.
And so, we decided to start from scratch. We looked into ways to have more control over all elements of production. Through this research, we learned about all the waste generated by the fashion industry, both of textiles and natural resources. We also became aware of the horrific working conditions garment workers face worldwide and the fact that they are mostly underpaid. We saw an opportunity to change things for good and seized it.
We kicked off the restructuring process in January 2018. The only thing we knew at the time was that we wanted to be an environmentally and socially responsible company. We wanted to have a positive effect in Ecuador and that led to the decision to manufacture our products locally.
We started looking for product ideas that would allow our production to align with our values in Ecuador. One fateful day, while in class and not really paying attention, Jose looked down and noticed a huge hole in his jeans. He was frustrated. This happened on a regular basis and it meant throwing his pants away. When he looked up, he realized the girl sitting in front was wearing a denim jacket. It had different patterns and a very specific structure. Everything just clicked.
We agreed to make denim jackets out of upcycled jeans, helping solve the huge problem of textile waste in the world. The question now, was how to get started? We were aware of the extremely harsh realities workers face in the textile industry, so we wanted to create a more inclusive and fair working environment. We also knew gender inequality is a big issue within this industry and we needed to empower women with our venture. So we decided to have communities of women in marginal areas of our country manufacture our products and help us transform stories into timeless products.
We began trialing prototypes to see if this idea could be turned into a reality.
After months of developing our jackets we finally had a design we were happy with; one that was not just stylish but one we were sure reduced production waste and empowered the women producing it.
In the summer of 2018 we launched a Kickstarter campaign to kickstart our project and get everything going. 24 hours after launching the campaign was fully funded and ended up reaching 400% of our initial goal.
In April 2019 we were chosen amongst a number of candidates to join IMPAQTO Lab, a startup incubator in Ecuador and one of the best in South America. While we were in the program we realized the material we used for lining our jackets, while beautiful, was not made of sustainable materials in line with our production objectives. We were sourcing the lining for our jackets from local artisanal markets where the lining was labeled as alpaca or wool, but in reality it was made of acrylic fibers. We stopped production immediately and started looking for new direct suppliers to partner with. We now work with Andes Materials, Kun Ecofibers, and Hilana; Ecuadorian companies that share the same principles we do.
We re-started our production and have been developing our newest line of fully sustainable products, which will launch at FORUM in November 2019.
As we have grown and evolved, we have developed a few core beliefs. We believe the fashion industry needs to change and we believe it can to do so immediately. We believe we can become the best sustainable outerwear brand that we can be. We believe the social and environmental crisis we face, need to address and reverse how businesses are run. We believe profitability can still be achieved running businesses responsibly. And we believe that we can all play a role in living sustainably.