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UnuDesign

Ethical Chic, a new Brand in Social Entrepreneurship

UNU Design Workshop is a line of luxury garments created by Jamie Boyd, a young entrepreneur from Victoria, Canada. The finalist of TIC Americas 2012, Jamie has successfully blended the uniqueness of indigenous Peruvian handicraft with modern fashion trends to bring forth a new "ethical chic" concept and connect local artisans to the international market.

Jamie first became interested in making a link between the private and social sectors when she was giving entrepreneurship courses to small communities in Peru. The business started in Sol de Sacsayhuaman, an indigenous village in Arequipa, a province in the south of Peru, where Jamie worked with a group of craftspeople to design alpaca coats for stores in Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Victoria. The business uses fair trade and environmentally friendly materials such as alpaca wool, merino wool and organic cotton in order to promote both sustainability and quality.

In an interview, Jamie indicated: "I didn't know if "ethical chic" was a brand concept that would resonate with consumers, I didn't know whether we could produce luxury garments, and I really had no idea whether I could put together fair trade fashion company with the very limited financial resources that were available. We were up against some pretty significant odds when we built the business, but the imperative of crafting solutions to endemic social injustice made us feel like we really had to roll the dice and take the risk."

One of UNU's main goals is to create a sustainable environment and promote market accessibility and financial security for artists from small local communities. The team has been working with local NGOs and municipal governments to make sure that local artisans can build their business skills. UNU was created according to a fair trade, microfranchise model, meaning that it can be applied to various artisan associations.

When asked what advice she would give to young aspiring entrepreneurs, who want to create a wonderful brand but also foster social change, Jamie said: "Make friends. Stay Strong. Dream Big."

Contact Information:
Jamie Boyd: jaimie@unudesigns.com
Telephone number in Peru: +51 54 429598
Telephone number in Canada: 01 (250) 8915144
www.unudesigns.com

 

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