Day 2: A note to my mentors: More, bigger, faster is not always better…

Day 2: A note to my mentors: More, bigger, faster is not always better…

As part of our KUSIKUY re-launch I am working with volunteer mentors from Valley Venture Mentors – a venture capitalist founded NGO that supports entrepreneurship development in the pioneer valley and beyond.  Here’s a note I sent to my mentors a month ago when I was first strategizing this re-launch  It was largely authored by NYC eco-fashion designer, Caroline Priebe, a long time client of ours (KUSIKUY) for production, and the Head Designer selected for this re-launch.  It brought up interesting ways in which to envision a re-launch, goals, and measurements of success.  We will be working together, meeting monthly for 4 months…

To give a clear understanding what KUSIKUY does and stands for, my designer and long term production client, Caroline Priebe, put it very well.  We are also in need of funding and are thinking of ways to reach out to folks for investment.  Let me know what you think…

“The value of my resources are my time, energy, money, the knitters, the yarn and access to designers that work in the market I would like to get in to. Just to clarify, there is no eco-market, there is market where good design in produced in different ways. Good design is the key.

I need a mentor/investor who gets that. More, bigger, faster is not always better. The investor must understand that mass and larger is not the trend or ultimately a sustainable business model. Companies like Gap, J Crew and Barneys (due to the new owners’ Wall Street model) are hurting and not the future.  This does not mean that KUSKUY will not grow and be profitable, it will.  It means that growth is part of the model and needs to be balanced with thoughtful development.  This KUSIKUY does well.

Niche design companies like Rachel Comey, Mara Hoffman, Ulla Johnson, Lauren Manoogian have been around, sustained recessions and are on the rise. 

Companies like Alabama Chanin,, Kaufmann Mercantile, Not Just a Label and Hackwith Design are the business model pioneers to name a few.

My designer’s friend Emma who owns Fait La force out of Haiti, has an investor who said, “I like what you are doing in Haiti, you are teaching people skills and providing jobs, you have good taste, you are professional, how can I help you?” 

For investors, this is not charity, it’s using money to support a business whose work they believe in without traditional growth expectations and demands. Traditional capitalism (with quarterly growth demands) discriminates against the artisan/craftsperson and rewards mediocrity.  

KUSIKUY is not mediocre.  We provide the best fashion, highest quality functional design, and create sustainable, meaningful change for hundreds of Andean artisans and herders.

The image above are the concept boards for our new re-launch.  Please respect the (c) on our ideas.  

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