Virtu Shared Sense

Virtu Shared Sense

Friedrichshain, GermanyBayona, Dominican Republic
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Virtū is a lifestyle brand born in Berlin with the purpose of disrupting the current fast fashion industry model and bringing innovation to the way we produce, deliver and price our garments.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if every garment we bought will empower a life instead of enslave it.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Virtū’ is aim as a response to the social inequality and lack of opportunity created/mantain by low paying jobs that incentive the lack of social traction. We believe that the current industry model is unnecessary and has become another element of the poverty cycle. Our aim is to create partnerships with local producers and provide them with a living wage and a direct benefit of the sell of the goods they produce.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We are innovating in the way we produce, deliver and price our garments in order to create fairly priced and high quality garments that have the power to change lives. 300% salary increase for our producers as a immediate impact Packaging in recycle material Introducing a partnership system which will entitle 50% of the company’s profit to be a social dividend and return to the people and communities behind the production line Creating capacities and contributing to the alleviation of the poverty cycle Introducing traceability to our products, making it possible for people to track the impact of their purchase and be closer to the people that produce their goods Making traditional style garments with an ethical production

Awards

Young Challengers scholarship for the Global Social Business Summit 2015/ Impact Startup for Slush 2015
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Virtu has a multiple social impact, beginning with our 300% salary increase of the industry's minimum, we are empowering people to get out of their urgent needs. Following the product line, we use recycle material to pack our products, impacting a woman's recycling atelier on the way and Moreover, when products are located in our HQ in Germany we aim to hire refugees for the logistics. Finally, we make it possible for daily consumers to have access to ethical products that have the power to save and change lives.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Currently we are empowering the life of a micro atelier that produces for us on an order basis and payes the direct 300% salary increase to those working with our garments. In December 2015 after we launch our Crowdfunding campaign and online shop we will open a model production facility in the border between Dominican Republic and Haiti, the poorest area of the country, for the production of our ethical products and those of the brands that will eventually start producing under our business model. The community behind the production will be monitored and the results of our business model will be shared for replication in other communities around the world.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The creation of empowered communities in the Global South around products being retailed in developed markets will open a new window of possibilities for sustainable development. We believe that the redistribution of wealth it's only possible through a model, that as this one, present a reengineering of the production cost for our goods while taking into account the profitability of the back business. We believe this business model to be replicable around the global south and that ethical production and transparency will be subjects that consumers will increasingly require.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We are starting with a Crowdfunding campaign that will help us to allocate the product in the market and obtain liquidity to secure operations in the first 6-12m. After this, if we don't get an investor in order to scale, as it is the production of goods we can bootstrap the company to assure sustainability.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

No other brand is in the ethical clothing business for business and business casual attires. Interesting brands to observe because of their philosophy and business model are http://www.krochetkids.org/ ; http://projectpieta.com/ ; https://zady.com/
Team

Founding Story

The idea of becoming social entrepreneurs was always in the back of our heads, the question should be, why now and not before. We guess that It’s always easier to keep doing things the same way, it took us a long time in order to find a way in which we could find a suitable platform to turn our dreams into sustainable realities. One day, talking about the lack of options and how expensive ethically produced clothing is, we started doing calculations and decided to build a brand that will have a real social impact and take the fair trade concept to a new standard while providing high quality - affordable products.

Team

Jason Grullón, Chief Empowerment Officer and Co-Founder is a Social Entrepreneur born and bred in the Dominican Republic. He's a former consultant for development aid in I.O. like GIZ, Unicef and UNDP. After his MA in law and business in 2015, he decided to co-create Virtū in order to help in bringing fairness and innovation to the production of garments around the world, starting with his country. He's in charge of corporate vision, social development and market disruption. More: http://jasongrullon.strikingly.com/ Guillaume Vaslin Chief Innovation Officer and Co-Founder is a French-German entrepreneur, born in Paris and now living in Berlin. He's the former founder of eelusion (sold in 2013) and former CEO of The European Magazine (exited in 2015). Guillaume has a double diploma in International Business and a Master's in Digital Communications. He is passionate about design thinking and the web culture. He's in charge of the creative direction, the communication and the go-to-market strategy. More: http://www.aboutguillaume.com/
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Manufacturing, Consumption.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Advocate/Organizer, Consumer, Corporate Staff, Designer, Factory Owner, Researcher, Retail Representative - Specialty Store.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Factory Workers, Supplier - subcontractor, Women, Youth.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Essential Services (i.e. Healthcare and Education), Access to Social Protection Services (i.e. Insurance, Pension, etc.), Accountability, Conscious Consumerism, Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Labor Rights (i.e. Collective Bargaining, etc.), Physical Working Conditions, Transparency.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Capacity Building, Media, Standards.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Hidden from View: Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories are Only Visible to a Select Few, A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being, Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Unite More than Voice: Tap into Community Capital and Collective Resources, Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?

yes

If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

Yes, through transparency we are trying to prove that the conscious and fair production of garments is possible and profitable

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

Dominican Republic's General Attorney's Office in order to bring retail project to jails and teach crafts to inmates.