Evea eco-fashion is another Peruvian social enterprise dedicated to sustainable fashion in shoemaking. The heart of Evea's mission is to take care of the Amazon rainforest's biodiversity and conservation as well as the local families.
Initiated in 2015, one of the main ideas of Evea is to protect the forests and decrease the illegal logging in Amazon. Cristian Gutierrez, Co-Founder and Marketing Manager for Evea, introduced that 150,000 acres of forests are experiencing deforestation per year.
Another important philosophy about Evea is sustainable fashion. Fashion nowadays is heavily influenced by consumerism, massive production, and pollution. In this sense, Evea is born with the philosophy of an alternative choice for fashion these days.
Research & Technology
A significant part of Evea before its start selling is to do research in the Amazon rainforest. The founder team developed a way to get wild latex collected from the trees without depredating the forest. The tree Evea chooses to get latex from is called shiringa or rubber tree that grows in the Amazon rainforest. In the past time, the rubber trees were cut down and chopped into pieces to get the latex which will ruin the whole tree from growing again.
For Evea, the company works with the local communities to collect the latex from inside making small holes in the bark and extracting the latex so that the tree can continue alive and regenerate. This process is called the Artisan Process, according to Cristian.
From April to November, the production line will go on until December for trees to recover from the collection. Moreover, there are two ways of processing and making products in Evea: for one, the company use a chemical formula to strengthen the latex liquid on a table and waited to become rubber sheets; for two, Evea designed and developed its own machine to speed up the efficiency of turning latex into rubber sheets. This machine is unique in Peru. An estimated 300 pairs of shoes can be made for three weeks.
Business Model & Targeting Customers
According to Cristian, the founder, that 50% of cost is during the production process. Evea will pay to the local community, worker and every segment that involved the production of the shoes. There are two groups of people that Evea is targeting currently as their potential customers, one is the social activists who care about the environment and another is the vegan group who only buy products that don’t involve animal tests or hurt animals. Under this strategy, 30% of products are selling online through their websites and 70% of products are selling in different stores in Peru.
Now, Evea can sell 25 to 60 shoes per month. The company didn’t become profitable until last year. Rubber is complimentary income for the local people with 100 trees to generate 440 dollars profit for a month, based on Cristian’s information.
“In the future, we want to use B2B (Business to Business) option to appeal more B2C (Business to Consumer) option,” said Cristian. Furthermore, Evea wants to export to European countries like Germany and Finland in the future since people there will be more embraced by the ideology of using ecological fashion products.
Impact & Challenges
Deforestation happens under the situation of extreme poverty and lack of fair trade. Many local families in Amazon used to be appealed by quick money from the illegal logging employer and therefore cut off the trees without any consideration of conservation. Evea comes in and builds up the idea of ”strategic fencing” to have as many families as possible to join the business. This idea also forms an association in the family for Evea to get latex. In this way, fewer communities would be lured by the illegal logging industry.
The empowerment of families and fair trade helps 17 families in Northern Peru Amazonas area to increase their income. The goal is to help 132 families by 2030, said Cristian. However, the challenges that Evea also exist. As a business, Evea faces the challenges from other competitors like yucca and pineapple. Many local communities will choose to plant this two food as one of their major income sources.
Also, Cristian also committed that their packaging needs to be improved. Currently, Evea is not adopting a sustainable and recyclable packaging at full scale.