How Cuyana's Karla Gallardo is teaching Americans to buy 'fewer, better things'

How Cuyana's Karla Gallardo is teaching Americans to buy 'fewer, better things'

6/10/2021 9:15:00 PM

How Cuyana's Karla Gallardo is teaching Americans to buy 'fewer, better things'

She created a luxury fashion brand after realizing how differently people shopped back home in Ecuador.

I left my banking job and went to business school because I very consciously realized I know a lot about how to put a corporate bond on the market, but I don't know how to start a business. I moved to California to go to Stanford, which is where I got my MBA.

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The product that started it all was the Panama hat. It's a hat that's produced in Ecuador. They’re woven by women with straw that's very particular to the region, but a lot of that story wasn't being told. As a proud Ecuadorian, I thought, this is the perfect product to start with.

Cuyana's very first product was the Panama hat, which is handmade with Ecuadorian Toquilla straw.CuyanaFast-forward 10 years and Cuyana is a popular brand known for affordable luxury apparel and accessories. Then the pandemic happened. How did that affect your company?

It was tough. Retail closed, so the physical component of our brand was gone. There was a lot of uncertainty, so consumers in general were spending less. Our customer started to go back to buying apparel, so that became the driver of growth of our business, when the majority of our business has always been accessories, so that was a dramatic change.

We benefit from having a fast supply chain that allows us to make changes so we aren't stuck with unwanted products. We worked with our suppliers and we were able to adapt. But our business model drastically changed. We refocused our strategy to pause on retail and push harder on digital, and went from a focus on accessories to a focus on apparel.

I know Cuyana is all about the essentials. But has the definition of essentials changed during the pandemic?If anything, consumers in the past year have become evenmoreintentional in their shopping, so our brand is more relevant than ever, which is a great thing. When it comes to our product offering, yes, as we are in our homes more now; we need new essentials. For example, the bag: Our days used to be leaving in the morning and coming back in the evening, so our bags needed to hold so many things. During COVID, our most popular bags are the micro bags — they’re smaller, they’re more functional. So the type of product has changed.

The company is perhaps best known for its simple leather bags. This is the Mini Double Loop Bag, out in May.CuyanaDo you think the pandemic will have a lasting effect on the fashion industry?I do think there will be a permanent change to how we approach apparel. The need for loungewear and these more comfortable home apparel pieces has really pushed designers to think harder about making better, more comfortable clothing for women that looks great. That challenge is a positive one for the future. There will be more comfortable, great-looking clothing for women — that will be a longer-lasting change. Clothes don't need to be sporty to be comfortable.

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And buy them from her, right? Okay. Terribly tone deaf. The rich and privileged can afford to buy better. There is a reason Walmart carries $5 tee shirts. But by all means teach Americans to be better, like Ecuadorians, who all spend $200 a shirt, said no one who had ever actually been to Ecuador. Thank God for bringing bitcoin to man,it has being a great source of blessing to all of man kind who have passion for bitcoin trading. Now the poor are getting rich over night and the rich getting richer. Jonas_claw_ thank you for your proper management .

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JoJo Siwa Has Made The Difficult Decision to Wear Fewer Hair BowsSiwa assured her fan base that the giant bows will still be part of her identity. Poor girl. She's about to be an adult or she is one. This is prison. And an obnoxious request. But the money pays good right? For the love of money. Wearing a fucking bow, for OTHERS enjoyment. oh thank God, I've been worrying about this the last couple months She’s what 18? Anyone actually upset needs to chill let her grow up and do what she wants.