When did you know you wanted to become a designer?
Vivi and I actually never dreamt of becoming a designer. ACHIY originated out of the desire to “give back”. Vivi fell in love with the culture, people, and textiles of the Peruvian communities during a Volunteer project back in 2014. She was stunned by the colorful and lively clothes and the fact that every pattern has a special meaning. In 2019 she took the chance and founded ACHIY. Two months ago she convinced me to join and now we (brother & sister) are head over heels for the fashion industry.
What was your previous work experience before launching your brand?
We both come from completely different industries. Vivi worked mostly in marketing while I have a background in sales. However, while it is hard to succeed in a new industry, we believe it is also an advantage to see the mechanisms of the fashion industry from an outsiders’ perspective.
What is your earliest design memory for this brand?
In 2014 Vivi first saw a traditional Peruvian design. The rest is history.
"Our collections are inspired by the life and spirituality of the indigenous people of Peru."
Where do you find inspiration?
Our collections are inspired by the life and spirituality of the indigenous people of Peru – namely the Inca. Hundreds of years ago, textiles were created in complete harmony with Mother Nature, Pachamama. Therefore, all of our artworks consist of 100% alpaca wool. Alpaca agriculture is deeply rooted in the Peruvian history. From the shepherds who breed and care for the alpacas, to the knitters who learn from their parents how to sort, classify, spin and knit the fibres. Alpacas are part of the unique heritage of Peruvian textile art. This is where we take our inspiration from.
What is your favorite part about designing?
The contact with the people of Peru. The life, culture, and spirituality of our friends and producers – the indigenous communities – they are a huge source of inspiration. It is just pure fun developing new products with them.
Do you have a favorite piece that you've designed?
Definitely our spirituality line of cloth. The piece displays full color, enjoyment, and history of Peruvian traditions.
What sets ACHIY apart from the rest?
Fashion with a purpose – Inspired by the spirituality of indigenous people, handmade by true artisans in harmony with Mother Nature.
ACHIY is one big family. We work by the mission to take fashion back to its origins to give indigenous communities (our new "families") the opportunity to make fashion the way it should be - 100% NATURAL, 100% FAIR, 100% UNIQUE, and 100% SPIRITUAL.
"The three core values of our business are humanity, naturalness, and honesty."
What were some hurdles you had to overcome in your business?
We are a social entrepreneurial business. The three core values of our business are humanity, naturalness, and honesty. With these values, it’s hard to survive in the fast fashion industry. I think the biggest hurdle is to be able to tell the story of our brand to our customers. If we achieve that, we are successful. If we are in an online shop environment, where we cannot tell our brand story well, we face tough challenges.
How important is social media to your brand?
It is vital. Especially in times of coronavirus, it is a brilliant channel to get in touch with our existing and potential customers in order to communicate our brand's story..
What do you envision for the future of your brand?
The indigenous origin of our fashion gives each of our handmade artworks a unique story. We started with the country of Peru, the mystical Inca culture and the divinely soft alpaca wool. More countries will follow this year and hopefully within the next years ahead.