Who are the founders of Genes?
We (Carolina and Juan Miguel) founded Genes in 2020 after getting our bachelor's degree in Business Administration. We studied the same career, however, we have always felt that our personalities and work experience complement each other. All the creative direction is run by Carolina, while the business strategy and financials are on Juan Miguel’s court.
Tell us a little about the team working behind the scenes at Genes?
The two of us, together with Paula who is in charge of Business Development and Expansion, carry out the client-facing work. Then there is the most complex part of the business, the garment production, which we do in two factories that involve more than 30 people, including weavers and administrative staff.
Where is the brand based?
The brand is based in Lima, Peru.
If I had 48hrs in Lima – what should I do?
Peru is well known for its delicious food and a lot of the best restaurants are in Lima, so you should come with an empty stomach. For breakfast “El Pan de la Chola” or “Demo” are both great options, “Canta Rana” or “Isolina” are two of the best places to eat some peruvian dishes, and if you want a drink at night, you can go to “La Cervecería del Valle” to try peruvian beer.
How did you come up with the name for the brand?
Our family started their own knitwear factory more than 20 years ago where we used to spend a lot of time there as kids. While brainstorming names, we thought about what makes us special and the answer was “family”. Since Genes was founded, we work with our aunts who run the factory and became our mentors, our cousins as photographers and also a lot of the weavers, who used to see us run around as kids, are involved in the production of each garment. Genes is all about that.
What makes your knitwear label unique?
The versatility of our pieces. You can dress them up with some fun accessories and cool shoes or be more casual and run some errands, it’s your choice. Our pieces are meant to make you feel good and comfortable whenever you use them and of course, make some heads turn while wearing them. Also, what makes us unique is that we want to change the perception that sustainable fashion is boring, that’s why we tend to use fun patterns and cool silhouettes.
If your brand could dress anybody in the world, who would it be?
Babba Rivera (@babba). She’s a swedish-latina entrepreneur that advocates for a clean and inclusive beauty future and also has an amazing style and wardrobe. We would love to see her wearing Genes sometime.
Tell us what steps the label is taking to make sure the next generation inherits a healthy planet?
We think that sustainability is a strong word and it takes a long process to get there. We are still in that process, however there are certain elements that we do such as a no-waste knitting process in most of our designs, material selection based on environmental impact and education for our audience on the impact of fast fashion.
What fabrics and materials are you using to manufacture your products, and why?
The materials we use to make our garments are natural fibers. We use them because they last longer than most artificial fibers, and they have some features that allow us to deliver a better product to our customers, such as being hypoallergenic in the case of Pima cotton, for example.
What is your favorite piece from your current collection?
The Noelia Top or Agata Dress. Both of them are knitted in pima cotton so they are really soft and there’s also two ways of wearing them so they are really versatile pieces.
What has been your biggest challenge as a business?
Definitely, the biggest challenge has been balancing a business that seeks to move away from the traditional fast fashion model while remaining profitable. One of our main purposes with Genes is to make people aware of the impact of compulsive buying. As a company, it would be much easier to market great discounts at the end of each season or aligned to dates such as Christmas or Black Friday; however, that model is very harmful to the environment. In that sense, we have to sacrifice profitability for a greater purpose and to this day we are still looking for the best way to do it while maintaining Genes as a healthy business.
What are your top 5 tips to anyone launching their own fashion label?
- Identify who your audience is and wants. Everything starts from there
- Seek to meet others who have successfully gone through what you want to do
- Production must run like clockwork. That is a key element to success
- There will always be copycats. If that happens, take it as a compliment because you're probably doing something right
- Don't be afraid to evolve. It's part of the process