Springtime seems to be when Rapanui goes quiet for a few weeks, followed by some sort of trick up sleeve, party magician moment. And 2014 is no different.
As some of the hardcore in the Rapanui wolfpack may know, this humble clothing company started in a shed with a basic idea – it’s not that people don’t care about sustainability, they just don’t know. So could a brand make a difference to that issue? “Rapanui takes what people need and packages it as what they want”, as someone really clever once said. Couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Fast forward to our first shop, or second, and a little further, and you’ll find us here. Hello. Just breaking ground on our grand designs moment, the Rapanui Factory.
Yep, we’re building our first UK factory. See, most of our stuff starts life in India and gets shipped over. But as we’ve grown, we’ve found we want to do more stuff like experiment with waste recovery, and recycling. And started thinking about how we could reduce waste, or develop new products, or print different ways, react faster and give better customer service. All of which is quite difficult, as when you work with suppliers, they’ve got their own ideas about how to run their businesses… fair enough but for us, we want to change business as usual. We can’t do that by being a usual business.
What would happen if we make a t-shirt that could MICROWAVE itself back into a polymer to be recycled into a new t-shirt, you ask?
We asked that kind of thing too, and many more questions. Now we have the space and facilities to answer those kind of questions. Best of all there’s loads of unexpected positive things that’ve come from it. It’s meant that we can do employment better. Some of you know that we try and improve the quality of life of unemployed young people on the Island through our Social Enterprise project. Well, ‘reshoring’ a lot of our manufacturing stuff helps us do that, the way we want, and creates jobs.
A year ago we blogged a little statement, sort of a vision for where we were going: Towards a circular economy, with better products, better service, better prints, more radical developments. It took a year to get it all together, and now all the chips are in: The factory is the next stage on what we hope will be a game changing journey.
It might not all go smoothly. Some projects will not work out. Yet we may also stumble upon the invention that is the sliced-bread moment of the sustainability world.Either way, get your balloons, party poppers and caterpillar cake ready as there’ll be an opening party soon…
…and we’ve installed a zip line.