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The Birth of a Fashion Brand

Welcome to Inca Merch! Or as we like to think of it, the Inca Merch Project.

Inca Merch was born out of the idea of making logo gear for nonprofit fundraising. The Inca Merch team is actually a group of environmental activists and members of Ruta Verde Sustainability Nonprofit who were asked to develop logo gear so that our supporters could buy it and support us.

This request was met with conflict since we are a sustainability-minded nonprofit and the idea of making more clothes that might be discarded would defeat the purpose of trying to be a Sustainable Development organization. But we decided that with some effort, we could provide our friends with a method to support our cause while helping to set new standards for the fashion industry - more importantly, the fast fashion industry. After some research we found a company - NovaTomato - that makes quality products using materials like recycled polyester while also pushing for fair working conditions with their suppliers and manufacturers. They also are able to provide dropshipping services where they make the future as the order is made and then they send it directly to the customer. This would help reduce the extra shipping that would be required in having mass quantities of product being made and shipped to us, just so they would get shipped again. They also give us the freedom to do all-over printing on the products, meaning we could design products that would be more stylish than just a shirt with a logo printed on it. Something that people would wear more often and be recognized as part of our brand.

The other piece of the puzzle - the Inca part of the project - came up because part of our team is Peruvian or of Indigenous descent. Member of our team have looked for options to better represent our cultures with the clothes we wear. And to our surprise, we could not find other online stores that provided clothing options with Indigenous Latin American designs that were affordable or made with eco-friendly materials.

With this in mind, we got started and built Inca Merch - an Indigenous Owned Fashion Brand that prioritized sustainable choices and helped to make Indigenous Latin American Representation more accessible. We started a new business for it instead of a branch of the nonprofit because we see the potential in the brand to raise more than we need. Instead of holding on to all those funds, the business has the freedom to share those resources with other nonprofits that are doing great work out in the world - with what we like to call the Andean Community Development Fund. We acknowledge that Inca Merch is a representation of Andean Culture, our culture, and in honor of the culture of reciprocity, we want to give back to the world as we take from it. After the brand has been built out, and our projects are up and running sustainably, we hope to see the business transfer its support to other programs, maybe even ran by other individuals. Helping to path the way for new business models with reciprocity in mind. Helping us get a bit closer to a sustainable future. Thank you for reading, and if you bought something thank you for your support! #inca #incamerch #incaculture #sustainability #sustainablebusiness #sustainablebusinessmodel #sustainablefashion #sustainablesmallbusiness #smallbusiness #indigenous #indigenousowned #recycledplastic #novatomato #rutaverde #nonprofit #environment #environmentalist #environmentalactivist #ayni #reciprocity #andes #andeanculture #sustainabledevelopment #sustainabledevelopmentgoals #startup #newbiz #newbusiness #story


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