Industries across the whole spectrum of the economy are struggling to reconvert to tackle an urgent issue that concerns us all: climate change. Evidence shows that we need to take action, and we need to do it fast. And the thing is, it’s not just about putting pressure on governments or institutions: we can and must do it ourselves, today, by fostering and contributing to the development of those innovative ideas that can and will make a difference.
A company has stood out as an example of how the fashion industry can explore new paradigms to become much more sustainable, inspiring consumers to buy, use, and sell clothes in a more conscious manner. We are talking about Vopero, the local Uruguayan startup that promotes circular fashion and was founded as recently as 2020. Since then, Vopero has been growing at a fast and steady pace, and we take special pride in being part of the taking off of this promising and inspiring new company.
Less than a year after launching, Vopero has already incorporated more than 3,000 sellers - including designers, stores, and fashion brands - and processed more than 80,000 products, with a customer return rate of 70%. An excellent round of funding has gotten Vopero strategic investments from Grupo Axo and ThredUp for US$ 7,5 million -a significant amount for a local startup- that will boost the expansion of their business horizons.
Partnering with Vopero has given us at Eagerworks a chance to play an important role in the rapid success of a business that has taken note of the rising concerns on the future of our planet, and has decided to take action. Our team of developers has offered all its energy and skills to develop a platform that has positioned a local company at the vanguard of a much-needed transformation. Putting all our technical expertise at the service of the local industry and bringing cutting-edge skills, technology, and resources to enhance the power of an ingenious and promising idea, has been a super rewarding experience.
But let’s back off a little. Why the fashion industry? What can possibly be wrong with our genuine desire for brand new, shiny, fashionable clothes and shoes? Well, as it turns out, fashion has been pointed out as one of the most damaging industries to the environment - and therefore, in its current shape, a threat to the health of our planet.
The dominating paradigm in today’s fashion industry is usually referred to as “fast fashion”. In a few words, fast fashion is the model based on the mass production of cheap clothes, shoes, or accessories that reproduce high-fashion trends or celebrity culture. In the past decades, more and more people have been encouraged to run behind the trends and constantly buy new clothes to be up to date with them; more recently, social media and influencer culture have contributed to intensifying this ever-changing consumer demand that fuels the fast fashion industry. These dynamics have also raised pressure on suppliers to provide huge quantities of clothes as cheaply and quickly as possible, which has caused working conditions to become increasingly poor and dangerous.
This fever of endless production, consumption, and disposal of clothes comes at a huge cost for the environment. The fast fashion industry is a major water consumer. The amount of water required by the sector, as a result of dyeing and textile treatment, represents around 20% of the industrial water pollution. But water is only a fraction of the damage caused to the environment by the fast fashion industry. Pesticides and insecticides used for cotton production, huge amounts of textile waste from clothes that are discarded after being used only a few times, synthetic fibers made from fossil fuels that account for 15% of the world’s use of plastic… All these added together make for a very heavy carbon footprint: today, the industry is responsible for more than 10% of global carbon emissions - and if things keep on going the way they are today, that number is likely to keep rising.
This is where the circular fashion model kicks in. As a reaction to the devastating consequences of a toxic landscape of constantly new and constantly discarded clothes, this model aims at revolutionizing fashion, by promoting a 180-degree turn within the industry. Its main goal is that clothes, shoes, and other accessories circulate in society for as long as possible. This way, circular fashion is trying to turn the industry from the frantic, hazardous business it has been until today, to a sustainable, environmentally friendly one.
Wide recognition of the damages the industry causes to the environment has driven a significant shift not only in how clothes are produced but also in how people consume them. For years now, a tendency to shop more consciously in search of alternatives to the fast fashion model has been reshaping the way many people around the world buy and use clothes and fashion goods. In this spirit, Vopero’s proposal is to provide customers and sellers with an innovative platform that allows them to buy and sell clothes that are as good as new in a safe and sustainable way, and within a 100% digital environment. Vopero offers its users the opportunity to change their consumption habits, bringing recycled fashion to those that are seeking to gain access to trendy, affordable clothing, while at the same time doing it in a conscious and sustainable way.
With all this in mind, we were thrilled when the opportunity to develop a partnership with Vopero and help them build their platform arose. The truth is that an innovative company like Vopero checks all the boxes when it comes to what we like to find in our partners. At Eagerworks, we are passionate about contributing to the enrichment of our entrepreneurial environment, by fostering and helping develop the most innovative national projects, with national founders.
We believe the success of a partnership is not only about providing short-term solutions, but it’s mostly about creating strong relationships based on shared values and goals. And this is exactly what we found at Vopero: a company with a business culture and an entrepreneurial spirit that are akin to ours. This kinship between Vopero and Eagerworks made it possible for our team of developers to take their idea, unique in the local market, and treat it as a motivating challenge and as an opportunity to create something new and exciting. For this project, we built an entirely new team from scratch, with the specific required skills and competencies. Led by our CTO Juan Pablo Balarini, they were able to create in record time a complex and solid architecture that can support millions of users. The platform was developed at an extraordinarily fast pace and launched within a period of 4 to 5 months. During this time, our React and Node developers have worked hand in hand with our partners at Vopero, and we can sincerely say that we take pride in what we have accomplished together.
We are pretty certain that this is only the beginning of the road for our partners at Vopero. A proprietary platform with its own infrastructure, along with a strong marketing strategy that includes solid brand identity, a defined mission, and a powerful presence in social media boosted by influencers strategy, ads campaign, and content marketing, have been the foundations of the extraordinary success that they have reached so far.
After successfully developing their model in Uruguay and Mexico, they are now ready to land in two of the other large Latam markets: Brazil and Colombia.
At Eagerworks, we couldn’t be more delighted to be a part of this inspiring path.