The Journey of Paka Apparel: From Peruvian Roots to Global Vision

The Journey of Paka Apparel

Founded in Peru, Paka Apparel is an ethical brand with a clear and compelling mission – to craft natural, all-purpose clothing tailored to the needs of outdoor enthusiasts.

Embracing innovation, the company utilizes the unique properties of alpaca fiber and other sustainable materials, striving to provide consumers with healthier, eco-friendly options that foster a deeper connection to the natural world.

Paka Apparel’s commitment to sustainability is at the core of their ethos. By carefully selecting materials and manufacturing processes, they aim to not only enhance the outdoor experience but also promote conscious consumer choices that contribute to a greener planet.

With each garment, customers have the opportunity to embrace a more environmentally responsible lifestyle, making a positive impact on the global community.

Beyond their focus on eco-consciousness, Paka Apparel takes pride in their dedication to supporting local communities. By sourcing materials from the regions they serve, the brand ensures that their products directly contribute to the betterment of the communities they originate from.

Below is an interview with Kris Cody, founder and CEO of Paka Apparel

What was the Lightbulb Moment and Origin Story of Paka Apparel?

Kris: Back in 2015 I was on a gap year in South America where I purchased a handwoven alpaca sweater from a Peruvian grandmother.

I was fascinated by how one of the most sustainable fibers on Earth had developed through thousands of years of evolution in such a dynamic and rugged climate.

I kept the sweater close while traveling throughout South America, using it as a pillow on overnight bus trips and wearing it through the fluctuating temperatures of deserts, beaches, and jungles.

Back in the US, where I was studying neuroscience at the University of Virginia everyone was curious what I was wearing. I flew back down to Peru and found the same grandmother.

At that point there wasn’t a plan to build this business but a deep curiosity around this fabric and fiber. I ended up living with her son-in-law and building out what became the beginning of Paka Apparel.

What is the Mission and Vision of Paka Apparel?

Kris: Founded in Peru, our mission is to create natural, all-purpose clothing for people who love the outdoors.

We’re doing this by innovating with alpaca fiber and other materials that are healthier for people and the planet so that consumers can connect to our natural world, make more conscious choices, and support the communities where our products come from.

Our vision is bring alpaca fiber – a natural and sustainable fiber – to the outdoor industry. It doesn’t make sense that an industry with such a deep appreciation for nature would be so heavily saturated with oil and chemicals in apparel.

How Does Paka Apparel Impact Lives and/or the Environment in a Positive Way?

Kris: We’re really proud to be a B-Corp employing 150+ Peruvian artisans. We were recently awarded Best For The World™ 2022 for the second year in a row.

Now I’m super focused on harnessing the natural technology of alpaca fiber to become a leader in functional apparel and change the industry’s dependence on unsustainable petroleum-based materials.

Not only is alpaca fiber sustainable as a natural fiber, it’s inherently sustainable by nature of the animals and the relationship small scale agriculture has with the land in Peru.

Though our partnership with AIA, 1% of sales support regenerative agriculture and alpaca families. Another 1% funds the education of Peruvian young women through Peruvian Hearts.

How Have you Funded the Company Thus Far?

Kris: We’ve been bootstrap since the beginning, I’m actually in the midst of our first ever investment right now.

Paka started out of my college bank account. I put my studies on hold when I launched the Kickstarter in 2017 that exceeded Paka’s goal of $20,000 in under 24 hours and eventually raised over $350,000 in 30 days with no paid advertisement.

What Tools Do You Use to Run Paka Apparel?

Kris: We use Shopify, Slack, Klayvio, and Gorgias.. just to name a few!

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