We recently had a visit.
Since Ljubljana is this year’s European Green Capital, BMW Group Slovenija organised a trip to showcase some sustainable business cases.
Kaaita was one of those selected.
It is of course an honour and we were glad to host the event.
But to be honest, I was wondering why the organisers picked us, among so many other small, creative, sustainable makers, in the first place.
Thinking about it, I finally found a profound reason. It must be because I am the only red-head running a company :)
Ok, another reason I found is that, for more than a decade now, Kaaita has been quite good at understanding tomorrow’s new luxury consumers and acting so as to satisfy their needs.
What has the new luxury got to do with sustainability, you might ask?
If today’s luxury is about real estate, diamonds, gold, antiques, even cars, then tomorrow’s luxury consumers will put a value on less tangible lifestyle assets such as time, health and valuable data. They are becoming more and more valued in modern society because it is these that are becoming scarcer and scarcer.
And as we all know, luxury was and always will be related to scarcity.
It is quite funny, but most of those assets can be achieved with a mindset that prefers the small, simple and sustainable.
The businesses so brilliantly included on the organisers’ itinerary reflect just that.
They are more or less small, source locally, encourage us to use less, but better… Starting with Hotel Park, producing urban honey on its own roof; using fewer cars with the help of a fully electrical car sharing system; experiencing Bine’s zero-waste cuisine at Monstera; tasting the smallest potica called Le potica, or getting familiar with Lumar's i edition house which supports the use of many digital applications to help us simplify our lives.
All of these cases are actually a modern play of less but better.
That’s pretty much the same as with Kaaita. We have set up some guidelines that help us walk our talk.
This Bigabaga bags were made from test print leftovers we got from the Beletrina Publishing house.
MINIMISING THE PHYSICAL AND MAXIMISING THE DIGITAL
As you’ve probably noticed, we are running our manufacture from a very small studio. We’ve just adopted a strategic decision whereby we will operate as a virtual manufacturer, minimising the physical and maximising the digital by using innovative technologies that enable us to scale.
The production and dispatching occurs at our local craftsmen’s places. This means we are already using facilities and equipment that exist rather than building and buying new ones. One of our craftsmen, for example, is a former sewer from the very well-known factory Rašica that went bankrupt a few years ago. She bought excellent equipment from the factory and now operates on her own. Our other two suppliers are manufacturers with a tradition lasting more than 70 years.
USING LESS AND PRODUCING MORE
It is both a goal and great fun to run a business that is disrupting the usual way products are designed, produced or used by customers.
Just to name a few examples:
1) Bigabaga is a paper bag that can be put together from waste or recycled paper without glue. It folds together like origami. On the other hand, the Copa Copa slippers are sewn together from the fewest possible elements. The light version, for example, is sewn together using only one piece of felt.
2) Our products are designed to rise above all seasons and fashion trends. It is such a good feeling being outside that fashion race. I just can’t imagine producing new collections every 3 months and having this urgent need to get rid of the old collection. I find us much more in line with the famous Henry Ford saying from 1909: “A customer can have a car painted in any colour he wants so long as it is black”. It is just that we do it from different motive.
3) The slippers and some of our bags are made from felt matted from recycled plastic bottles. We have a system in place to take the used ones back and recycle them with other waste felt to create a fuel that is then used in the industry.
4) Each and every Kaaita product is an invitation to a sustainable lifestyle, for example, the Torbuschka, a set of 3 bags in 1, is a grocery bag that is a smart alternative to the plastic bags used at supermarkets. Or, for instance, our Laundry bag encourages the use of public laundries, to name just two.
MINIMISING MANIPULATION AND MAXIMISING EMPOWERMENT
And, last but not least. We respect our target audience and do whatever we can to empower and inspire their lives with our work, products and communications. It is the best way to say thanks, since they are our fountain of inspiration too.
Photos: Anže Vrabl