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Our business model for a future we believe in

We’ve started Carcel in order to have a positive impact on the world through good wages for women in prison, using only the best materials and making quality designs that our customers will want to keep wearing again and again and again. Here’s what we believe in, how we operate in prison and how we set our prices.

We want to empower women in prison to help them provide for their families, obtain a crime-free future, and help them break with the spiral of poverty. We believe that women in prison should be treated fairly in all aspects of employment equal to employment outside of prison. Investing in their future is an investment into a better world. We believe in the power and future of slow fashion and we do not compromise on design, planet or people – why should we?


“We invest in women in prison, in the best materials in the world and in designing beautiful products that can create a new market. The more we sell, the more women we can employ, and the bigger change we can create”, says Veronica D’Souza, CEO and Founder.



How we operate in prison

We have set up our own production inside the women's prison in Cusco, Peru. This means that we are hands on with every step in the production process. We buy the materials, we employ the women and we pay their salaries directly. We do quality control before exporting all the products to Copenhagen where we revise everything again. Our production manager Surya Miranda lives in Cusco and goes to the prison every day to manage our workshop and our team from Copenhagen travels to Peru 4 - 5 times a year to work alongside the women to develop our production and the relationships with each and every one of our employees.


Our direct impact is measured by the number of women employed, the salary they earn and the amount of skills they obtain. We are pioneering a new way of operating a production inside prisons and consult external expert partners to make sure that we are constantly developing and becoming better in creating the best suited model for each production site.


Fair wages

We develop country-specific payment schemes that best fit conditions at hand, in order to ensure that each woman in our production is guaranteed the local living wage of the country we operate in as a minimum, as recommended by the ILO. Depending on her level of competence, responsibility and production quality, every woman has the opportunity to earn benefits on top of her base wage. The recently released Pulse of Fashion Industry Report drawn up by Global Fashion Agenda and the Boston Consulting Group refers to this system as fair living wage management.

The women are recruited freely based on motivation and skills. Due to prison specific activities such as visitor’s hours and other events, our workers have shorter working days of 6 hours interspersed with planned and voluntary breaks. They never work overtime.

We are continuously assessing needs of our workers as well as current systems of working standards and payment levels inside and outside of prison. We benchmark with international standards and are currently developing a Code of Conduct in collaboration with external expert partners to make sure that we and our partners all comply with ethical labour standards. Accordingly, we always negotiate and adapt our way of doing business.


 

How we set our prices

We only invest in the world’s best materials local to the place of production and our prices reflect  the amount of material used and the time spent making it. Furthermore, we have created our season-less business model around eliminating stock and product waste. We sell what we produce and we produce what we sell. Eliminating waste is not only right with the environment, but it’s also cost saving and financially smart.  


The real cost of each piece covers all expenses in the production of an item. This includes materials, fair wages, duties, taxes and fees, transport, packaging and shipment and any operational expense related to running our production site locally in Peru.


We sell predominantly online and most of our sales are direct to consumer. This means that we don’t have to rely on the traditional retail markup of 5-6 times the unit price. Instead we use a mark up of 2.5 - 4 on each item in order to cover the cost of running and building our label from design development, business operations and marketing.

 

Our dream is that the future of fashion entails an industry that empowers its producers, protects the planet and delivers on style, design and cool. Our ambition is clear: We want to prove that it is possible to solve societal problems through building a profitable business.  

We believe in transparency and sustainable change where each sweater solves a problem rather than creating one. Thank you for being part of this change.

 

If you have any questions regarding our model, please contact: carcel@carcel.co



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our business model for a future we believe in Our business model for a future we believe in