Our business model for a future we believe in

We’ve started Carcel in order to have a positive impact on the world through fair 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 in order 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 them, their futures, is an investment into a better world. We believe in the power and future of slow fashion, the traditions of native craftsmanship 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.


We have re-thought the entire supply chain and build a company we believe leads the future of fashion in all the steps from choosing the best materials, designing beyond seasons and creating a responsible production.


How we work in prisons

We have set up our own production inside the women's prison in Cusco, Peru and inside the women’s correctional institution in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 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 have developed training programmes for the women and our local production managers maintain the close relation between our teams and the development in Copenhagen.

Surya is our production manager in Cusco, Peru, and goes to the prison every day to manage our workshop, buy yarn and ship home the finish products. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, Thanakon runs our production on a daily basis. We follow our productions very closely, ensure we’re constantly updated and 4-5 times a year we visit the productions.


Our direct impact is measured by the number of women employed, the salary they earn and the skills they obtain. We are pioneering a new way of operating a production inside prisons and 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 4-6 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 to make sure that we always comply with ethical labour standards. Accordingly, we always negotiate and adapt our way of doing business.

 


  

 

We have created our season-less business model that empowers women in prison while eliminating stock and product waste. We only invest in the world’s best materials local to the place of production and we make sure to 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.

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

 

Read more about how we work and how we set our prices here

 

We believe in transparency and sustainable change where each piece 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 us at carcel@carcel.co