We want to prove that it is possible to make the best quality products, but in a completely different way.
Discover what's behind our sunglasses.
High quality, made differently. We are making the highest quality eyewear, in an entirely different way; instead of a linear and extractive production process - which is used by most companies in the world - we are working hard to build our entire value chain under a circular and regenerative model.
Changing the way the production processes in hard goods work is not an easy task. We are committed to prove that it is possible to substantially change the way businesses operate, yet we are conscious that it is an ongoing process in which we need to advance step by step. We are well aware of the enormous task we have set for ourselves and we know there is still much to improve, yet we are proud to see how much we have achieved so far by collaborating with like-minded people and organizations from around the world.
HOW DO WE SOURCE OUR RAW MATERIAL?
1. Different types of waste that affect natural ecosystems are collected in the south of Chile by the local and rural entrepreneurs that work with Balloon Latam. These wastes are turned into raw materials, which we buy to make our eyewear. By selling this raw material to us, the entrepreneurs are generating an additional source of income, which they use to expand their own local businesses with the support of Balloon Latam.
2. In Karün, we turn this raw material into high quality eyewear, offering our customers a product with a perfect balance between sustainability and quality.
3. Thanks to our clients’ support, we generate income, of which we donate a percentage to Balloon Latam and the entrepreneurs that work in their programme so that they can continue to expand their local businesses.
Together with our partners Balloon Latam, we are proving that different forms of waste can become a source of income for local rural entrepreneurs in Patagonia so they can scale their local businesses and create economic opportunities that can empower their own communities.
Balloon Latam is a social venture dedicated to Latin America that promotes micro territorial development. Through the development of research, formation and articulation programs that involve the community, who seek to strengthen and place value on these territories’ cultural, socio-environmental, human and economic patrimonies.
WHO'S BEHIND THE SOURCING OF EACH MATERIAL?
1. Ignacio Torres: Fishing Nets
Juan Ignacio Torres, also known as “Nacho” owns a restaurant with typical Chilean sea food at the cove of Lebu at the south of Chile.
In his spare time, he organizes the local fishermen to collect old fishing nets which would normally end up in the oceans or being burnt.
Through Balloon Latam, Nacho is directly collaborating with Karün by selling us the old fishing nets he collects which provide an additional source of income for him.
He is now using this source of income to expand his restaurant end explore new innovative ways of making his business more sustainable.
Nacho, together with the fishermen that work with him are proving that by working together, they can clean their community, prevent pollution in the ocean and change the way businesses can work.
Unfortunately, old and damaged jeans can be found almost everywhere. We are now working with Balloon Latam to recover old Jeans in different communities in the south of Chile and Patagonia together with the local and rural entrepreneurs that work throughout their programme.
Additionally, we are developing a programme with some of our retailers so that our clients can deposit their old and damaged jeans into a basket in the stores - we’ll make sure to give them another life. If the jeans can be used again, we will donate them to the “Joaquín de los Andes Corporation” and if the damage is too big, we will turn them into high quality eyewear together with our partners, Shear Composites.
*For the production of our Kickstarter campaign and first production run of the Clothing Collection, we have collaborated with the “Joaquín de los Andes Corporation” (a private, non-profit institution from Puerto Varas, Chile, created in 1997 with the objective of providing free care to deaf children with language disorders of limited resources in the Province of Llanquihue). They collect old clothes in order to sell it and turn it into a source of income for the children they foster. We have bought all the jeans that where too damaged to sell and will turn them into high quality eyewear – only for this first production run we managed to rescue almost 1.000 kilos of old jeans from ending up in landfills!
PRODUCTION IN ITALY
We are making products that last a lifetime so that we can help to reduce consumption. Most of our manufacturing is made in Italy with our long-term partners in factories that ensure excellent working conditions for their employees and that are actively working with their own local communities and in the protection of their natural surroundings; the factory is even located just outside a national park!
TRANSPORT OF RAW MATERIALS
Our raw materials are sourced in Chile. Our production is done in one of the finest factories in Italy. Conscious of the transportation consequences on the environment, we plan it as responsibly as we can. To minimize carbon footprint during transportation, raw materials are reduced in size and volume and shipping methods are responsibly selected, always prioritizing ships over planes. We have decided to move our office from Santiago to Puerto Varas (South of Chile / Patagonia) to be as close as possible to the Balloon Latam’s rural entrepreneurs that we are working with for the sourcing of our materials.
Our ultimate goal is to create a regenerative process; one which can help restore natural ecosystems and the local economy - instead of merely mitigating negative externalities. In other words, a process with a positive impact on the environment and our society. We aim for using our operations as a source of land conservation and the empowerment of local and rural entrepreneurs that can create a positive cycle of prosperity and sustainable development in their own communities. We are not yet fully ready with such a model, but we are getting closer every day. Stay tuned for more news of how we are building our complete value chain.
*If you want to know more about our philosophy, production process, sourcing of raw materials and the logic behind our decisions, we invite you to read the following blog posts: