Eco Bebé: innovation and creativity in children’s clothing

Day after day entrepreneurs gather courage and commit to make a success out of a business that could give them the autonomy and economic independence they long for. But what makes an entrepreneurship successful in the long term? Innovation.

Recognizing necessity where others can’t, reformulating pre-existing product, improving its features; projecting a business that could make a process efficient, reaching a new market. These are some of the keys for making small enterprises profitable.

These hints are but guidelines, already tested by the brave ones, with the idea of not crowding a specific sector nor selling a product that offers nothing new. In Fondo Esperanza (FE), which is part of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, a couple who are both microentrepreneurs, are setting an example in their community. They are Romina and her husband Felipe, both from Lota, Chile’s VIII region.

Together they launched the brand ‘Eco Bebé’, after seeing that it might be an initiative that would attract the attention of new customers. How did they do it? By creating clothing designs for babies with a new concept, that is both comfortable and organic. The idea was for the clothing line to be as harmless as possible for infants while offering an option that has good quality and an affordable price. “We began this project while we were still boyfriend and girlfriend. My mother had an unused sewing machine at home, so I encouraged my wife to learn how to use it so that she could make her own clothes, as well as to earn some money”, explains Felipe.

The couple wanted to take it further and deliver something that combines usefulness and quality. “We thought of giving an added value to the garments we make, so we decided to buy organic Peruvian cotton, which is hypoallergenic, and produced without pesticides and chemicals. We use the material to make onesies, tights, mittens and caps for newborns”, he continues.

Felipe stresses that joining FE has contributed a great deal to his business.  “I went to them for the training they provide and for the loans. Obviously, we needed money, but education and the courses are important too. And if you’re married, or living with someone, the courses on gender and roles help make things work in your family”, he adds.

This entrepreneur wrote a dissertation on his experience as the manager of ‘Eco Bebé’, to get a professional qualification as a Public Director in Lota – Arauco’s Technical Training Centre, CFT. In this academic institution, he received distinctions and compliments for his contribution to innovation in his sector.

Among their short-term goals, they aim to open stores in other cities, such as Chillán and Temuco, as well as designing a website and doing local advertising.

This story shows that, if you set a goal, you can create a business that people notice, that opens up possibilities for new markets and, in short, a project that re-affirms that it is feasible to work independently to contribute to your family’s economic development.

Carla Grandón, Communications – Fondo Esperanza