Modern and fresh ready-to-wear made in Ecuador
After the traditional mail exchange we had had to set a meeting date, Bertha came as quite of a surprise as it is a 24 year old girl with a smile up to her ears who welcomed us into her office. So yeah, Bertha was 24 and 1 day as some balloons floating in the room, leftovers of a party that had been going on not long ago, were there to testify. 24 and owning a fashion brand. Well that’s pretty unusual. But it gets better as Bertha’s 24th birthday also marked the celebration of Fulgore’s 4th anniversary. Which brings us to a 20 year old Bertha launching her own brand. Ok we get it, the girl has some obvious entrepreneurial streak running in her veins.
In only 4 years and without any degree in fashion design Bertha managed to create one of Ecuador’s famous clothing brand amoung young women in search of mordern and colorful pieces. She succeeded in doing what she wanted most: Offering women fresh, feminine and modern clothes coming from Ecuador and not from foreign countries. Has the name of the brand been of any help (Fulgore means “shining” in Italian)? I am not really superstitious but I am also open to new ideas, so I would say maybe, but let’s say its most probably Bertha’s energy and good ideas who put the brand in the “Success” category.
After a few minutes of talking in her office Bertha took us downstairs to the workshop where all the pieces are being made. Let’s say she has gotten a long way since the homemade headflowers she started her business with. It’s now over 25 employees who are working on bags, clothes, and shoes for women… and their children. So if you like a bag or a pair of shoes, chances are you will find the exact same model for the little ones. Genius!
Regarding the production process and brand positionning, Bertha makes a point of honour of giving back its letters of nobility to “handmade”, which is still not an obvious thing in Ecuador when most people tend to care more about low prices than real savoir-faire. So she will always put the work of the craftmen at the center of her brand and communication.
And handmade it is, more than we could have imagined! When we asked Bertha who was in charge of design, she replied she was. And indeed, she does the drawings. But what about the measurements and all? Turns out the craftmen figure it out by themselves. What happens is that each craftman is in charge of one piece from the beginning to the end of the production process and will figure out what measurements are needed in order to get the expected result, all this through an iterative process. Talk about handmade!
Again in this company, like in others we have had the chance to discover, we could feel a real family spirit. Bertha’s mother helps her with all the paperworks and shop management while her best friend Tania is in charge of all of the very well-imagined design, from the brand’s logo to the shops interior design passing by the shoe soles. And because Bertha is only 24, the workshop has this fresh, easy-going atmosphere and we ended the interview sitting on the floor, Bertha, Tania, Amaury and I, talking about the city’s top places to see while trying on some shoes (me).
What’s next for Fulgore? The launching of something new very soon and a summer at King’s college for its boss. Sounds like this is just the beginning!