Every regenerative product or service is born from a process of analysis and identification of the type of solution that we intend to offer. Many times, we have stalled along the way, have it not happened to you? What do we do at that time? To help you, I have made a compilation of 10 key aspects to take in consideration, when developing a product or service under a regenerative concept.
1. What’s the problem? What issue have you identified? For example: Excessive consumption of plastics, loss of marine biodiversity, pollution of rivers, etc.
2. What solution can you offer? What kind of solution will you offer with your product or service? What type of regenerative impact are you delivering (social, cultural, environmental, or economic)? Who are the main stakeholders?, being our Planet and Society, the main participants.
3. Who are your clients? Who will be your clients? Here, you must describe in detail the characteristics of your Buyer Persona (Profile of your Target Customer). What are their interests, their concerns? What places do they frequent? What kind of digital tools do they use to choose a product or service, which influencers or references in Regenerative Fashion do they admire?
4. Who are your competitors? With the current globalization, we currently compete with global brands, therefore, the competitive advantage must be closely connected to the regenerative value proposal that you offer. In this link, you can find some key tools to be able to carry out the evaluation of your competition. Take in consideration that a good start will be looking for market research reports like Statista, OMS, World Economic Forum among others related to our now days digital ecosystems.
Remember that in addition to evaluating what fraction of the market they lead, you must analyze how they are managing their strategic, operational and support processes.
5. Strategy of the Regenerative Product or Service: Here it is important to carry out an evaluation of the environment with a SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), PESTEL (political, economic, social, technological, ecological and legal environment, Porter Force Analysis, analysis of organizational capabilities the 7s and define if we choose to compete in an environment of high competition (RED) or BLUE ocean scenarios (minimal or no competition).
6. Define Key Processes: in the fashion sector are Research and Development, Concept and Storytelling of the product or service, but very essential is prototyping where we can quickly design, manufacture, and test the level of success of the new product or service and in addition to its final cost. One quote that resumes this part is: “Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.” — Robert L. Peters, designer and author.
7. Design and Concept: At this stage of the development of the concept and idea, agile and systematic ideation tools such as Brainstorming and Mind Maps come into play, as for the product development phase, tools such as Design Thinking, Design Tools such as Rhinoceros, Adobe XD, Sketch, Fusion 360 and others. Also type of digital technology that will be used for its fabrication such as laser cutting and engraving, 3D printing, milling, embroidery and digital fabric are used for prototyping and final manufacturing.
Finally, once the prototype has been validated, the production and marketing of the product proceeds. It should be noted that in this last part the marketing channels are today online, and marketing goes hand in hand with the development of a Digital Marketing strategy.
8. Selection of Technologies and Materials: This process is key because it will define the level of quality and alignment of the final product or service with the needs of the consumer. On the other hand, it will define the level of environmental, social, and cultural impact of the same. In this process, we will ask ourselves the following questions: Is the final product compostable? Is it biodegradable? What is the average lifetime of the product? What is the carbon footprint of your production? Estimated production time? Machine Hours, Man Hours; etc.
9. Costing, Financing and Production: After carrying out a detailed costing of the materials, labor, marketing and distribution expenses, production and administration, the correct thing to do is to carry out an economic and financial analysis of the product or service generated under 3 scenarios: the optimist, conservative and pessimist. Very important, define the percentage that can be financed with own resources and the percentage that will have to be financed by incubators, financial entities or subsidized by the State, if applicable.
10. Control and Monitoring: Here we analyze the results through an analysis of financial indicators, sales, production, quality, sustainability, social responsibility and very important the results of the surveys of our clients, because in the end it is about to determine whether our value proposition is meaningful to our customers and why.
It should be noted that aspects 1 to 6 generally correspond to the strategic processes during the generation of products and services, and that processes 6 to 10 correspond to the operational and support ones.
Conclusion, if you are in the process of developing a new product or service, the starting point is the problem or “pain point” identified (the need) and once the proposed solution has been validated through the prototyping process, you will be able to make your proposal of value is scalable through the development of steps 7 to 10. Another aspect to consider is that not all tools work for all projects, so the journey consists of identifying which ones really complement and will accompany you on your journey as a creator, researcher, bio manufacturer or/and entrepreneur.
The main (bio)material we used for our latest Bio Uncu Maker is based on Agar agar, a gelatinous substance made with an extract of red algae abundant on the Pacific coast of Peru and Chile.
Did you know that this biomaterial is biocompatible with human skin? And the fact that this considerably reduces the probability of an allergic reaction occurring?
Another amazing fact is that Agar agar bioplastics affect touch capacitive screens! Amazing, right?!
Our research and development process began with the generation of the biomaterial, which brought us many lessons learned that we want to share with our future bio makers:
Tip 1: Agar agar’s Powder form dissolves faster and more evenly
Agar is available in three different formats (bars, granules, and powder). Because agar needs to be heated to 90°C to dissolve properly in liquid, the powdered form is easiest to work with. If you are using bars or flakes, we suggest you break them into a powder first, using a coffee or spice grinder. The powder form dissolves faster and more evenly.
Tip 2: Start with a basic recipe and then try different combinations of Agar agar, Glycerine and Distilled water.
An additional thing to know is that a bioplastic made with Agar agar may ‘sweat’ when in humid weather. To prevent this, you may add a little bit of corn starch (corn flour) with Agar agar into the liquid that you are cooking it in.
There are many recipes, but you start your journey with those ingredients that you can find in your community or closest ecosystem, but also keep in mind what type of possible applications of your new biomaterial you can explore and validate further.
Tip 3: Check Ph of liquids vehicle and natural dyes
If you’re going to add some natural dyes, the best way to include them in your recipe is to add them at the end of the cooking process. In addition, it is very important that you monitor the level of pH of the liquid solution because Agar agar is sensible to acid pH levels and to the concentration of Calcium in the solution. Therefore for all your liquid ingredients make sure you always use filtered water.
Take in consideration that some natural colors can be thermosensitive (Spiruline and beet for example), therefore you must add them at the very end of your cooking process to prevent any fading.
Tip 4: Documentation and Registration of your Bioplastic Journey
This is key for documenting all the lessons learned during your bio-making journey. Excel sheets can help at the beginning for effectively following up a sample’s progress. Don’t forget to include photos. All the morphological transformations will be key for identifying each resulting biomaterial’s possible applications: rugosity, transparency, brightness, flexibility, hardness and density.
Tip 5: Natural dyes preparation
Colour’s selection depends on the concept of your bio project. But here you can find some very useful guidelines for preparing your natural dyes. For example, for our Bio Uncu project we decided to go for an Andean Palette of Colours made with Purple Corn and Annatto.
Tip 6: Bubbling control and heating
Having in mind Agar agar bioplastics cool quickly, it is very important to control bubbling before pouring the mixture into the molds. You can stir the bubbles with a spoon or pass the hot mixture through a colander. If you want to remove them in a professional manner, there is specialized equipment for it called Vacuum Bubble Removers.
Another very important method is by controlling the temperature of your preparation, just make sure it does not exceed the 90-95 Celsius degrees.
Tip 7: Surfaces of molds
Ideal surfaces for Agar agar bioplastics are glass, textiles with high thread counts of 250 or more and high-density textiles. It will depend on the type of transparency and texture you would like to accomplish.
Tip 8: Cooking Time and Volume
Cooking time will depend on the volume of your mixture. For samples between 300ml to 500ml the cooking time over moderate heat is approximately 30min and for volumes greater than 500ml the ideal cooking time is 40 to 45min. Do not forget to control the temperature and shake the mixture continuously to avoid the formation of lumps.
Tip 9: How to make an Agar agar bioplastic stronger
Researchers at Tuskegee University in Alabama found that adding nanoparticles made of eggshells to bioplastic increases the strength and flexibility of the material, potentially making it more attractive for use in the packaging industry.
You may experiment with adding other additives (fibers, organic waste; etc) that will make your samples more tough and resistant.
Tip 10: The drying and testing process
Agar agar bioplastics shrink a lot in size and thickness over time, and if left in a mold where it’s connected to wooden edges, will form cracks in the center. So, make sure to cut the agar free from the edges of the mold after the first 24 hours of setting.
Wait and dry, typically 2-4 days before you remove your samples from the mold. The morphologic and biomechanical tests of your samples must be done after the second week though.
One very important thing is to let the samples dry in a well ventilated, insulated and dry environment to prevent the samples from mold.
I hope these tips will be useful for you as a good starting point for your journey as future bio makers!
Is sustainable design enough nowadays, is it a part of the solution? Or a part of the main misconception problem?
While aSustainable Design seeks to reduce negative impacts of the environment, and the health and safety of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimise waste, and create healthy, productive environments. Its main approach is to eliminate and reduce potential negative impacts in the future of society and the environment.
The term “regenerative” describes processes that restore, renew or revitalise their own sources of energy and materials (ecosystems). Regenerative design uses whole systems thinking to create resilient and equitable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature.
Therefore, any technical, social and perceptual innovation can be achieved by applying a Regenerative Design approach, because it is more integral and responds to our nowadays needs which not only look for eliminating and reducing negative impacts, but for restoring all existing damages too.
vation, a result of a co-creation project where designers propose projects with food scraps using artisanal techniques and digital fabrication. They collaborate with agents from Poblenou’s neighbourhood in Barcelona to promote a local circular economy ecosystem.
So, which other regenerative brands, initiatives or projects do you know?
Carol Sanford, author of The Regenerative Business and director of Carol Sanford Institute.
World Economic Forum: Regenerative business: a roadmap for rapid change.
Another of the materials of the Peruvian jungle is an aerial root known as ¨Tamshi”. With this fiber, baskets, brooms and baskets are made. In turn, the Tamshi is also used to join the logs in the construction of huts for the communities. Similarly, there is the fiber of the Chambira palm, used by the Yaguas tribe to make clothing, hammocks, bags and fishing nets.
The vegetable fiber of “Tamshi” plays an important role in the life of the rural population of the Peruvian Amazon, since it is common in the construction of houses, household utensils and handicrafts; however, very few are aware of the need for its preservation and management. Due to excessive use, the species is seriously threatened; However, with proper management, it can contribute to generating economic income and preserving the Amazonian tropical forests.
The name “Tamshi” is assigned to a group of plant fiber species, such as “Wire Tamshi” (Heteropsis linearis, Kunth), “Cow Tamshi” (Heteropsis oblongifolia, Smith), “Huasi Tamshi” (Heteropsis spp.), ” Tamshi Lamas “(Heteropsis spp.),” Tamshi Basket “(Thoracocarpus bissectus (Vell.) Harling), and others. These species have in common being hemi epiphytes with long, cylindrical, wire-like roots that hang or are attached to the trunks of trees over 20 meters high in primary forests.
The “Tamshies” are native species of the Amazonian forests climax or in apogee, they are not in secondary forests. Tamshies are non-timber forest products, they have multiple uses and applications. In rural areas it is an important construction material that replaces wire and is used as a tie material to hold “beams”, for example.
It is highly resistant to the attack of fungi and insects. Its use is also common in the weaving of baskets, mats, beds, hats, and other utensils and fishing materials. The “tamshies” depending on the thickness and characteristics of the species, are also used in the construction of fences for the protection of animals, assembly of beds in replacement of bed bases, lines to dry clothes and as raw material for the manufacture of handicrafts in different communities native. In urban areas it is also widely used in the manufacture of furniture, as it perfectly replaces the well-known wicker fiber.
Currently, the pressure exerted on this resource forces rural inhabitants to look for these species in areas increasingly distant from the traditional centers of production, becoming increasingly scarce and rare. However, in this situation, very little is known about the basic aspects of its taxonomy, biology, ecology and physical and mechanical characteristics.
In Peru and neighboring countries, inventories of abundance in non-intervened forests in neighboring countries have been reviewed, as well as the results of the inventory carried out in the Palma Real Native Community and the experiences in making handicrafts, using Tamshi as raw material.
A clear example of good practices for the use of this natural fiber is that developed by the artisans of the Palma Real Native Community in Madre de Dios, since they have developed habits of use that allow the sustainability of the resource. This is an empirically learned management, which has been transmitted from generation to generation. Other native communities that we can mention are the native communities of Nanay in Loreto and Puerto Esperanza of the Asheninka ethnic group in Ucayali.
IAAP Tamshi: Otro producto no maderable de los bosques amazónicos con importancia económica: https://bit.ly/3apXL52
Palm trees have played a very important role in the daily life of Amazonian communities. Its different uses have been associated mainly with basic needs such as housing construction, food, the manufacturing of utilitarian crafts, medicines, fertilizers, fuel, clothing, etc. The weaving technique together with the ancestral knowledge about the plants that belong to their natural ecosystem and the dyes that they produced, allowed the Amazonian population not only to enter the world of color and expression, but also to find the roots and identity of each people, expressed in the designs of their fabrics and body paintings.
Chambira is a typical palm of the Amazon, we can find it in tropical forests of Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil. In the Peruvian Amazon it is found in the low jungle, especially in the Department of Loreto. Although its growth is slow, after three years its fiber can already be used to make articles that do not require a hard fiber. At six years of age the fiber of the leaves has already matured, becoming more resistant and hard. The spinning of the raw fiber, an activity known locally as “fiber twisting”, is carried out manually. For this, good hygiene of the hands and legs is necessary, since the thread will slide over them.
To ensure that logging does not deplete the resource, communities or groups of artisans should organize and make agreements on the use of it and its conservation. These agreements must contemplate the prohibition of the felling of the palm tree, the respect of the populations close to the community, the repopulation of the species where it has been decimated, etc. The organized groups formed or the community itself as a whole, will be responsible for supervising and enforcing the agreements taken together.
The Chambira or Astrocaryum and its fiber have great potential in the growing tourist market of the Northern Jungle region. The recovery of traditional weaving and dyeing will not only mean a revaluation of Amazonian culture and indigenous culture in particular, but it will also enable rural artisans to achieve better income and working conditions. Among the main natural dyes used to dye this fiber we can mention Achiote, Coffee, Retama, Ojo de Vaca, Huito, Mango among other herbs, fruits and species present in its natural ecosystem.
Manos Trabajadoras tejiendo la Chambira https://bit.ly/349jwly
Every 1st of August, the “National Alpaca Day” is celebrated in Perú, a great opportunity to recognize the mystical work that Alpaca’s breeders carry out daily in the 17 producing regions of Perú. The main Alpaca wool´s producers are in Perú and Bolivia.
There are more than 3.7 million Alpacas worldwide, which represents 87% of the world population, with the Huacaya and Suri breeds predominating.
Alpaca’s wool is a natural fabric that belongs to the so-called noble fibers, such as Mohair, Cashmere or Angora. It has a wide range of natural colors (20 or more) ranging from white to black, through light brown, dark brown or gray.
Alpacas live in large herds at 3.000-4.000 meters above sea level. Their natural ecosystems present extreme weather conditions, with sudden temperature changes, strong winds, very high solar radiation and low concentration of oxygen, which have led them to develop a very resistant and high-quality fur.
Types of Alpaca’s wool
There are three types of Alpaca’s wool: 1. Alpaca Fleeze, 2. Baby Alpaca, which is the fiber that comes from the first shearing done in the life of an alpaca when they are 3 years old, this fiber has an enormous and extremely soft quality and 3. Royal Alpaca, which is a selection of the best Baby Alpaca fibers and only 1% of the world production of alpaca fiber corresponds to this variety.
Other types are Huarizo, used to make knitted fabrics and Gruesa with which rugs, tapestries and linings are made.
Alpaca’s Wool Production Process: Quality Assurance Certification
The best way to check if the Alpaca garment or accessory you are getting complies with the quality standards is by looking into the Alpaca Mark tag that is provided by IAA International Alpaca Association based in Arequipa, Perú, ISO 9001 certification among other type of certifications.
Alpaca’s Wool: Product’s certifications
Fashion is the second most contaminating industry that not only affects ecosystems, but has been associated with complex social compliance issues such as child labor, workers’ wages, and benefits, as well as health and safety issues. Due to this, the demand for certified sustainable products is growing. Certifications such as ISO45001 Health and Safety Management System, GOTS global Organic Textile Standard that aims to ensure the organic condition of textile products, from the manufacture of the raw material, RWS standard for responsible wool, OCS organic content standard, IVN Nature Standards among others are currently available, but there is still opportunities of improvement in regards of the supervision and control of its compliance.
Alpaca’s Wool Main Benefits
Here are the main advantages and benefits of Alpaca’s wool:
a) It is warmer and stronger than sheep wool.
b) It is hypoallergenic, unlike sheep wool, it does not contain lanolin.
c) Offers thermal insulation.
d) Its level of comfort is extremely high.
e) It has a wide palette of natural colors (20 or more).
f) It is silky and shiny, it does not lose its shine after dyeing and washing.
g) It is light and comfortable, despite being a very warm fiber.
h) It’s elastic and resistant.
i) It’s fire resistant.
j) It is durable, garments last for many years, they do not break, deform, or wear through use.
k) It is also not affected by fungi and other microorganisms.
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