Rapanui: a sustainable clothing brand with a conscience

Rapanui is a super-ethical fashion business set up by two entrepreneurs (and brothers) in their shed on the Isle of Wight. They sell affordable men’s, women’s and children’s fashion produced in their factory, including custom T-shirt and fabric printing. The company is making a splash in mainstream news as a company with a conscience and is growing quickly – creating employment and raising the profile of eco fashion.

Social Impact

Every product designed and produced by Rapanui is made from organic or recycled materials in an ethically accredited, wind-powered factory. Rapanui clothes can be traced right back through the supply chain, from seed to shop – and they incentivise people to send back clothes at the end of their life, where customers freepost their clothes back in return for store credit. With fair wages policies and a training scheme for long-term unemployed young people on the Isle of Wight, they are creating social impact in how they make the clothes as well as where they come from. Three years from startup, 80% of their workforce and all but one of senior management came through their employability programme, with Rapanui defining themselves as a “social enterprise” that has social impact linked inextricably to the business and its revenues.

Investment

Through the Big Venture Challenge, ClearlySo were able to work with Rapanui to raise investment for their high-impact business. Rapanui secured £300k impact investment, including £100k match funding from UnLtd. With this injection of investment, the company were able to ramp up their production, create more product lines (and attend fancy events at the House of Lords and Downing Street, too).