AOA Startup Grant 2017 | Vote now for your favorites!

La Luce Boutique

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Project: La Luce Boutique, a start-up, ethical fashion boutique that opened its doors on July 29, 2017. We focus on bringing awareness to fashion brands that produce their product with a respect for the environment, with a commitment to help the communities that make their products, and also with transparent operations and outstanding quality.

Who: Erika Macchione, owner. Sargento the Puppuccino, right hand.

Short bio

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After her experience as a production coordinator with a Miami-based apparel company, Erika learned the harsh realities of what lies behind all the glitz and glamour in the fashion industry. This knowledge of the negative effects of fast fashion is what led her to seek out and support companies that are producing their products with respect for the planet, animals, and the workers that they employ.

A description of the proposed project

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La Luce means "the light" in Italian. The concept stems from wanting to "shine light" on fashion companies who, although may be smaller and lesser known, are working hard to make an impact in this world by supporting various social causes and producing sustainable fashion. La Luce was created out of love for unique, trendy, ethically made apparel and a passion to help make the world a better place. The clothing industry is said to be the second largest polluter in the world, next to the oil industry, based off of the manufacturing and toxic dyeing process and ultimately the disposal of the garment. Similar to the organic trends that we see happening with our food, we are starting to see a shift to the movement of sustainable products within the fashion industry. More and more fashion companies are becoming socially conscious of where and how their products are being made.

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More than supplying the Capital Region with beautiful, handmade, ethical apparel and accessories, La Luce wants to educate the community on understanding the power you have as a consumer when you purchase with a purpose. As consumers, we can influence the kind of world that we want to live in and it starts with one question, how and by whom was this product made? The companies that La Luce works with, takes it a step further by introducing you to the person behind the product as seen in the picture on the left. In many cases, you can read their workers stories on their websites to see how fair wages and safe working environments are making a difference in their communities and amongst their families. These companies are also proving that zero waste fashion is possible by creating products from remnant and recycled materials, like plastic, and in turn preventing unnecessary landfill.

How would the grant money help?

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Slow fashion takes time and it often requires payment long before the goods are delivered. This grant would help towards expanding the company's inventory and making store enhancements. La Luce Boutique opened doors in July with only a small amount of savings and a dream, by a first time business owner. This grant would help free up more capital to create a website to better advertise the company's mission and events taking place in the capital district region, as well as reach a global audience and spread awareness on the harmful effects of fast fashion. In the next 6-12 months, La Luce would like to begin sourcing sustainable material to create and brand its own line of products in which proceeds will give back to local organizations. We also hope to connect and collaborate with other social entrepreneurs in the area because we believe when you support small local businesses you help improve the local economy and you keep your community unique with stronger relationships among residents, neighbors and community leaders.

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