Manuel Garzaron

Sustainable Brand Start-Up and Creative Direction

Tincho & Lola

www.tinchoandlola.com/us Buenos Aires, Argentina

I first started ideating Tincho & Lola during a workshop project for the 2010-2011 Masters course at Domus Academy. Inspired from the concept of Upcylcing, with reference cases as Freitag and Elvis and Kresse (London, UK), my initial idea was to reuse fabric clippings from the clothing industry to produce casual shoes. Once back in Argentina, with the given opportunity of recycling sailboat sails and with the idea of combining it with the high-quality vegetable-tanned leather locally produced, I started the project as a backpacks and accessories brand. It was a fast-learning experience. After several drafts, samples and prototypes, my first production batch consisted of just five units.

Once launched, the brand started growing organically. The material innovation combined with the storytelling from its origin helped as a low cost communication strategy both through the word-of-mouth and media articles. To source the material to upcycle, I designed and implemented an exchange program in which sailboat owners and makers bring their old sails and we give them coupons for them to use in our online store.

My curiosity and the constant search of new products and materials accompanied the growth of the initial Sailors collection. After a year of development, trials and mistakes, I launched a new collection made with cotton canvas manually dyed with natural-based and custom-made colors. This marked a huge step in the history of the brand. The users wanted colors, and gave great value to the irregularity of the processes and materials that we used giving them exclusive products not for their prices but for their one-by-one differentiation.

The brand was invited to participate in the important both local and international design trade-shows. Wanted Design (NYC), Feria Puro Diseño, International Design Festival (Buenos Aires) and Maison et Objet (Paris) are some examples of them. Our products are offered in important design stores located in Buenos Aires, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil and in the San Francisco MoMA store in the U.S.

After years of learning and growing, the brand’s proposal is to supply responsible and durable goods, giving value to the Argentina's tradition and looking into the future. We are responsible for our social and environmental impact. We avoid planned obsolescence, we want our product to remain, live long, and evolve. We design with vision, select noble materials, choose environmentally friendly processes and we realize products under our compromise: we offer warranty and reparation services. Since 2015, we are members of 1% For The Planet (www.onepercentfortheplanet.org), through which we donate the 1% of our incomes to environment care programs and foundations. We are now also launching a program for customers to bring their old products and receive a discount in exchange for them. The plan is to fix these old products and give them a new life and start a used product market.

With an average yearly production and sales of approximately 5,000 backpacks and accessories, the business is nowadays profitable and gives work to talented local designers, craftsmen, photographers, always searching to promote the responsible consumption and reduce its impact in the environment.

It is very rewarding to see how a business you start, not only becomes profitable selling more than 5,000 products a year, but also gives work to talented local craftsmen and designers and photographers among other professionals, and promotes responsible consumption and the care of the environment. It is also rewarding to see how consumers receive so well the products I design, as they help them in their everyday life.