Atelier Merci offers handcrafted clothing made from sustainably-produced vegan and organic materials
While the sustainable fashion industry in Romania is just starting to take off, there are no certified sustainable clothing producers in the country. Until recently, shops that promote a circular economy model by gathering and selling sustainable fashion from local producers did not exist. For small-scale clothing producers, it’s not easy to earn a stable income and the Covid pandemic made it even more difficult for them to continue their business activities.
Atelier Merci aims to reverse this situation by offering handcrafted clothing made from sustainably-produced vegan and organic materials. The social enterprise is committed to circular economy practices, using textile scraps from clothing to create decorative house products and bags and offering recycling services to its clients for their used clothes.
In early 2022, Atelier Merci will launch a brick-and-mortar store with online channels, ALTRNTV Lifestyle. In the store, the social enterprise will sell not only its own products but also handmade clothing, shoes, and belts created by small Romanian artisans from underserved communities. These Romanian producers share Atelier Merci’s sustainability goals and utilise eco-friendly production practices. Their products have high reuse potential and are made from certified organic raw materials.
In addition to helping marginalised Romanian craftspeople to promote their products, Atelier Merci also offers guidance on transitioning to sustainable packaging and improving their waste recycling processes.
All profits from the new ALTRNTV shop are used to fund the Merci Charity Association, Atelier Merci’s parent organization that supports children with medical needs.
The investment and mentoring offered in the accelerator will enable Atelier Merci to open the ALTRNTV store, hire employees and obtain quality certifications. NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship will support the social enterprise to improve its production capacity to meet rising product demand. It will also receive guidance on impact measurement and documentation of the lives of underserved producers and artisans.
With the support of the Poland and Romania accelerator, Atelier Merci plans to evolve into a sustainable fashion brand in Romania and expand its network of Romanian artisans over the next few years. By implementing its strategy to leverage its online platform, Atelier Merci will ensure that more small producers can sell their products while promoting a more circular and sustainable fashion industry in the country.
This accelerator will make it possible to diversify our activity, employ more vulnerable people and scale up our operations in a time when developing a business is not encouraged given the COVID context. We are happy that the NESsT/ IKEA team believes in our capacity to act and to dream big.
Alina Tiplea, founder ALTRNTV.