The Vuuven story began when Oskars and Kristine came across some 50-year-old looms, and hatched the idea of crafting environmentally sustainable textile products. The inspiration behind the brand was simple – an awareness that it could and should be done. Another spur was the fast-growing entrepreneurship scene in Latvia.
The country is navigating a time of transition, and while many start-ups face challenges surviving in Latvia’s present economy, Vuuven has proved it is possible to create a sustainable business that is both environmentally friendly and able to thrive in the market.
‘There will always be people who complain about problems, injustices and corruption. We try to stay positive, and get the best from the resources we have,’ says brand manager Oskars.
Kristine has more than seven years’ experience weaving for world-class names such as Armani/Casa, ABC Carpet & Home (New York) and the Four Seasons Hotels; Oskars has worked in advertising and marketing. Everything fell into place; they just had to work hard to pull off their goals. The biggest test was to fuse their relationship to the business, or rather, not to fuse their relationship to the business.
‘There are rules of business, and other rules for relationship,’ they laugh. ‘The issues can be overcome through diligence and patience.’
When they started work on their first collection, Oskars was surprised by the pace of the weaving process. He was used to the dynamic of the advertising industry, where an idea needs to be released into a campaign in a few days, but it’s not like that with weaving. It all starts with the threads. First you create a ‘tail’ that is put onto the looms. After that, the looms need to be set up, which can take up to three days. To weave one Vuuven scarf takes Kristine eight hours. When the cloth is ready, it goes to the tailor, who makes it into towels, scarves and pillowcases. After the tailor’s job is done, the linen products are ‘softened’ no fewer than four times. Eventually the products are ironed and packed for shipping to clients.
Vuuven works to maintain respect for the environment, for customers and for themselves. The brand’s value resides in preserving weaving skills while offering a modern vision for sustainable textiles.
Linen’s strength lies in its durability and thermal efficiency. It has a very low ‘wear coefficient’, which means that linen products can be used year after year. Linen textiles are rooted in Latvian folklore, and are sometimes seen in Latvia as old and outdated, but Vuuven’s products offer a new aesthetic.
Customers can follow the creative process, seeing every detail of how the textiles are manufactured. Oskars and Kristine’s passion is driven by, among other things, customer satisfaction.
Vuuven’s products have been shipped to Sweden, England, Ireland, Belgium, the United States and Japan. They hope to grow their business in the East, and aim to develop both business- and client-facing relationships in Japan and Singapore.