Design, Innovation and labour competition

Design, Innovation and labour competition : Development of the textile industry of Peru - Labour competence certification

Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

AYNI DESIGN LAB is demonstrating how the fashion and apparel industry can contribute to a sustainable development through a four link business model including certification, training, formalisation and finally social inclusion creating job opportunities and developing the textile industry in Peru.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if an innovative business approach including labour competence certification could empower the vulnerable population and create thousand job opportunities while making the Peruvian textile industry more competitive?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Lack of competitiveness, efficiency and high skilled labor force in the textile industry. The lack of a social and institutional recognition related to production labour force. Technical education non existent in Peru for jobs related to the production in the garment industry. Cultural heritage and ancestral techniques and traditions are getting lost over time. The industry does not exploit the export opportunities of value added products.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We have created the first certification center authorized by the ministry of employment to certify individuals in labour competition within the field of handcraft and knitting techniques. The certification serves as a official recognition and reference in their career and will help identify the strengths and weaknesses in order to create the necessary training programs needed to improve qualifications and competences with the objective of creating high skilled knitters, increase competitiveness in the industry and protecting the cultural heritage while promoting innovation and modernisation of old techniques. The certification program is the first step in the process and towards social inclusion and sustainable a development.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

AYNI DESIGN LAB have already certified more than 600 individuals in different rural districts of Peru. The target group are usually the vulnerable part of the population and approximately 98% are women with no further education than elementary school completed or partly completed. In our experience around 50% approve both the theoretical and practical test with the required scores. This gives us a strong indicator useful for both the governmental institutions and for the labor market showing where training and capacity building is needed. For the ones who approve, they can now document and demonstrate their capabilities and competences giving them empowerment, motivation, recognition and improved job opportunities and working conditions.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

To date AYNI DESIGN LAB have certified over 600 women in the labour competences of hand knit techniques, trained and currently give constant work to more than 300 knitters, who have become self-sufficient and now sustain their families. Through our sourcing agency, we produce for international brands including our private label AYNI sold around the world. All the products are made by peruvian primary materials and by peruvian qualified labour work and sold as value added sustainable products. We have grown organically but have noticed the increase in efficiency and competitiveness due to the certification and training programes. Apart form the positive impact of creating new job opportunities for a growing number of the vulnerable population in Peru we have noticed an increase in motivation, empowerment and independence for the knitters who have been certified and trained.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We project a great potential for economic growth with a positive social impact in a medium long term. In Peru the largest opportunity is within production of value added products with the differentiation factor due to the primary material of Peruvian origin and exclusivity such as the pima cotton and alpaca wool. At the moment we work with approximately 3% of the artisans in Peru and have contact with approximately 25%. We should be able to scale the number of certifications to comply with the 25% within 5 years expecting that half of them will be qualified to produce items for export.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

If we continue at the current growth rate, we will be able to increase sales and production with approximately 30-40% a year and with the potential financial support from this program we would be able to certify and train around 200 artisans to be able to start producing for AYNI DESIGN LAB and/or other companies. As the certification program becomes well known, we expect the users are willing to pay for it with own means being capital or work

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Other companies also address social issues and further industry growth through employment and focus on sustainability throughout the value chain when it comes to natural materials and the fact that they give work to less privileged or vulnerable populations. But as far as we are aware there are no other company who covers all the areas that we do starting with the certification program as the educational factor, the training programs generating high skilled labour work and productivity, the business model and market access assuring competitiveness and sales which makes it all sustainable.

Founding Story

Adriana is Peruvian, Laerke is Danish. Together they founded AYNI CORP in 2006, which today hold four lines of business; Private label "AYNI", Sourcing agency "AYNI DESIGN LAB", Consultancy "AYNI CONSULT" and certification center "AYNI CERTIFY". It all began with the founders common interest of sustainable business opportunities and love for high quality products, natures's finest materials and strong social, economic and environmental engagement. Along the way we gathered experience and industry knowhow and established a broad network. Through commitment, hard work and high spirit we have achieved recognition and managed to grow the business organically to the point where we are today.


We are two founding partners with equal shares in the company; Adriana Cachay (Business Administration) and Laerke Skyum (International Business), both successful entrepaneurs and business women with broad sector knowledge and more than 10 years of experience in the textile and apparel industry. Both have an extensive network of personal and professional contacts including strategic partners such as public institutions and business councils. The rest of the team is composed by Project Manager and responsable for the certification department, Maria Nieves Gomez (Business Administration) with more than 10 years of experience as a consultant working for international companies such as Earnst & Young. Brand assistant, Claudia Reyes Designer, Pamela Camavilca graduated from Modart Pedro Marca, Production Manager Jose Sanchez, quality supervisor Vicky Panonino, Pruduction and Design assistant Steve Arena, Financial Assistant Yesenia Ojeda, Office assistant Teresa Ojeda, Office assistant
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]


Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Designer, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Consumers, Designers, Retailers - Department Store, Trading Companies.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Essential Services (i.e. Healthcare and Education), Conscious Consumerism, Labor Rights (i.e. Collective Bargaining, etc.), Gender Equality, Transparency.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Capacity Building, Certification, Training.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

As often as possible, through our network, social media, press and by telling our story we encourage to active participation!

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?