Today, we welcome Regina, the Founder & Ceo, and Marie, Business Development & PR Manager of Pyrates, on the Look Forward blog. Pyrates, one of our season 3 startups, develops solutions that cross textiles and technologies in order to offer textiles with new functions: moisturizing, toning, there’s something for everyone!
Between new printing technologies and tailor-made for all, the team has a beautiful project in the air, a striking example of the new FashionTech scene in France and worldwide!
- Hello Mary, hello Regina! Let’s go straight to the topic if you allow me: How did the Pyrates adventure begin? How did you meet?
The idea of PYRATES began to germinate about 6 years ago. As a trainee in Switzerland, Regina lived in an international environment, surrounded by young dynamic and entrepreneurs traveling unceasingly. They wore sneakers and jogging but although comfortable and adapted to their lifestyle, they were not very flattering. However Regina started university and when she finished, the boom of active wear and athleisure had already exploded, all the brands were starting to get into it, so it was too late. But in reflecting, these brands were right to bet on athleisure as the uniform of present and future generations but there was something missing. It was originally the idea that these garments could have additional properties; protective of the body and skin that was the true starting point of the adventure.
It was then left for two and a half years of research and development of smart fabrics, fabrics of which natural fibers bring lasting properties to the Man who wears it. We met one year ago in Madrid while I was finishing my master there and the connection was instantaneous, Regina introduced me her project and was looking to begin the commercial adventure. This was the challenge I wanted to meet and so I joined!
- You operate today both in BtoC with your own brand Pyrates, but also in BtoB by collaborating with other creators and brands: how to explain this choice?
Indeed originally the smart fabrics PYRATEX® were indeed developed only for the clothing line Athleisure PYRATES. But we realized that the mission of revolutionizing the garment is a very ambitious mission and that of course we could not lead it alone. So in order to speed up the adoption by consumers of fabrics that protect them, we decided to collaborate with other brands by selling them our fabrics. This is interesting because having our own brand we can give advice on using these fabrics to our customers which really adds value. On the other hand, there are so many segments that could benefit from PYRATEX® and we cannot serve all these segments with a single brand.
- Are your textile technologies patented?
We have filed patents for two of our fabrics, for which we used a vegetable fiber never used in textiles before. We are looking forward to developing more in the future in order to adapt our clothes to the needs of our generation and our environment.
- And more concretely, where can you find your products today?
The PYRATES athleisure collection is currently the only brand using PYRATEX®, designs are available on our e-shop (pyrates.ch) but also in the Gomina Ekseption concept store in Puerto Banus, Marbella, Spain. Our first #PYRATEXxYCJ collaboration will be available on Kickstarter in mid-September.
As far as fabrics are concerned, interested brands can obtain them by contacting us directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) or from September on the Queen of Raw platform.
- What are your main goals for 2018?
First, we want to expand our network of physical outlets in Europe first and then in Asia and the USA, whose markets are ready to host this kind of product focused on well-being. It is very important for us to expand this network to enable consumers to reach these new fabrics. The other objective is also to see the various collaborations that are currently being prepared appear on the market.
- How do you imagine fashion in 20 years? A creator, a brand that inspires you?
Obviously in smart fabrics! More seriously, we are convinced that in the near future we will all have clothes in our wardrobes that protect us and care for us. Moreover, we really think that the trend of athleisure is here to last because it is indeed the most adapted to our dynamic lifestyle.
Acne studio is a brand that really inspires us. It is a beautiful representation of our generation, which seeks the singularity and the clean style but with a sense of comfort. Acne designs in PYRATEX® would really be the iconic uniform of the future!
- You are based in Madrid, what do you think of the local innovation ecosystem?
In positive terms I would say that it is an environment that advocates innovation in the sense that it is influenced by a very social and open culture, it is easy to meet people, to exchange and create synergies to make his project mature (that’s what happened to us!). In our case the production of our clothes is done in Spain, so we are there for logistics but it is not really a recognized capital for FashionTech. That’s why we travel a lot in Paris and Germany. We will also present our fabrics for the first time in an international textile fair in Munich Fabric Start in early September.
- The life of an entrepreneur is often filled with challenges; do you have a bad experience to tell us about?
The common source of most of our galleys is that when we are a young company leaded by young entrepreneurs (Regina is 26, and I’m 24) many people do not take us seriously or see us as the small customer with whom they can afford to do things wrong, to exceed deadlines etc… But challenges are such a big part of our daily lives that we have become champions to solve these problems in a creative way!
As an example, I can tell you about our presence at PREMIUM in Berlin last month. We had a very limited budget and merchandising a stand in such a large event was not affordable: we set up our stand and all the brands around us had huge posters, and a lot more money than we had to decorate their stand. So here we are with Regina, in a small rental car to do a marathon in the Berlin IKEA, trying to find decorative elements, plants and everything that would not ruin us but would make its effect. It was exhausting to manage that in addition to the boxes of clothes and all the logistics but we keep some excellent memories from it. And we are now fully prepared for our next fairs!
Thank you again for your time and your answers! Hoping to see you soon on the blog or in events J To learn more about Pyrates and this beautiful project, do not hesitate to visit their website: http://www.pyrates.ch