My name is Marieke Andringa, founder of ZAZU Amsterdam. I have a special connection with Ecuador, which I visited for the first time in 2005. At that time I was a lawyer in Amsterdam, working on mergers and acquisitions. Since last year I have dedicated all my time and energy to ZAZU Amsterdam. How did this all begin?
Roaming about the famous market of Otavalo, Ecuador, I encountered beautiful garments from alpaca and merino wool. I was immediately drawn to the silky-soft texture of the wool and its luxurious luster. At that very moment I got my inspiration for ZAZU Amsterdam: using traditional materials from the Andes like alpaca and merino wool to create premium knitwear with a fashionable design.
Considering the fact that 35% of the Ecuadorian families still live in poverty, my aim was to produce locally to stimulate the local economy and to help these families to emerge from poverty. I believe social entrepreneurship is the key to such social change. It is also great to witness how proud our knitters are at their work and how much they enjoy the fact that their knits are being loved in Europe. This work really increases their self-esteem. I feel honoured to work with these kind and strong women.