Natural and sustainable luxury. Traditional Peruvian craftsmanship combined with a German promise of quality. Find out more about the special story behind the start-up WEICH Couture Alpaca.
The first encounter...
Jannik Weich had his formative encounter with the beauty of Peru at the age of 16, when he travelled to the country for the first time. Since then, he has been fascinated by the natural elegance and tenderness of the sustainable alpaca fibre. He has a close friendship with his host family at the time. They still host him today whenever he visits Peru.
...the beginning of a long journey
Journey of discovery through a magical country: After graduating from high school, Jannik Weich travels through Peru for a few months to get to know the country, culture and language, but above all the people and their special connection to the friendly, social alpacas. Their particularly fine wool is the basis for the livelihood of many farmers in the Peruvian Andes. He is particularly impressed by the respect with which the farmers treat their animals.
Two like-minded people meet...
During a semester abroad on the west coast of California, Jannik meets his future friend and founding partner David Kuttschrütter. They not only share a passion for travelling, but also the ambition to start their own business. When Jannik shares his experiences with Peru and his enthusiasm for alpaca with David, the spark ignites and the idea of a joint start-up becomes more concrete.
... create the basis on site in Peru...
In the year between her bachelor's and master's degrees, the starting signal was given for the unique story of WEICH Couture Alpaca. The company name is quickly found. It is the surname of one of the founders and at the same time an outstanding characteristic of the products. However, finding the right manufacturers and producers to match the values and demands of the founders requires extensive and personal research, and the infrastructure in Peru requires a high degree of adaptability and perseverance. On a trip through Peru in 2017, the founders extensively analyse the market and select the manufactory whose services fully meet their demands for quality, sustainability and understanding of the product.
... and found a first project
Adventure in the Peruvian Andes
Back in Peru, the founders gain new inspiration and ideas for their product range at local fairs and markets, but also in personal exchanges with alpaca farmers. At an altitude of 5,000 metres, in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes and far from any civilisation, they experience the unique challenges that humans and animals face in the harsh mountain landscapes. They gain authentic insights into the breeding and living conditions of the alpaca animals and personally convince themselves of the species-appropriate treatment of the animals.
Investor Peter Pohlmann and WEICH Couture Alpaca
One of the most decisive steps in the still very young history of the company: Investor Peter Pohlmann and the official starting signal. Both founders join the company full-time from their studies, today's WEICH Textil GmbH is founded, the capital and the strategic partnership are used to build brand awareness and open the first store. The rollout of the first accessories line takes place at the Maison & Objet in Paris, where the globally unique WEICH hot water bottles with the most delicate alpaca wrapping are presented for the first time.
Christina Rosenberg and other business angels invest in WEICH
In a first seed financing round, WEICH Couture Alpaca raises further external growth capital to accelerate the brand development in German-speaking countries. The select circle of new investors includes Christina Rosenberg, supervisory board member, advisory board member and long-standing managing director in the luxury industry, as well as Robert Ermich, serial entrepreneur in online marketing from Berlin. WEICH is investing the capital in the expansion of its product range as well as in further marketing channels.
The milestone of 100 active retailers has been achieved
After only three years on the market, the start-up succeeds in breaking the magic mark of 100 active specialist retailers and partners in the German-speaking region. The concept around the new and special products made of the finest alpaca is becoming increasingly popular in the home & interior segment as a sustainable alternative to established players in the market. In addition to prestigious luxury department store chains, these include, above all, high-quality furniture stores and exclusive concept stores.