Ruralanas is a Uruguayan brand that “weaves quality of life” guided by two passions: wool and craftsmanship. With this formula, they managed to make their products transmit dedication, knowledge and tradition, as well as beauty and good quality. All these attributes distinguish Ruralanas and place it in a place of preference for all tourists arriving in the country and also for those local consumers willing to give away garments and wool products from Uruguay.
This privileged position led Ruralanas to focus 98% of its sales to tourists and that was totally disrupted with the arrival of the pandemic, when travel slowed down and no one reached the strategic points of sale where the brand was present.
As Virginia Montoro, director of Ruralanas, recalls: As of March 17, large purchase orders began to be cancelled, including some that were already ready for delivery.
The confusion lasted a few days, but the entrepreneur and her team quickly managed to find their place in the new reality and found alternative paths. This is how they began to sell more yarn than garments, since they also sell wholesale to other local brands, and they decided to create a line of ecological dyes that was added to their line of 100% wool artisanal dyes. At the same time, potential customers from abroad began to join, not only for yarns but also for the production of garments.
“Although we reduced costs due to the pandemic, we had to continue operating because many craftswomen depend on our company and many are heads of households. The goal was to mantain the same workload as always, and we did it,” says Montoro, adding that in this time they have learned a lot: “First of all, it is safe in life and also that there is a solution for everything and you don’t have to give up. We continued to work and study a lot of things that without the pandemic, we would have let go since we were in a comfortable place. The pandemic gave us the necessary time to analyze where we were standing and to define where we want to go. Now we know that when the tourist comes back and both niches are working, we will be able to deal with both markets.”
The textile designer also states that she firmly believes that moments of crisis are key to growth. “It happened to us at the end of 2012 with the creation of our characteristic packaging, which represented a before and after for our brand.”
Now the same thing has happened, our creative side has come to the surface and we are focusing on new markets, with other products that although we were already selling, we were not getting the most out of them as they should be”.
During the crisis, those in charge of Ruralanas were also able to think about having a larger structure and greater productivity.
“Beyond the fact that I am personally very positive, I have been working with wool for 20 years and I firmly believe that we have an incredible raw material at a national level, added to the artisan techniques that we have been implementing. We feel an immense passion for wool. Our company has a real social purpose that is on the same level of importance as the commercial purpose. All these years of activity have given us the necessary experience to become leaders in the realization of 100% wool products, both handmade and industrial, whatever the product is. There is still a lot to do, but we are happy where we are located and how we have achieved it,” said Montoro.
Source: Country Brand