The story of Ramuri begins with an order of a study table from a proclaimed sustainable brand, delivered in heaps of plastic to Laura Valeria Rosales Vazquez.
Being raised in a culture that taught the importance of taking care of the Earth, Valeria understood the key role that sustainable brands played in protecting the environment. The story of Ramuri begins with an order of a study table from a proclaimed sustainable brand arriving in heaps of plastic. Because the brand’s declared commitment to sustainability was practically meaningless due to its packaging, Valeria was inspired to consider how brand sustainability should be evaluated. Knowing the particularly large environmental and social impact of the fast fashion industry, she decided to focus on addressing it first.
This encouraged Valeria to explore the notion of Ramuri in early 2021. “ We want to make it easier for people to change their behaviours. Ramuri aligns with the customer’s existing shopping habits, removing the difficulty of completely abandoning the way they shop or the difficulty of learning a new way to be sustainable. As they browse shopping websites, Ramuri will show brand information in the form of a browser extension and recommend ethical alternatives to the products that they are already looking at, enabling a seamless shopping experience.” Valeria envisioned Ramuri to serve online customers who choose to purchase from ethical companies.
Currently, the fashion industry is responsible for more carbon emissions than shipping and travel combined. In addition, many fashion brands are greenwashing and not being transparent with their customers about sourcing, supply chain, animal welfare and environmental impact. This is the exact reason Valeria finds the information-sharing aspect of the Ramuri so valuable and needed – only by knowing a brand’s sustainable habits can customers buying decisions change.
“I wanted to make information and action accessible and easier for people who want to shop ethically. I know people have good intentions, and I know how hard it is to put that intention into action. Ramuri will make this action possible for people. Supporting ethical brands is something that is important to me as a lot of Indigenous brands use traditional methods to promote sustainability, and the fact that we’re leaders in sustainability innovation is not widely recognized.” Valeria elaborates on the foundation of Ramuri being rooted in introducing diversity and inclusivity to customers who look for sustainable alternatives.
To make Valeria ‘s vision a reality, Valeria collaborated with her friends Shirui Deng, in charge of Ramuri’s finances and marketing, and Adel Muursepp, in charge of its technological direction and development. Together, they developed Ramuri, a website browser add-on that assesses the sustainability impact of a company’s products and offers sustainable alternative product options.
Regarding the procedures needed to construct the extension technologically, Muursepp adds: “We were more adept at handling the extension’s machine learning component thanks to professors at UofT. We use public data sources, such as Good On You, Fashion Transparency Index, to translate the information regarding the brand’s sustainability into ratings,” explains Muursepp.
Ramuri is committed to developing trustworthy relationships with its customers. Ramuri seeks to make information more accessible to all as a purpose-driven company. “We want to build our relationship with our customers based on trust. When it comes to how we deal with business, we are putting our purpose first, we are looking to make the information we translate more accessible to everyone.” Deng elaborates.
The Ramuri team has participated in a number of pitch contests at UofT and has been accepted to many incubators at UofT, benefiting from the resources they have to offer. Now joining ICUBE to broaden their horizons as Ramuri is formally made available for private testing.
“Striking the balance in time management between our startup and academics is sometimes tough, but incredibly invigorating and makes our student experience all the better. We’ve gotten to learn a lot, test ourselves, and expand our capabilities in ways we may not have if we hadn’t been entrepreneurs,” Vazques explains how beginning a start-up has impacted their student lives. Despite the hurdles in their road, they chose to work as a team to conquer them. When describing the value of teamwork in ensuring a startup’s success, Muursepp emphasizes that “team is the most critical thing to ensure a startup’s success.”
Ramuri remains faithful to its mission of providing diversity and inclusiveness in their alternatives; the team is aware that there are challenges and unknowns, but they are looking forward to tackling everything they face together to harness the power of information to facilitate change in the fashion industry.
For more information, visit the Ramuri website: http://www.ramuri.ca/en/
Follow Ramuri on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ramuri/
Follow Ramuri on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joinramuri/