Mexican artisanal brand Caravana, inspired by the ancient Maya culture, is targeting global expansion following investment from Cho Ventures, the purpose-driven private investment office founded by entrepreneur Tony Cho.
Caravana was launched in 2011 by Jacopo “Jack” Ianniello with a focus on handmade ready-to-wear pieces, accessories, and lifestyle products using traditional weaving and hand-crafting techniques. The neo-artisan company also reflects the culture it honours, with 70 percent of its employees being Mayan and women making up 70 percent of its management team.
In a statement, Caravana said that Cho Ventures will help it become a “premiere sustainable lifestyle brand,” by expanding into new product categories, verticals, and global markets, as well as assisting with the development of new strategic partnerships.
Tony Cho, founder of Cho Ventures, said in a statement: “Our investment goes beyond fuelling Caravana’s strategic growth, as our values align with a focus on making a positive impact; celebrating and promoting indigenous cultures, rituals, and women; and emphasising the importance of sustainability.
“I have known Caravana’s founder Jack for many years and consider him a visionary. He sets the example our investment strategy aims to amplify, and together we will make Caravana a benchmark sustainable lifestyle brand.”
Cho Ventures invests in Caravana and helps launch new brand Prao with Marios Schwab
Jack Ianniello, founder and creative director of Caravana, added: “Caravana is a lifestyle brand that caters to those seeking a more mindful approach in creating a future that benefits the individual, the collective, and the planet itself through sustainability and acknowledging culture and artistry.
“Cho Ventures understands the necessity of protecting the environment and the importance of cultural connectivity. Their support lends Caravana the ability to further grow our community globally and improve the world around us. With Cho Ventures, our efforts continue for a brighter future for the next generation and to inspire them to continue a legacy of sustainable living.”
The investment also acts as a catalyst for Caravana to launch new brand Prao, a fashion brand created by Ianniello and fashion designer Marios Schwab to capture the spirit of modern Greece in collaboration with Noema, a newly opened restaurant and bar in the old town of Mykonos.
2021 has been described as a “defining” year for Caravana, with new store openings in Miami, Ibiza, St Tropez, and Bodrum. It has also developed a Bazaar retail concept with partner Scorpios in Mykonos. The Scorpios Bazaar now has a 3,000 square foot Berber tent that showcases a selection of artisanal brands that share similar core values of ancient craftsmanship and sustainability. Caravana is also available at more than 55 retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, Net-A-Porter, Farfetch and its own online store.
In addition, the investment made possible through Cho Ventures Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF), will also allow Caravana to open its US headquarters in Miami’s Little Haiti community. They will join other Cho Ventures portfolio companies in a new, state-of-the-art office location being renovated and slated to open in Q2 2022 within a Qualified Opportunity Zone, an incentive programme from the US government to revitalise underserved communities by creating jobs and economic development.
Financial details of the investment have not been disclosed.
Cho Ventures is the family office arm of Tony and Ximena Cho, focusing on strategic venture capital investments in the areas of sustainable technology, conscious fashion, impact hospitality, health and wellness, and other value-aligned investment opportunities.