Maria Cano, founder, and CEO at CANUSSA tells us about ethical vegan fashion.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Maria Cano: Fortunately, all the members of my family are doing well, thanks!
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded CANUSSA.
Maria Cano: I’m Maria, an experienced manager and leader with over 20 years’ experience in senior roles within IT, Electronics, and Automotive industries. In 2017 I finished my EMBA at Esade and subsequently created an exciting start-up business in the fashion industry, Canussa. Canussa was created to address a market gap, to design fashion items with positive environmental and social impact.
I was passionate first and foremost in creating stylish, practical, and quality items, while at the same time respecting the environment and its people. I wanted to go a step further, working on innovation, creating a circular fashion brand, collaborating with like-minded people and companies, and having a real positive impact on our world. In addition to growing Canussa, I want to share my passion for the positive change we’re having. I’ve done this with my appearance on webinars, news media, and collaboration with universities/business schools. Sharing my experience in impact entrepreneurship and the circular economy is an important next step for me in growing our brand and affecting real change.
How does CANUSSA innovate?
Maria Cano: At Canussa we are innovating a sustainable fashion by creating long-lasting and timeless accessories and footwear with minimal environmental impact and with a positive social impact in Spain.
We are currently working to become circular. We aim to use high-quality recycled and vegan textiles and we are now working to regenerate our product after consumption. We do all of it in Spain creating jobs and producing responsibly.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Maria Cano: The Covid pandemic has had a terrible impact on the fashion industry. Before the pandemic, most of our sales were at stores, so the pandemic had a huge negative impact as most stores closed for months and we lost some of them. On the other hand, it is difficult to keep innovating in this situation as the priority is to survive as a business.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Maria Cano: We took the pandemic as an opportunity to boost our digital presence. The pandemic has forced us to put our energies in sustainable marketplaces and our eCommerce. We also decided to not stop innovating and we have kept developing new projects and working towards circularity.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Maria Cano: I am a software engineer and have worked remotely for many years so to me it was not difficult to adapt to this new situation, but definitively I had to adapt to work 100% remotely and as we decided to focus our energy on digital channels, so I had to improve my knowledge in digital marketing.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Maria Cano: Within the fashion industry there is huge competition. If we look at competitors any brand that produces accessories and footwear could be a competitor, which means we are competing with many brands. There are also more and more brands that are willing to be sustainable, but from a sustainable point of view, Canussa is a truly sustainable brand and there are very few brands that have managed to work as much as we have in achieving such a positive impact.
Your final thoughts?
Maria Cano: The pandemic has been a challenge for many entrepreneurs, but we have decided not to let this situation stop us from innovating and growing, even if it means making an additional effort.