Personal identity often comes from the clothes we wear, the friends we interact with and the activities that we are involved in. Just like in the way clothes can describe someone, clothes you wear can show how people see the world. Kaya Unite is a board and man-powered sport themed clothing company based in Chile. The company’s aesthetic incorporates nature surfaces, which include snow, sea, wind and earth.
Sebastian Lavin is a student in Bellevue College’s marketing management program, and plays a significant role on the Kaya Unite production team. “I think marketing will help me reach the people, share my ideas, market, advertise, provide great customer service and improve the company,” said Lavin, indicating his choice of classes at BC. He continued, “I’m the number guy, and I manage logistics. My job is to go everywhere, take pictures and make videos.” Lavin sees his duration of study at BC as the perfect opportunity to expand business opportunities for Kaya Unite.
As stated on the Kaya Unite homepage, the company’s philosophy is to “focus on board and man-powered sports with exclusive designs and high quality standards. Kaya promotes earth awareness and a positive vibes lifestyle; inspired by African roots, culture and music.”
“I joined the team three years ago, which was started by my friend Vicente Santa-Cruz in Chile. Kaya Unite represents his personality. He’s a skateboarder, snowboarder and he appreciates African Blues music,” remarked Lavin on his association with the company.
Lavin has brought the philosophy of Kaya Unite to new life at Bellevue College and in the Seattle area. “Nowadays, everything is about phones and technology, and we forget about the beautiful things around us. That’s what we try to share.” The Kaya Unite team meets with skateboarders to talk about the sport and their lifestyle. “Sometimes, the people we meet don’t have money for boards, so we help them. We’ll say ‘Ride with us’ be ‘Kaya Unite.’” Kaya Unite uses the donation mentality practiced by the shoe company, TOMS. When buying merchandise from Kaya Unite, the profits are used give those in need clothing or sports equipment.
Lavin thinks Seattle is a place where Kaya Unite can thrive as a brand. “Seattle is the perfect place for it. You go outside and everything around you is green. People practice sports and visit trails. Seattle residents are also very respectful to the environment,” said Lavin. Kaya Unite is an eco-friendly company, selling items that are made of 100% recyclable materials.
“If I could be honest, other brands seem like they just glamorize the ‘give me money’ request. At Kaya Unite, we don’t sell t-shirts and clothing; we sell the experience, which is why I think we have been successful,” said Lavin. With a consumer based economy, its important to take control of your purchasing power. Those who invest in the Kaya Unite should expect empowerment to show their appreciation for the environment, go skateboarding and search for “good vibes” in the world. For more information about Kaya Unite, visit facebook.com/kayaunitenorthwest.