Katie Lorenz, UW-Madison School of Business Alumna, founded CAMPO Alpaca in 2017 after an inspiring trip to Peru with her family in 2016. Lorenz saw an opportunity to provide the infrastructure for women to use their technical skills to create retail products that would sell in the United States. Embodying the Wisconsin Idea, Lorenz went back to Peru in 2017 to conduct research, eventually establishing CAMPO Alpaca as her passion project in the same year.
What was your first job?
I taught people how to swim. I specialized with swimmers on teams or people who were afraid of water. My first Job out of college was as a Strategy Analyst at a global consulting firm.
Tell us about Campo and what inspired to create it?
Campo is a social impact fashion brand. We create high quality alpaca apparel in Peru for niche markets in the USA. We follow fair trade principles and believe that ethical fashion and transparency in sourcing is critical in order to change the retail industry in which so many companies are doing more harm than good. We also believe commerce opportunities and education are the keys to breaking the cycle of poverty. This is what we do!
Campo came to be over time. My first trip to Peru was in 2014. I remember visiting the open air markets packed with fruits, veggies, meat, local food stalls, and then all of the clothing, decor in vibrant colors. I met women their who were knitting, weaving and selling some of the alpaca clothing that I quickly became obsessed with. This was the start of Campo I just didn't know it yet.
Fast forward 2 1/2 years I loved parts of my job, but was lacking fulfillment and feeling like I was doing something good to positively impact the world. I began searching for my next adventure. Campo came up as I went through old journals that I kept from my travels to Peru. I had begun drawing Campo products back then I just didn't know what they were for. Between that and my Badger Fanaticism I realized a gap and opportunity in the market... high end, fair trade collegiate apparel. This is where Campo got started. We are growing grass roots from UW-Madison and expanding to other colleges this year and next. Our hope is to engage both alumni and college students in our mission for fair trade and ethical business.
Where do you turn for inspiration?
Peruvian culture and the people who we work with: It's an amazing country with beautiful mountains, jungles, beaches, deserts, and more. Further the culture of people is kind, driven, welcoming, and community focused. The people that I have the honor of working with are so community focused, supporting them means supporting everyone around them. When people and businesses function this way this is how opportunities happen and how the cycle of poverty is broken one person at a time. This is my main inspiration.