Small Business

Charitable clothing: Palm Era founders donate 10 percent of profit for global water

Palm Era merchandise is being sold at Miami’s Tier Zero Ekin store.
Palm Era merchandise is being sold at Miami’s Tier Zero Ekin store. For the Miami Herald

Growing up, Andres Restrepo was taught by his family to give back to others.

When his cousins, Camilo and Santiago Jaramillo, 20, approached him with the idea of starting a fashion brand named Palm Era, he agreed and suggested that they should include a charity factor to the business.

“We were always raised to [be helpful]. If you are doing OK yourself, and you have the opportunity to help someone else, why not?” said Restrepo, 26, who lives in Orlando.

Palm Era is a clothing line that donates 10 percent of the profit from its sales to Charity Water, a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing clean drinking water to sub-developed countries.

With less than a year since it was founded by Restrepo and his two Miami cousins, Palm Era clothing has already been seen on celebrities at award shows and internationally. Puerto Rican singers Nicky Jam and Valentino, as well as Piso 21 member David Escobar Gallego have all been spotted wearing the Palm Era logo.

The idea for the brand began in late 2014.

Encouraged by their older cousin Andres, the Jaramillo brothers decided to pursue their love for fashion by starting a clothing line. Through brainstorming sessions, the name Palm Era stood out. The word palmera, which is Spanish for palm tree, was given a twist by separating it into two: palm and era. Later a logo was created into what Camilo described as something simple and chic: a vertical stick, with two crossed sticks at the top.

Restrepo, who enjoys being involved in many projects, graduated from Florida International University in 2013 with a degree in accounting and works in the finance department of a hotel. He joined the project in early 2015, following an evening during which he and his cousins gathered to watch a TV show that spoke about the lack of water in a region of Colombia.

They watched 200 Horas Conviviendo La Sed Wayúu, a documentary streamed by Colombian news station RCN Noticias, on the extreme drought in La Guajira, a region of the South American country where the indigenous Wayúu tribe lives and many are shown in daily struggles such as walking hours at a time to find water in order to survive.

Being Colombian, they all felt shocked and helpless, and the idea to donate to the cause was brought up.

Restrepo joined his cousins’ Miami-based venture, confident that his knowledge of business and marketing would help in launching Palm Era and linking it to charity.

“For now, our main goal is to help those out in Africa and Colombia and any country that needs water,” Camilo Jaramillo said.

In May 2015, Palm Era became a registered clothing line. It started with 10 products: three crew-neck shirts, one Henley, two tank tops, two V-necks and two hats, all incorporating the logo symbolizing a palm tree.

Some days after receiving their first stock of merchandise, the founders attended a meet-and-greet in Miami with reggaeton singer Nicky Jam, whom they all look up to. They gave him a bag with Palm Era clothes and a note explaining their mission as a company.

A few days later, the artist was wearing the T-shirt while in New York City. He has also worn Palm Era at Premios Tu Mundo 2015 and in one of his music videos.

“It was a great moment for us,” Camilo said. “We never thought we were gonna see someone like Nicky Jam wearing it. It was awesome that he actually wore it and represented us.”

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What: Palm Era Clothing