AN ORIGAMI ORIGIN STORY

Hello ! 

With so many changes afoot, we thought we’d take this opportunity to do a little Origami Customs re-introduction. 

Rae in Costa Rica, 2013

A little over a decade ago, Origami Customs was nothing but a twinkle in Rae’s eye. Based out of Honduras, Rae was a one-person-operation customizing swimwear for friends who were seeking options that fit real human bodies. 

 

Rae with friends in the first swimwear photoshoot, Costa Rica, 2012
After landing in Victoria, BC a few years later, Rae became a resource to the queer and trans community who were coming to them for gender affirming items they weren’t finding anywhere else. To this day, Origami Customs is the only company making size inclusive gaffs, which, while it’s something we’re so proud of, is also a gap we wish more companies would try to fill.  

 

Rae in Victoria, 2014

Not surprisingly, the number of customization orders rolling in grew too big for one person to manage alone. At one point, Origami had 300 different options for customization available! The task of training someone to sew that many options just wasn’t feasible. 

That impasse was what drove Rae to decide to cut way back on Origami’s offerings. We eliminated swimwear entirely and scaled back everything but the gender affirming products so that we could focus on what was most important to us. 

This is where Origami’s community program comes in. Probably one of the biggest shifts over the last few years – besides the products themselves – was the move towards forming partnerships with community organizations so we could get gender affirming products to NGOs who would distribute them for low or no cost. 

At the time of writing this, Origami is partnered with fifteen or so NGOs. One of the biggest partnerships is with an organization called Point of Pride that has a transfemme shapewear program with a waitlist for free gaffs. Origami sends them 150 gaffs a month to be redistributed. We’re grateful to have a means of getting our products out to the community in an accessible way.

 

Recipients of the Point of Pride free Transfemme Shapewear Program, seen with the founder, Aydian Dowling

 

For a company that started out making 50 highly customized pieces a month, we are now making somewhere in the realm of 500. We are no longer a one-person operation, we have a team of ten ! And, about a year ago, we onboarded Kita as a manager in the hopes of getting ourselves ready to reintroduce some things to the roster. 

With a background in pattern making and technical high end theater couture, Kita helped Rae download all of the information in their brain and standardize all of Origami’s manufacturing procedures to make them teachable. Together, they successfully scaled Origami’s offerings down to 50% of what was previously on the website so the growing team could focus on making replicable quality products and then build from there.

 

That’s about where the story reconnects with right now. We’re so thrilled to be able to share these pieces of really big news with our community: 

We’ve just added a ready-to-ship section on the website where you can find limited edition pieces, sale, and discontinued stock at up to 40% off. These pieces ship within just a few days, allowing you to skip the (admittedly) very long wait time!

We’ve also completely overhauled the binder patterns, bettering the fit, functionality and comfort. Two new styles were even added to the range – the Side-Open Mesh Half Binder, and the Mesh Bra Binder. Black and white Mesh are even back in stock!

Finally, Origami Customs is officially reintroducing SWIMWEAR to the mix. We’ve finally been able to finalize and prototype a collection of pieces that fit beyond the limited category of gaffed or not-gaffed. We’re genuinely thrilled to have figured out how to make a collection with a more universal functionality. This is going to be really unique in that way. It's being photographed this month and will be ready for you soon. 

Whether you’re just joining us, or have been here since the beginning, we’re so grateful to this community for showing up in all the best ways. As a company, we’ve grown so much in the last several years, and in many ways, we feel brand new. So, even if we’ve met before, we’re so so glad to meet you and we hope you’ll stay in touch to see what else we’ve got up our sleeves! 

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