Illimité: Student Start-Up Supports Entrepreneurs with Micro-Loans

By MEREDITH ROBERTSON

After brainstorming different phrases that encapsulate personal power and potential growth, Julian Lopez ’19 decided upon the French word “illimité” for the name of his recently-launched company. Illimité, which is a clothing and novelty item brand, was created by Lopez in 2019 as a platform to support entrepreneurs in developing countries across the world. For every Illimité product purchased, profit goes toward supporting these business owners. 

The name of the company reflects this idea, as it translates to “unlimited,” which Lopez says represents the unlimited potential of the entrepreneurs that he is supporting. 

So how does it work? When you buy merchandise through the Illimité online store, the proceeds are invested through Kiva.org and used to aid entrepreneurs in the form of micro-loans. When the loans are repaid, the money is put back into the company to break even and then reinvested further. Online, Illimité merchandise ranges from t-shirts and hoodies, to iPhone cases and beach towels. 

“For the most extravagant shoppers I even have a giant beanbag in stock,” laughs Lopez. 

The products are designed with a simple red and black logo, which is reminiscent of the style of popular brand Supreme. 

The idea for this company grew from Lopez’s previous experience as an entrepreneur, designing and selling t-shirts through Redbubble, a platform that enables artists to sell their creations without overhead costs. Like these t-shirts, all Illimité merchandise is similarly produced on-demand. 

During the same time Lopez was designing Redbubble t-shirts last year, he was also enrolled in a class learning about the lack of capital markets in developing countries and the way this hinders entrepreneurs from creating successful businesses and earning a living. After combining these two experiences, the socially-conscious brand was born. 

“My idea really started to take form after learning about the fact that there are companies out there called ‘drop-shippers’ that let you sell items on the spot without having overhead costs, and people in developing countries could really benefit from loans in order to get started or continue running their businesses,” says Lopez. 

At its core, Illimité is a creative way to give back and support others, allowing all those benefiting to have the opportunity to develop their potential in a life-changing way. 

When asked about his future as an entrepreneur, Lopez responded, “I definitely would like to start another project at some time. Hopefully one that is actually profitable, given that Illimité is really more of a personal project. As for Illimité, I’ll probably keep running it as long as I can keep breaking even and it continues to actually help people.”

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Illimité: Student Start-Up Supports Entrepreneurs with Micro-Loans