Caramba’s founders Cristian Arostegui G. and Adam Gilmer met when their first kids were born, and it wasn’t long before Arostegui’s passion for furniture and design and Gilmer’s love for building businesses led to them starting Caramba.
“It was a perfect match,” says Arostegui who had been running his high-end furniture business, Arostegui Studio, since 2014.
Many friends, including Gilmer, had told Arostegui that they would love to purchase his products but they were priced too far outside of their budgets. This inspired him to come up with a new, more affordable concept.
“I showed some initial sketches to Adam [Gilmer],” recalls Arostegui. “Once he got involved, the idea turned into reality.”
The name Caramba was inspired by a trip back to Arostegui’s native Chile. “While travelling in early 2019, I saw an ice cream store called ‘Caramba Helados’, and it was done, I loved the name,” he says.
Since the inception of his design studio, Arostegui has always focused on creating high-quality, long-lasting furniture. “I do not find the purpose in creating something that will only last a few years then will end up in the landfill. That feels wasteful in many ways,” he says.
“If we were going to create flat-pack furniture, it had to be done with high-end materials that would last for years."
And it was important for Arostegui to bring the same purpose and objectives to Caramba. “If we were going to create flat-pack furniture, it had to be done with high-end materials that would last for years,” he adds.
Since the company produces its own products, they can keep costs down and quality up, ensuring its furniture can stand the test of time and live with you for years — “even through a move.”
“Since the initial idea was to offer nice designs with a streamlined fabrication process at an affordable price point, my approach was to create minimalist pieces,” says Arostegui, who took inspiration from Scandinavian, mid-century modern and Japanese styles to create Caramba’s own unique aesthetic.
From his experience running Arostegui Studio, he’d also learned that labour is the most expensive part of the manufacturing process. So the simpler it's designs, the more affordable they could make their products to consumers and the more budget they could allocate to sourcing high-end materials.
Each item Caramba makes is made using sustainably-sourced 1-inch European birch plywood. The wood is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified, meaning its products and harvested in an environmentally friendly way.
The business is based in Victoria, BC, Canada, and supporting the local community is incredibly important to Caramba.
“It's quite special to see that while Caramba grows, our local partners do as well,” says Arostegui. “We hope that little by little we will be creating more job opportunities in Victoria.”
“It is quite special to see that while Caramba grows, our local partners do as well."
Almost every aspect of Caramba’s business is handled locally, from manufacturing and accounting to website management and copywriting. “By working with local people, it is easier to find like-minded people that share a similar vision and philosophy for the company,” adds Arostegui.
With so much of its supply chain in the city, it means Arostegui can be hands on at every stage of the process. “It makes it much simpler to prototype, test designs, and make modifications,” he says.
There’s also an environmental benefit to keeping so much of its business in Victoria, helping to reduce Caramba’s carbon footprint and the distance each item has to travel throughout the manufacturing process.
Caramba’s mission, Arostegui says, “is to create value for our customers by offering simple and beautiful furniture that will last many, many years and can be easily assembled in minutes.”
Caramba offers a range of tables, desks, seating and decor. It’s home office bundle is particularly popular and includes three of its best-selling home office pieces in one simple bundle at an attractive 20% discount.