Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kismet & Our Peruvian Flowers

I love telling the story of how I met James. James is the artisan who creates our lovely colorful (and fair trade) sheepskin flower pins and barrettes.
I was vacationing in Cusco in 2011. While perusing a small shop, I found a bowl of the cutest little leather flower pins and purchased one.  (Heck, I was wondering if I could take this small gem to Guatemala and make something similar out of fabric.)
Later that day, I was meeting a friend of mine for lunch who had been doing business in Peru for many years.  He invited a friend of his, Pepe to join us.  As it turns out, Pepe works with the Peruvian government to help artisans develop their businesses.  You might be guessing where this is heading.  But, I tell you, you cannot guess the final punch line.  I showed Pepe my flower.  He said "I think I know who made that flower but I haven't seen this artisan for 7 or 8 years.  Where did you find it?"
I dragged Pepe and my friend to the tienda where I had purchased the flower. Pepe asked the owners if the flowers had been made by James.  After learning in fact it had, the store owners gave Pepe the number where James could be reached.
Ding Ding Ding. "James, It's Pepe. Oh dear!  You no longer live in Cusco.  You've moved to Lima. You've fallen on hard times.  Please meet my friend Nancy tomorrow.  She is on her way back to the USA."
Arrangements were made and I met James the very next day in Lima.  But here is the CRAZY punch line!  Jim's flowers were selling nowhere else in Peru - except the very shop I purchased that one tiny flower. Kismet.  Needless to say, I have changed James life these past two years. His beautiful flowers have been selling and selling and selling for Dunitz and Company. And if they're working for us, we know they're selling through at the shops that purchase from us!  Now don't you love this story?  You can see the flowers in the pic attached.  And that's a pic of me with James. - ND