Many of you are familiar with Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry collection. It's beautifully and consistently made. For many years now, you can count on us delivering exactly what you assume you will receive. Being able to do that didn't happen overnight. When I first jumped in and started my business, things didn't always happen so smoothly. Let me share some stories here and on some future posts.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was working a corporate job at MGM/UA when I first decided to explore business opportunities in Guatemala. Initially I was focused on starting a business offering home decor items. After my initial trip to Guatemala, I knew I wanted to keep at it.
You won't believe, but you must, a few of the serendipitous situations that resulted in my decided to jump ship and leave my position at MGM/UA. Believe it or not, I learned that my boss intended to promote me on the very day I offered my resignation. It was an easy decision. At that point, I'd already garnered a large order from a prestigious department store.
There were other events that might have deterred me from continuing. I previously mentioned that when I started my business, Guatemala was in the midst of civil war, something that I clearly ignored. Guatemala is most known for artisan made textiles and weaving. My hope was to offer traditional designs and also modern takes on traditional designs. With this in mind, Ray had a Guatemalan friend, Linda who was a teacher in a village above Ciudad Vieja, not far from Antigua. If you were brave enough to visit Guatemala in the late 80s, Ciudad Vieja was on the tourist route. Ray thought his friend might introduce me to some of her student's mothers and they could create weavings for me to offer in the States. With this in mind, we drove to the village located in the volcano foothills, where I met with some of the mothers. I had a series of questions. "How long does it take to make a placemat?" "Can you create custom designs?" "What is the cost?" After a lengthy discussion about possibly working together, we told the women we'd be back in 10 days to learn their answers. No pressure.
Which carried more weight? A big order or a threat on my life? It seems the desire and promise of building a business won. I worked laboriously, making many mistakes and accomplishing some wins. I carried on. I do wish I had had a mentor early on, which I never did. I learned by trial and error and a lot of hip shooting. It was hand to mouth for me for several years. But in the end Dunitz & Company, my fair trade business succeeded. Stay tuned for more stories. I have plenty of them. -ND