In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Carlos Arias, CEO of Inspired Peru. Inspired Peru sells handmade Peruvian home decor, is owned and run 100% by Peruvian artisans, is based in San Jose, California, and has been in business for eight years. Shop Peruvian decor here.
Robin: Why did you decide to start this business? Why this business and not a different one?
Carlos: I am originally from Peru and both of my parents were artisans, my mother was a weaver and my dad carved different products on wood and gourds. Inspired Peru is who we are, Peruvian artisans.
R: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
C: My father came up with the idea to create a collection of holiday ornaments on gourds and those ornaments were our first product. Since then, we learned what the customer is looking for and also pay attention to trends and colors that are popular.
R: How do you make your product? Yourself? A manufacturer? What’s your process like?
C: We are a community of 34 artisans in different parts of Peru. We all work with different materials according to what is available in the area.
R: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
C: My job is talking to people about Peru and the wonderful things we have to offer, I don’t think there is a better job for me.
R: Where was the first place you started selling your product?
C: Our first time selling was at a trade show in Los Angeles.
R: Where do you sell your product now?
C: Our products are sold in around 400 stores in the United States.
R: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
C: We would love to reach more stores in the United States and in the future start selling in Canada and Europe.
R: Do you have a favorite product? If so, which one?
C: Not really, but I do enjoy playing with and hugging all our alpaca stuffed animals.
R: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of your business?
C: Yes, Instagram has been very useful to growth our business.
R: What are some of your greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with your business?
C: I feel that the greatest achievements for us have been to see how our community is thriving and how our artisans are having a better social and economic status in The Andes of Peru.
R: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
C: I would suggest to sell something that they really love.
R: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
C: The interaction with people and other entrepreneurs. The sky is the limit to create and express who you are as a company having as a background a culture rich in so many different aspects.