Remember the first time you came down? Did you ever imagine we'd be where we are now?
Of course I did!
I smile at Horacio and tell him so.
He’s right, of course; we’ve faced an uphill battle. Building a scaleable, investable business around principles other than profit maximization was never going to be easy. But our team relishes the challenge. We embrace being different.
Now, 18 months after first stepping foot in Horacio’s shop, I’m back.
A few things are the same — cowboy boots line the walls, Felipe sews uppers, lasts are strewn across the floor — but most things are new.
Our NYC designer is arriving next week. We’ve sold over 800 pairs of shoes in the nine months since launching. We’re building our own workshop to centralize production.
It’s always somewhat surreal returning to Guatemala. I keenly remember my first visit in 2013, traveling up from Honduras to renew my 90 day visa. I remember thinking how beautiful Antigua was, sitting in the central park, talking with locals.
Now, Guatemala feels like home. In fact, the entirety of Central America feels like home.
As always, I’m stoked to be back.
I’ll be here for eight weeks, working with Horacio and Bob to perfect our product, build a team of in-house craftsmen, and generally put in place a production system that turns around made-to-order shoes in two to three days. Our craftsmen are our greatest asset, and working with them to achieve a common goal across cultural and language barriers is always a blast.
We’re moving fast, perhaps faster than ever before (and we’re always moving fast). But it’s never difficult to pause and appreciate the beauty of travel and entrepreneurship, regardless of the challenges and opportunities flying around.
Horacio has a saying: He who doesn’t risk doesn’t gain.
I’ll roll the dice every time when it means another day chasing greatness in paradise.