Killasumaq by Aida Stenholm – Peruvian ethnic shoes

Killasumaq by Aida Stenholm, Peruvian handmade ethnic shoes. Eco-fashion and sustainable fashion brand. The name “Killasumaq” means “beautiful moon” in Quechuan, the language spoken in that region of Peru.

Aida Stnenhom mixed Peruvian wonderful clothes with high-quality leather to make her first design which inspired the rest of her collection.

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➢ Can you tell me about more about you as designer? Making shoes has been a dream of mine since I was a child. My first design was around ten years old in Peru using twine and cardboard. Needless to say, the quality wasn’t quite up to snuff.

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➢ Why did you get into the fashion industry? My home country of Peru has long been used by international companies because of low costs, high quality materials, and expert craftsmen to produce all sorts of clothing and foot ware. But while visiting with my family I noticed a bunch of local brands that struggled with quality. Even though the best materials are available locally, they were using sub-standard material to save costs. I thought, “I think I can do this better” so my family and I moved to Lima for a few months while I took some design classes and got my project up and running.

Once I got back to the USA, I started creating a web site and marketing my product. This was by far the biggest challenge for me, personally. I don’t have much of a technological background so I’m still learning.

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➢ What inspired you to start this business? I think my products stand out from others because I travel high up into the Andes to find the highest quality and most traditional materials in my native Peru. The families have been using the same techniques to make these fabrics for centuries. I take that quality and hand make each shoe to ensure my quality standards are upheld consistently. This reduces the volume that I can do but for my business to work, quality has to be the primary focus. We’ll have to worry about scale later.

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➢ Is this your first business? This is my first business in the United States but I’ve been entrepreneurial for my entire life. I started several little businesses while growing up in Peru. Of course that didn’t help me learn about sales taxes, operating agreements, legal notices or a formal accounting and reporting systems, or any of the other myriad of challenges to running a business in the US.

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➢ Who are your customers? My target customer is the consumer that appreciates uniqueness and quality above name. That person tends to be middle aged and professionally successful with a family (demands comfortable footwear).

➢ What are your expectations for the future? My expectations are to put my brand into select boutiques around the world. I would never want to saturate a market like the big designers but I’d love to find partners with people who have the same appreciation for art/design/comfort and I have. I’m thinking of one or two shops in each region.

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➢ How many collection do u have? Right now, I have two collections. One is highlighting the traditional fabrics of Peru and the other is utilizing high quality leather. Thus far, my inspiration has come from a combination of my native culture and my personal tastes of what I would like to wear. In the future, who knows where inspiration will come from. I may expand these two collections or I may create new ones from a new muse.

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➢ Where can we buy your brand? Right now, my brand is only available on www.killasumaqshoes.com and a couple of small boutiques in Lima, Peru.

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