Monday, March 19, 2012

Back in America!

It has been about a week since we returned home from Peru. It seems that the world does not stop just because you leave the country. I returned to countless emails and a never ending to do list (which is why this blog post is a week late..)

Peru was amazing! I always say I need a vacation to recuperate from my vacation and when you look at all of the things we saw in that one week you can see why. Doing Business Internationally was a great way to interact with industry members from North Carolina and learn their perspective on global trade. It was also great to be able to see first hand the business that goes on in Peru. Textiles is global. There is no way around that so to be able to see specifically how textiles operates in South America is an opportunity I wouldn't trade for the world. I doubt that I will ever get another opportunity to interact in such a varied and hands on manner. Doing Business Internationally opened my eyes to South America and the growth potential there. I was also able to make excellent contacts! It was a great week with great people. We learned, we laughed and we ate some amazing food but most importantly, we did business and we were successful. 

I would highly recommend this experience to anyone that asks! 

Thank you to everyone involved for such a great trip!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Today we visited the national society of industries who informed us on their clients that they help with exporting goods. They have 1,000 clients and 100 are considered textile companies. While there the president of the company gave us a great presentation. What I took from the presentation was a need for better education for Peruvians to improve human "advancement".


Lunch was quite an experience as well. The group visited a "Chifa" which is a Chinese- peruvian fusion restaurant. It was an older local restaurant that was surprisingly really delicious.

Later on in the day we visited the Lima chamber of commerce on information on freight forwarders and how the import process works in Peru. We touched on the logistic process of customs, physical inspections, and even spanish-english labels.

For dinner the group gathered at a beautiful restaurant below the cliff that sits on the water at the local beach. Excellente indeed!

- Ashley Hardesty

Llama, Llama, Duck! - Friday March 9, 2012

This morning was awesome! We met with a small design firm based here in Lima - Klaud. This is a business started four years ago that does commissioned work for manufacturers or other design firms. It was pretty much the best place ever and I would like to live there. Plus they have wall art to die for. Here´s a link to their website. Check them out!
This afternoon Meghan and I ventured out to the ruins - and to see the LLAMAS or as we like to refer to them, "yamas". These ruins are in the middle of Lima and are surrounded by city. Our guide told us that these pre-Incan ruins used to be much much larger but the people built on top of them. It was quite possibly the coolest thing ever.
They had a section dedicated to the native flora and fauna of Peru. We saw some Pima Cotton and a ton of beautiful flowers. Most importantly there were LLAMAS. Meghan and I were super jazzed about some llama time mainly because we have been singing this song all week.

LLAMA (alpaca)

And here I am with a llama - aka my best friend.

And here is Meghan with a llama.

We had tons of fun exploring the history and the culture of Lima! Katina and Ashley went shopping this afternoon in Kennedy park and bought things from local artesians.

Tonight we went to dinner at a really nice Peruvian restraunt. We were joined by the two ladies we met earlier this week at the US Embassy. One was with US Foreign Services - based in Peru - and the other was with the US Department of Commerce - based in Illinois on temporary assignment in Peru. Dinner was traditional Peruvian food and was delicious! After dinner our fearless leaders - Bill & Fred - gave each of us awards. It was a fun time had by all and a great way to end our trip.

In short, today was a really great day.

We have to be on the bus at 4:30 in the morning to catch our flight back to Miami and then on to RDU. We land in Miami around 1:30 so hopefully we can catch the tail end of the game - GO PACK! It has been a great week. I had no idea what to expect coming into this week but any expectation I had has been blown out of the water. I have learned so much and met lots of great people. I can´t wait to take all that I have soaked up here in South America and let it mold my future.

Adios for now Lima, we will be back!! (and we will see Machu Picchu next time)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wednesday, March 7th 2012

          Woke up this morning and got ready for the day, then had a light breakfast in the hotel restaurant with Hilda, Ken, & John. It has been such a blessing to have all these talented and knowledgeable business people here in Peru with us, learning from them through conversations and being able to watch how they each individually conduct business in person has been a learning experience that could never be mirrored sitting in a classroom.

We got on the bus around 8:30am and rode across town to the Topitop headquarters in Lima. Once we arrived and made it through the gates and security we were brought into a conference room where one of the plant managers greeted us and showed us a video on what Topitop does. He also explained to us where the name Topitop came from, and which brands they manufacture apparel for (including Under Armor, Hugo Boss, Life Is Good, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lane Bryant, Old Navy, The North Face, Hollister, their namesake brands, and many more.) We were fortunate to also have the opportunity to briefly met the owner and founder, Aquilino Flores who recently had a story published about him in the Wall Street Journal (insert link here). After meeting the owner we were given a tour of the manufacturing facility including the dying, finishing, embroidery, printing, & packaging centers. The nice people at Topiop provided everyone in the group with a lovely gift bag & shirt as a parting gift before we got back on the bus and returned to the hotel.
Añadir leyenda

After getting back to the hotel, Ashley, Meghan,  Caitlyn, Mr. Coats, & I went out for lunch where we had some of the most delicious ceviche I have ever tasted. After lunch Mr. Coats returned to the hotel & the ladies & I walked around the shopping center by the waterfront for a bit and then down the avenue along the beach.  It was beautiful!
We saw parasailers and some amazing sculptures along the coast.

Añadir leyenda

 And we even saw wild Guinea pigs too!

After our excursion to the beach we walked back to hotel, stoping to get coffee and to see the stained glass windows at one of the churches on the way back. Knowing we had to make it out to the markets before it was too late we headed back out to shop at the Indian markets for presents and souvenirs. I parted with the group who continued on to see the local water park and returned to hotel exhausted by the long day. Caught up on some homework for my other classes and went to sleep, cant believe we are halfway done with the week and this trip already.

 Time flys when your having fun!

 - Katina Gad

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dia tres!

Wow - what a busy day! We started bright and early this morning at 7:45 and headed to the Camera Comercio de Lima (Lima Chamber of Commerce). Here we heard a lot about the economy, both in Peru and globally, and how the national and global economies impact one another. One quote I remember in particular was from the first speaker, Oscar Chavez, who stated "When the world sneezes, Peru catches a cold" to indiciate just how closely Peru´s GDP is tied to the gobal economy, and how growth in Peru most often means growth worldwide. Even more interesting was speaking with the representative from the CCL for the garment sector and getting information on the textile industry. Here are some fun facts that I did not know:
Peru is the number one clothing exporter in South America.
  • Peru is the number one producer of Alpaca in the world (for those of you who don´t know, an alpaca is like a llama, and their wool is super soft and very luxurious!)
  • Peru exports 60 billion SME of fabric into the US, 40% of which is denim
  • Brands such as Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, A&F, and Aeropostale source from Peru!
Following our meeting with the CCL, we went and met with the American Chamber of Commerce, or AMCHAM. For me, this was the better presentation of the morning - they talked not only about the economy, but also about the country itself. We also had a change to go a little more in depth about some consumer behavior. With a growing middle class, Peruvians are becoming more and more interested in American and European brands. However, rather than pruchase these goods in Lima, Peruvians travel to Miami, which is a typical market for these consumers. Here, they pruchase the goods and bring them back to Peru because of the cache that products from America have.

After our awesome morning meetings, we had to grab a quick lunch to make it to Creditex on time, so we headed to Bembos, the Peruvian "McDonald´s". Though I didn´t get a burger, I have to say that the chicken sandwich I had was better than any I have ever had at McDonald´s. Not to mention, the whole look is very fun...

 ...and there was a gorgeous church right across the street (my favorite part of traveling is seeing all the gorgeous churches across the world):

After lunch, we headed to Creditex, which was definitely my favorite part of the day! I am such a textile nerd - I absolutely loved it. It is so interesting to see the entire process that goes into making, for example, one of the fishing shirts that my dad wears from Cabelas. Since Creditex is vertically integrated, they do every part of the manufacturing. So, starting out with the cotton fiber being mixed, carded, drawn and spun into yarn - we saw the yarn being dyed, the fabric being woven, the pieces cut and sewn, and finally, the garments being checked for quality standards and then being packaged for the retailer, ready to be displayed to the end consumer:

Other companies that Creditex produces for include Lacoste, Carolina Herrara, LL Bean ,an dseveal more. They also work with Cotton Inc., and are using some of the technologies from Huntsman and Clarient that I researched this summer during my internship!

To finsih things up, here is a picture of us with Miguel Ortiz de Zevallos at Creditex (I apologize that we aren´t all looking in the same direction, there were three cameras taking the picture at the same time!):

Now its time for dinner, and hopefully some wine! Adios mis amigos!

Monday, March 5, 2012

AA & US Embassy !! - Monday March 5, 2012

Today was our first industry day and let me just say it is going to be difficult to top! I feel like we have been in Peru for 2 weeks when its really been two days.

We began the morning at American Airlines. They have sponsored our trip and have been very gracious to us throughout the process. They spoke with us about how they do business in Latin and South America. It was very interesting. They focused on how they cater to small and medium businesses and accommodate their needs. They also touched on some of the key differences in doing business in Peru versus the United States. Frank Smith is based in the American Airlines office in New York, met us in Miami and has accompanied us thus far on our journey. He is very knowledgeable and super nice so if anyone needs a contact, hes your man!

We then went to Wong which is best compared to a Target in the US. It was interesting to see the differences in how people shop and how the retail system here works. They also had a corn-mobile. (see below)
We then went to lunch near the US Embassy as that was to be our next stop. We wandered in and waited a while for our food but I was pleasantly surprised. We had an array of lovely appetizers and then I ordered the risotto with cheese and steak and it was quite festive. (see below)
We also got to try the Peruvian corn which looks like our corn on steroids!
After this (too) filling lunch we walked over to the US Embassy. We promptly gave up our phones, cameras and other electronics (my never know?) and entered into the Embassy. We heard from Sheryl Moss and two of her colleagues about the economic and political situation in Peru. It was very interesting and informative. I had no idea the extent to which Peru has developed! I studied abroad in Hong Kong and quickly saw the resemblance in development between Peru and China. The similarities are uncanny and I´d assume they are similar in any developing country - these are just the two I´ve seen up close and personal. Here is a picture of the Embassy! The inside was beautiful as well - Meghan loved the stars on the walls - but unfortunately we were not allowed to document that.
Also, for your viewing pleasure, here is a street sign that we found rather amusing. It might not be to everyone but I thought it was funny.
Also here is Ashley at the ranch yesterday in her very festive hat!

Hope you feel thoroughly informed!
Until next time,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday, March 4th 2012

The first full day in Lima, Peru we were ready to dive in and take in what the country had to offer us. After a light breakfast, we had a brief meeting at 8 a.m. and were out the door by 10. We began the tour of Lima's downtown area. Here we saw old regional buildings with colonial architecture and by surprise ran into a huge group celebrating the last day of carnival.

 After being on foot for 30 minutes, we toured the inside of a classic spanish home that is still lived in to this day by a wealthy spanish family.  Before noon we were able to visit the Rafael Larco Herrerra Museum. This museum inhabits 54,000 hand crafted artifacts, textiles, and jewelry dating back to 700 B.C. While visiting the museum we were amazed by the lower outside feature that displayed an array of botanical flowers, greenery, and beautiful humming birds.  From the museum we took a hour bus ride to another part of lima where we visited Hacienda Mamacona. There we got to ride the Peruvian Paso horses, partook in Peruvian culture through demonstrations of dance, and enjoyed a delicious Peruvian lunch. What a great day!   - Ashley Hardesty

Saturday, March 3rd 2012

So excited to be leaving for Peru today! I finished packing late last night with the help (or was it intentional hinderance) of my Lhasa Apsos, and a good night of sleep before leaving for the airport. Checked the weather in Lima one last time and around 11am was picked up by my sister. After a pit-stop at Best Buy to exchange a memory card for my camera we headed off to the airport.

 So our journey begins! Fifteen of us going on this trip, many of us meeting for the first time today at the gate before getting on the first leg of our American Airlines  flight to Miami. The flight down was rather rough due to the terrible weather, but nobody got sick thankfully. We picked up another passenger in Miami, and after a very short layover got onto our next flight to Lima. I was fortunate on the flight down to Lima to sit next to John Loyack from the NC Department of Commerce who is here with us, and enjoyed talking with as well as picking his brain for input on the research paper I'm currently working on (if you read this John, thank you!)

Six plus hours later we arrived at the Lima airport, picked up our luggage, a few of us exchanged money, and then we headed outside where we were greeted by Our first guide Jose & driver Jimmy. Another 45 minutes later and we were at the hotel; by the time we were checked in and Ashley & I got into our room it was one in the morning & we were exhausted! The hotel Casa Andina, where we are staying, is lovely and the beds are extremely comfortable too. Went to bed before getting a chance to write and post this yesterday, had to rest up for all the excitement that began today here in Peru.

- Katina Gad

Friday, March 2, 2012

T-14 hours until departure!

After a busy couple of weeks, I am finally able to focus on the fact that I’m leaving tomorrow morning for my first visit to South America! There’s something about the anticipation of visiting a new place that always gives me butterflies of excitement the night before, and I definitely have them tonight.

There's definitely been some mental preparation: I've read back over all the information that we've been given, about the cultural events and companies we're going to visit, and I'm truly realizing what an awesome experience this is going to be, both professionally and personally. And of course, I'm going to have to go outside of my box a little bit (which I don't do a lot), especially when it comes to food. Reading over the menu for lunch on Sunday (translated by Google - I might need to spend a little while brushing up on my Spanish on the flight), I was surprised by some of the entrees - chicken hearts, anyone? - and I'm definitely going to have to be a little open-minded when it comes to trying new things!

And then there's the packing part of the preparation. Caitlyn (a fellow student delegate - or SD - who you'll hear from later this week) texted this quote to me last night:

"When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money" - S. Keller

Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to follow this rule: I have $2 cash in my wallet right now, so a trip to the bank is going to be necessary before I head to the airport in the morning. However, as a fashion student, I love clothes - and I like having a closet full of clothes to chose from  - so naturally, I've had outfits hanging in my closet to pack for about a month now. Still, it somehow took me all yesterday morning and today to finally come to a decision on what exactly I wanted to pack. And this is what it came down to: 

As a planner, I've packed an outfit for every day (business), casual outfits (to wear at night/to dinner/touring Lima), five pairs of shoes, and all the essentials, including band-aids, granola bars, and anything else I will probably need (or, to be honest, probably more than I would ever need). I've got my camera, iPod, and Kindle all charged, with two extra memory cards (just in case), updated music, and a new, 1000 page book (Fall of Giants by Ken Follet). And all that means that I can cross off everything on my list!

So now, after four months of planning and anticipation, it's time for the final bit of preparation for a busy week in Peru: a good night's sleep!

Hasta luego!