A quiet moment early in the morning at my desk — this is how I start most of my days at the helm of Manos Zapotecas. We all work at home, our small administrative staff as well as our growing production team in Oaxaca. Even after 3 years of amazing development, we still all work at home with a “virtual office” through technology.
This past year has been like a traditional Mexican “quinceanera”, a coming out party for a 15 year old girl who is now considered an adult. MZ has come out, and the fashion world, as well as the fair trade world, has come to recognize us as a brand that is sought after for beauty, quality, and fairness. Our growth in sales has exceeded our expectations, and whenever we go to a show now, people are looking us and for the amazing new patterns and colors that our indigenous designers have invented.
Most gratifying to me this past year has been the development and gelling of our staff. Even though we rarely see each other, we are still a supportive team all pulling in the same direction. We manage to climb mountains together because of our dedication to each other and to making the company successful. Most of us were together at the recent Fair Trade Federation conference, and it was like a family reunion, except that some were actually meeting face to face for the first time. I believe our commitment to each other and MZ grew even more.
So, when I stop long enough to take a breath and reflect, even though MZ is the biggest challenge of my long life (and getting longer!), it is clearly the best and most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.