Building capacity in Peruvian textiles

24 May 2012
ITC News

After 10 years of making knitwear as a subcontractor, Nelly Puertas of Arequipa, Peru, decided to design and market her own collection. In summer 2010, she attended a meeting organized by PromPeru, the Peruvian export-promotion agency, where members of the Peru/Alpaca project team — part of ITC’s Women and Trade Programme — discussed opportunities for small-scale garment makers in the so-called capital of alpaca production to sell their goods abroad. This was the spark she needed.

ITC and PromPeru encouraged Puertas to display her collection — named Alpacolca after alpaca wool and nearby Colca Canyon — at Peru Moda, the annual fashion-industry trade fair in Lima, in 2010, which was the first time she had ever shown her work at a trade fair.

“I was surprised by the interest in my brand and collection,” Puertas said. “I made over 100 contacts at Peru Moda. A deal with Finland has gone through, and I have also negotiated deals with buyers from Brazil, the US, India and France.”

Between September and December 2011, Puertas received advice from designers, attended ITC training sessions on access to the United States market, participated in a major trade event (PROMO) with Peruvian trade representatives, and took part in a training and prospecting mission to Los Angeles.

Puertas now employs four full-time staff in her workshop and brings in contract workers to help with large orders.

With the help of ITC, she is also preparing new designs and samples for two marketing trips in spring 2012: a sales mission to Denmark, organized by PromPeru, and this year’s Peru Moda. “Through training and valuable advice, the project has guided me towards new markets and ways of accessing them, so I can say I have the foundation to keep growing and innovating,” Puertas said. “But it does not end here, because I know I must continue my training and continue to empower others based on the experience I have had.”

Universities as TSIs

ITC’s work with TSIs such as PromPeru includes training staff so that they, in turn, can educate local entrepreneurs. As with many ITC programmes, training TSI employees adds a multiplier component, helping to spread practical knowledge in an effective and sustainable way.

Capacity building for women in business

In 2011, ITC provided support to PromPeru and the American Chamber of Commerce in Peru for providing courses on United States requirements for alpaca clothing and accessories to 24 women business enterprises in Arequipa, which is the country’s second most populous city, as well as Huancayo and Puno. PromPeru will offer additional training to these enterprises in 2012 on assorted export-management topics.

“It is always the objective of ITC to leave a lasting impact — not just a few more export figures, but more local institutional capacity to help exporters,” said ITC Project Manager Bertrand Monrozier. “While ITC’s role in the three-year project is expected to be finished at the end of 2012, there are good indications that PromPeru and other TSIs in the south of the country will have the motivation and increased capacity to continue the job.”