In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Senior Content Strategist Ashley Chiaradio interviews Annie Hurlbut, founder and CEO of Peruvian Connection, an internationally renowned brand for luxury Peruvian textiles and fibers. Listen in as Hurlbut discusses her inspiration for founding the brand, her discovery of Alpaca fibers and the native cultures of Peru, and how she’s been able to keep the company authentic and true to its roots while growing and evolving.

Hurlbut shares how Peruvian Connection is adapting to challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, including running rare promotions and enhancing customer communications explaining why the brand’s small-batch production is unique and sustainable. Hurlbut discusses the brand’s upcoming expansion into bedding, why a collaborative leadership style has been essential during this health crisis, and what she would have done differently if she had known the COVID-19 pandemic would happen. Lastly, Hurlbut shares how her network has helped support her journey as a startup CEO and how the strong leadership team at Peruvian Connection serve as support and mentors for her.

While researching anthropology in Peru, Annie Hurlbut fell in love with the extraordinary hand-woven mantas and ponchos that she discovered in the markets of Cuzco. Annie and her mother, Biddy, began a business importing sweaters together. Annie designed and produced the products in Peru, and Biddy sold them from their farm in Kansas. And with that, Peruvian Connection was born. Since launching in 1976, Peruvian Connection has grown into an internationally renowned online, catalog and brick-and-mortar brand. Since the first alpaca sweater, the original vision remains: to be the industry leader in exceptional, artisan-made apparel. Each piece is a celebration of ethnographic textiles from around the world, made by skilled Andean artisans whose art form will continue to be a time-honored tradition with Peruvian Connection.

Date: April 14, 2020

Credits: Annie Hurlbut

Duration: 15:07