In episode 227 of Total Retail Talks, Executive Editor Joe Keenan interviews Annie Hurlbut, founder and CEO of Peruvian Connection, an internationally renowned brand for luxury Peruvian textiles and fibers. Listen in as Hurlbut discusses the company's 43-year history, how the brand sources fibers from artisans in Peru, and its commitment to environmental sustainability. Peruvian Connection's core fiber is alpaca, and Hurlbut shares that that the material comes from one of the most environmentally-friendly fiber-producing animals on the planet.
Hurlbut explains how Peruvian Connection's authentic story resonates with socially-conscious millennial and Gen-Z shoppers, as well as how the design and location of each Peruvian Connection store is carefully selected to embody the spirit of the brand. Furthermore, she details how important it is for shoppers to be able to touch and feel the fabrics of the Peruvian Connection's collection, and how online channels have helped create a seamless experience for customers. Lastly, Hurlburt discusses her plans to dive further into digital marketing, how catalog marketing is evolving, and what's next for Peruvian Connection.
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. While looking for a present for her mother’s upcoming 50th birthday, a beautiful sweater caught her eye — a soft alpaca sweater coat, trimmed with long alpaca fur — and she couldn’t resist buying it. Soon after, 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. The company’s eight retail stores offer five collections per year of artisan-made, luxury fiber apparel. 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. Two fibers, alpaca and pima cotton, remain constant threads throughout each collection as the company continues to support and preserve Peru’s most luxurious natural fibers.