At Peru Pima, It’s All in the Family
This family-owned textile brand from Peru is making it in America—all by word of mouth.
Family-owned linen company Peru Pima makes exceptionally soft sheets in a local garment factory from 100% Peruvian Pima Cotton. Based in Lima, Peru, this small business is buoyed by two generations of entrepreneurship in the textile space. And the Varon family is committed to honest, ethical production coupled with traditional Peruvian craftsmanship. Quiddity spoke with Peru Pima’s CEO Daniel Varon about the company’s recent emergence into the American market, Peru’s culture of artisanship, and what family-owned really means.
Tell us a bit about the early days of your brand. Why was Peru Pima started?
This story goes back to my grandfather who moved to Peru from Turkey in search of a better quality of life. He started a textile business, which then was carried on by my father, but due to economic struggles, the company had to be closed down. I carried on [my father’s] entrepreneurial spirit and love of textiles with Peru Pima.
Peru Pima is a manufacturing company that began as a B2B (business to business) organization. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that we explored the possibility of selling products directly to customers.
Peru Pima is a family-based company. How does this contribute to your overall brand identity?
It provides a form of community among all employees in the organization. Many of them worked with my father in his last business. We all care for each other and it is not until we grow as a whole that the organization will succeed.
You are entirely vertically-integrated. Why do everything in-house?
Initially we were not entirely vertically integrated. As we grew, we started adding production processes to Peru Pima. This provided us flexibility for any specification a customer needed while also reducing costs.
What are the key characteristics of Peruvian Pima cotton?
The key characteristics of Peruvian Pima cotton are its long staple cotton fibers, which produce very thin yarns that are still strong and durable. This translates into exceptional softness and incomparable color absorbency.
How are Peru Pima products reflective of Lima and Peruvian culture at large?
Our products reflect Lima and the Peruvian culture at large in the sense that manufacturing in Peru is very high quality. If you go to any market in any small town around Peru, you will become fascinated by the artisans and their exceptional work.
We are a brand where the product speaks for itself.
You do very little advertising, at least in the US. How do customers come upon your brand?
We do not do any advertising at all. We are a brand where the product speaks for itself. We have been reached by publications such as Quiddity and GQ, and we are very surprised since we have been in the U.S. market for only 2 years. There is a lot to explore and grow. For now we are learning and understanding how U.S. consumers think and desire the products that we create.
How have online retail giants like Amazon and bedding startups like Parachute impacted your business?
Before entering the U.S. through Amazon, we had no penetration. So in that sense, Amazon has helped us place our right foot on U.S. soil and think about expansion through other channels. For the moment, we only sell on Amazon. In the long run, we will expand our online business channels while maintaining a relationship with Amazon due to its high affluence and traffic of consumers.
Beyond sheets, you produce a range of towels and bathrobes. Any plans to venture into additional categories?
We do sell towels and bathrobes (as well as some other industrial products such as fabric for mattresses) but we have not entered the U.S. market with those items. As we grow our brand in the U.S., we definitely want to expand our product catalog to other bed and bath linen products.
What steps do you take to maintain an environmentally-conscious business?
We comply with all government standards to treat our water residues. We have an in-house water treatment plant to eliminate any harmful chemicals going back into the sewer. We also reuse our waste or resell it as raw materials to other businesses.
Frances Thomas is a writer based in New York City. She recently graduated from NYU.