Hopping off of a crowded colectivo and walking six or seven minutes away from the Pan-American Highway on the outskirts of Trujillo, Peru quickly leads to the edge of Alto Trujillo, the neighborhood where Juan, his family, and his shop reside. Soundly matching the intriguing personality of Juan, the neighborhood is a little more quaint yet just as lively as some of the others in the area.
Juan is a master of the arts. His ability and resourcefulness go unmatched in Trujillo. To him, “shoemaking is an art that not just anyone can learn.” His early attentiveness to detail and transparency were clear indicators that he would be an incredible encouragement and light to the vision for Nisolo. We couldn’t be happier to have him and his wife, Doña Flor, on our team.
With over a quarter century of experience, Juan began to learn the shoemaking trade at the age of 14 in his father’s shop inside their home. His understanding of quality, consistency, and beauty has proven to influence the Nisolo brand in the most positive manner. For Juan, who says he was “born to be an artist in the world of shoemaking,” if his work isn’t the perfect fit for both the right and left foot, the pair never leaves his shop.
While shoemaking to Juan is liberating and a stimulating escape from the troubles of everyday life, it is also a mode of survival. Juan is an active community leader who envisions a neighborhood free of poverty and all the crime and brokenness that come with it. If you ask him what the greatest need is in his barrio, he’ll quickly tell you “trabajo, la gente necesita trabajo—the people [here] need work.”
Juan says that his three greatest motivations for making shoes are “to provide for my family, offer a quality education for my son, and to create jobs in my shop for people in need in my community.” Juan’s dream for his shop and for Nisolo is to continue growing as an inseparable unit that can continue to have a positive impact on the community. With a prideful smirk on his face, Juan notes that he wants “the whole world to know what kind of quality and beauty comes from the neighborhood of Alto Trujillo.”
We are incredibly thankful for Juan and thankful for you for meeting Juan this Monday!