I welcome Paola Zapana to The Hall of Bolivian Fame!
Tatiana Sanabria reports for Pagina Siete:
Boliviana, a pioneer in the export of alpaca clothes for dogs
Paola Zapana PUG Pet Fashion launched in 2005, inspired by her “daughter” Daisy, to sell to the U.S. and Europe.
The softness of alpaca wool and colorful design aguayo longer a luxury exclusive to humans. Led by Paola Zapana, pets can also wear stylish and comfortable couture clothing, prepared with these traditional fabrics of the country as an export product required by the European and American market.
Coats, kangaroos, jackets, jumpers, dresses, vests and vandanas part of the collection of PUG Pet Fashion, a company established in 2005 by the Bolivian entrepreneur, a pioneer in designing and making clothes for canines with national identity.
The idea to create this line of fashion inspiration arose from Margarita, an English cocker spaniel, who nursed and consented as a daughter since she came into her arms, in 2004.
Without many options on the market to dress, Zapana chose to order clothes online; however, the quality and the finished models do not convince, so she decided to create innovative, practical and suitable for the coat and movement of dogs clothing.
“From the beginning the idea was to export, so I made a business plan, pilot testing and acceptance of the first collection, and closed contract with large companies interested in the product,” says the businesswoman.
In these years she made eight collections, each with an average of 15 different items. These are made later this year to present its customers catalogs and make clothes as ordered and on market preference.
The coats come in dark colors or combining whole alpaca with fake fur; models also do not lack the delicate embroidery, sequins and buttons showy or colorful striped sweaters with designs.
Not to neglect the domestic market, produces 1,500 Zapana suits a year, mostly polyester and acrylic. While export can reach up to 3,000 copies per year requiring greater care in the quality of the product.
“The clothes are for a Chihuahua or a Great Dane. Carvings But most requested to me are those of S, M and even XXXS in the U.S., because they have very large animals,” she says.
In addition to the designs, is responsible for selecting the fabrics and make the first pieces for the catalog. The rest of the work is done by a group of women who saw in their free time, not to neglect the work of their homes.
Although received many accolades for her creations, she also had to deal with people not only copying her models, but offering a lesser price and quality. This competition of Chinese industry that continues to expand worldwide adds.
This drawback, however, falls far short of an event that changed her life. After giving birth to her first child in 2011, Zapana noticed she had an unusual skin problems on her face and, according to Chilean specialists, was allergic to dog hair.
“It broke my heart because I had to give up Margarita for adoption. It was hard because it was my daughter, I slept with her and even fed her with a spoon,” she says in a broken voice.
With so many difficulties, the same year she thought of leaving this business that had given her so much satisfaction. However, their biggest customers in the United States asked her to continue to export because their clothes were still in demand. And so she did.
A couple of years later, she learned that his little pet had passed away in her sleep. This news, although initially filled with sadness, also gave her the consolation of knowing that she had not suffered to reach the end of their life.
With that thought, Paola Zapana continues the legacy that began with Margarita. “What excites me about Pet Fashion is that people began to realize their animals now realize their needs and respect. Everything I did was based on the love of my dog. That this has been expanded in this way, it is only an addition”, concludes.
Studies. Paola Zapana studied commercial engineering, holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and currently is pursuing another in international trade.
Achievements. For her career, was chosen among the 10 Latin Women Promise from the magazine Poder y Negocios [Power and Business] from Chile and Cosas Internacional, a distinction that reflects the support she provides to her workers.
“What excites me about Pet Fashion is that people began to realize for their animals.” Paola Zapana, Bolivian entrepreneur.