One year ago, Jerry and I went to a small town called Choachí for the weekend. We stayed at a cute ecohotel and started working on a business plan for what was temporarily called Tolochko Leather (until we decided that no one would be able to spell or pronounce it).
It's funny to think how many things have changed since we first started this process. We originally thought that we'd only sell men's bags. We thought that we wouldn't build a full online store, but rather would sell through Etsy. We had no clue what we were doing.
That weekend, we debated the principles to put in our mission statement. How much could we strip down until we were left with just the essentials?
Looking back, we pretty accurately laid out the fundamental aspects of the company. In giving (unsolicited) advice, many people have questioned these principles. "Why don't you use sewing machines?" they ask. "Why don't you work with different people so that you can pay them less?" We didn't start Restrepo Leather to squeeze profits out of local manufacturers. We entered into this because we believed in the quality of strictly hand-made and the people we were working with. And that still holds true, one year later.