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This holiday season, we’ve partnered with Peruvian Connection to find out how they prepare
for the holiday season. We interviewed Kay Moini, Vice President of Retail to learn more about
customer expectations, holiday trends and strategies for success. From having their founder
visit their retail locations to tell her story, to providing customer-centered holiday specials and
remaining loyal to their focus on sustainable initiatives, they’ve got it all covered. Read below
Salesfloor: How does Peruvian Connection prepare stores and associates for the holiday season?
Kay Moini, VP Retail, Peruvian Connection:Before the holiday season begins, our store associates participate in an in-depth product review
where they see and touch the upcoming collection, ask questions, and learn the stand-out details
for each piece. Special details seen in our 2019 Holiday Collection, for example, include handpainted
yarns, hand-knit accessories, and sustainably-sourced fur.
Weaving this craftsmanship into our collection is how we’re able to support traditional textile
techniques in Peru while maintaining long-standing relationships with local artisans. Our
associates need to have a solid understanding of this relationship year-round, but it’s
particularly important during the holiday season when we see an influx of new customers.
During the holiday season, we also increase our efforts to make our customers’ lives as easy
as possible. We know they’re under extra pressure, so we try to go above and beyond by
offering to ship products to their home if necessary, provide beautiful gift wrap, and we even
offer one-on-one assistance with gift lists and styling advice. We give customers the ability to
connect with store associates by text, e-mail, live chat or social media to enhance the customer
experience whether online or in-store.
Salesfloor: How do customers’ shopping habits change during the holidays?
Kay Moini, VP Retail, Peruvian Connection:During other times of the year our customers are typically shopping for themselves; however,
throughout the holiday season they’re suddenly juggling shopping lists for anywhere between a
handful and dozens of friends and loved ones. They may exhibit more doubt or confusion over
what to buy the people on their list, so our associates are prepared to educate them about why
our products are uniquely luxurious and who they may be a good fit for.
As we near the end of December, it’s also common to see customers who are more rushed –
they only have a certain number of days to wrap everything up! At this point, we try to be extra
attentive so they’re able to be as efficient as possible. It’s also very important to keep the store
super organized this time of year so that a rushed customer can come inside, quickly find what
they need, and have a positive, stress-free experience.
Salesfloor: What are customers looking for this holiday season: deals, convenience,
Kay Moini, VP Retail, Peruvian Connection:During the holiday season, we have to be prepared to cater to a wide variety of shopping
preferences. Some customers want to attend luxury holiday shopping events – complete with
wine and canapes and the whole experience. Others want to come in, quietly find a few items
on their list, and move on to the next store. To honor these different preferences, we really
increase our listening and provide opportunities for every type of shopper. We also employ
clienteling tools that allow our store associates to deliver personalized service both in store
For the experiential shopper, we enhance the holiday spirit with festive windows, seasonal
music, and we’ll sometimes even serve holiday treats. We want everyone who enters our store
to feel welcome and taken care of. We even provide comfortable seating for those who may
need to take a break and put their feet up!
Our customers are typically looking for unique, luxury gifts that help support artisan communities.
Salesfloor: What are some creative ways you have used to attract consumers/
generate traffic both in-store and online during the holidays?
Kay Moini, VP Retail, Peruvian Connection:We are fortunate to have a deeply inspiring founder, Annie Hurlbut, and this season we’ve been
hosting holiday shopping events that give customers the chance to meet Annie in person and
hear her story. Annie founded Peruvian Connection in 1976 after studying anthropology at Yale,
and she has since dedicated her life to sustaining artisanal textile traditions in Peru. Throughout
this holiday season, Annie will visit some of our retail locations to meet local customers and tell
the brand’s story.
Another way we like to generate in-store traffic is to team up with a local artist or pop-up
brand. For example, we have an upcoming event in London in partnership with a renowned
Peruvian Photographer, José Tio.
We also put a lot of hard work and pride into our window displays, which invite passing
shoppers to come inside and experience the Peruvian Connection world. We make sure that
any current promotions are clearly presented in our windows to help educate those passing
by about current deals worth investigating.
Online, we primarily use weekly newsletters and daily social media posts to promote the new
collection and share current holiday savings, free shipping offers, etc.
Salesfloor: What is the biggest challenge retailers experience during the holidays?
Kay Moini, VP Retail, Peruvian Connection:Because we have a slow fashion model, our biggest challenge is keeping our handcrafted,
artisan-made pieces in stock during such a busy time of year. It takes months of hands-on time
to create some of our signature pieces, so we have to start planning for the holiday season
well in advance. We certainly learned this lesson the year Kate Middleton wore our Vallnord
Alpaca Fur Hat on Christmas day and sales absolutely skyrocketed! We want to make sure that
customers aren’t disappointed if their item of choice is no-longer available, and therefore
last-minute shoppers can always be a challenge for retailers during the holidays.
Salesfloor: Why is it important for your store associates to connect with
customers this holiday season?
Kay Moini, VP Retail, Peruvian Connection:It’s important that our associates connect with customers during the holiday season so
shoppers understand who Peruvian Connection is as a company. Giving associates the tools
to communicate with customers beyond the store (whether by e-mail, text, live chat or other)
helps us achieve this goal.
We pride ourselves in being uniquely made artisan apparel, so each item has an incredible backstory
about how it was inspired by global textile traditions, sourced from the most luxurious
Andean fibers. With this information in hand, our customers will better appreciate our pricing
structure and be more empowered to support a humane and sustainable fashion industry.
Salesfloor: What are some holiday experiences that associates have had that stand
out to you?
Kay Moini, VP Retail, Peruvian Connection:All of our associates’ favorite stories stem from helping customers make memories. We love
making peoples’ wishes come true, and we’ll always go above and beyond for something special.
For example, we once had a customer come in looking for a sold-out dress from a past collection
– she wanted to get married in it! Our associates went on a massive journey to track down
a remaining dress in her size, and we ultimately helped her feel beautiful and confident on her
As a clothing company – we’re directly present for peoples’ biggest moments in life. Any time
an associate is able to help a customer feel beautiful on a big, memorable day is a stand-out
Salesfloor: What holiday trends have you noticed in the past years?
Kay Moini, VP Retail, Peruvian Connection:We’ve noticed a trend of businesses partnering with charities and non-profits since the season
of giving is the perfect opportunity to provide customers with a chance to support important
causes. This year, we’ve partnered with Dress for Success for #GivingTuesday and have renewed
our annual donations with Pro Mujer, a micro-financing program for Latin American women.
ABOUT PERUVIAN CONNECTION
While researching anthropology in Peru, Annie Hurlbut Zander fell in love with extraordinary
hand-woven mantas and ponchos that she discovered in the markets of Cuzco. Fascinated by
these ethnographic textiles, she began collecting them, learning everything she could about the
spinning and dyeing of the alpaca fibers, the warp-faced weaving techniques and the ancient
textile traditions of the Andes.
Since launching in 1976, Peruvian Connection (www.peruvianconnection.com) has grown into
an internationally renowned brand for luxury Peruvian textiles and fibers with 7 stores, full
of artisan-made garments expanding 5 collections per year. Since the first alpaca sweater, the
original vision remains: to offer artisan-made designs in indigenous Andean luxury fibers. Each
piece is a celebration of ethnographic textiles from around the world, made by skilled artisans
whose art form will continue to be a time-honored tradition with Peruvian Connection. Alpaca
remains the constant thread throughout each collection, as we continue to support and
preserve the most luxurious Peruvian fibers.