A Second Mom To So Many

A Second Mom To So Many

Elsa and team

A Second Mom to So Many

Fair Indigo’s mission, business, and day-to-day operations are fueled by moms. Of the eight employees at our Madison office, six are moms. Seven if you count doggy moms. Our artisans in Peru are overwhelmingly moms.

Today, I’d like to tell you about one mom in particular who is the rock of our operations in Peru. Meet Elsa. Shown here with her husband and business partner, Javier. (side note - I couldn't find any pictures of Elsa alone - I guess she really is a human magnet!)

Javier and Elsa Organic clothing

Family matriarch. Smart businesswoman. Nature lover. And a woman who has transformed the lives of countless women and men for the better. (for example – Gabriel and Irma.)

When I first met Elsa in 2008, she made me feel instantly like I’d known her for years. Greeting me with a big hug and South American cheek kiss. Transmitting her warmth through a twinkle in her eye.

On my first tour of her facility, I noticed her employees interacted with her like...well...like their mom. Stopping what they were doing to give Elsa a quick hug and share laughs. I also noted her business integrity. As we walked through the workshop, we asked if we could take pictures. She agreed, but made sure to cover up her other clients’ products from being photographed – diligently protecting their proprietary designs. I had never experienced this in any other factory tour, ever.

Since then, I’ve gotten to know Elsa, Javier, and their two grown children, Javier Jr and Mariana. They all have roles in the business and are all people you would enjoy spending lots of time with. And we have.

Javier and Elsa Organic clothing

On a recent visit, Mariana, Elsa's daughter pictured below, shared a story. It’s a mom story.

Several years ago, the family was visiting a rug maker – a father/son operation. When they arrived, they greeted the brawny duo and noticed a tiny woman hauling, one after another, heavy rugs up a flight of stairs to their showroom. Her sandaled feet were red and calloused. It turned out this was the business owner’s wife; his son’s mother.

Putting politeness aside for a minute, Elsa gave a spirited mom's scolding to the father and son. “Both of you are blessed with the gift of physical strength. You need to use your gifts and let your wife/mom use hers!”

This immediately ended the meeting. They were escorted out and told to never come back.

Mariana and Elsa ethically made clothing

About six years later Elsa was approached at a trade show in Lima. It was the son from the rug business. He approached her, this time to thank her from him and from his father. They apparently had a life-altering conversion after realizing Elsa was right. Not just in how they were treating their mother/wife, but in how they needed to better value all of the women in their business. And unlike years ago, today their business was thriving.

Elsa never told this story – she’s shy about making a big deal about it and waves it off as common decency. But Mariana and the Javiers (Sr and Jr) beam as they recount the story.  We all do. Thank you Elsa!

Robert Behnke
Founder, Fair Indigo

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