My bag designer friend, Ericka told me this afternoon that she was asked to join the municipal government as Director of Business Development. She has been asked to breathe some new life into the declining huarache, shoe, and local leatherworking industries.

She is ideally suited for this position. She is young, energetic, possesses an engineering degree, and has recently returned from 3 years in Europe where she studied design and leathermaking.

The government – at the state and local levels – changes hands next month, and she was asked last week to join the new administration. How the government found her exactly I don’t yet know, but for now I am beside myself with joy and happiness because for my purposes I now have someone who is in total accord with my thoughts.

And what are my thoughts? Well, I made a presentation to the outgoing municipality president last year in which I outlined my business plan to go after the unexploited lower end of the luxury goods market. He thought it was such a good idea that he got me invited to the state capital of Morelia to do the same presentation to the state Ministry of Economy.

Sadly that presentation fell on deaf ears.

Ericka has seen that presentation and she told me today that we are going to start it all over again. She agrees: that Mexico needs to leverage its 450 year old history of leathermaking, that we locally have a unique opportunity to compete in the luxury goods market (we just need to change people’s thinking), and also that the government – right up to the federal level – needs to be reminded that Mexico leather heritage is just as important economically as its other more famous exports like tequila, tacos, and mezcal.

PS – Coincidentally, I was walking up Victoria Street later this afternoon when I got pulled into the Plaza Restaurant by Juan Carlos who rather breathedly and excitedly invited me to his awards ceremony on September first. Huh?
He was having lunch with another guy I know, Felipe, a retired businessman from the DF, and while I declined lunch, I still sat and spoke with them for a few minutes.
I had always suspected that Juan Carlos was overstating his past importance until I saw the two framed photos he had with him today taken of him in the White House walking down the hallway with the then President of Mexico, the President of France, and Mikhail Gorbachev; the then President of Russia. He was off to the side and a few paces behind the presidents but it definitely was him. Wow.
So Juan Carlos invited me to be there when Enrique Peña Nieto – the current President of Mexico – bestows some medal upon him for serving many years as the [I guess] Minister of Culture.
I’ll see if Ericka wants to go. Maybe through introductions we can get our program jumpstarted. Surely Juan Carlos still knows people in the Ministry of Culture.

PPS – I suggested to Ericka that we needed to start a model factory incorporating modern quality control processes. That factory would be the local testbed for how quality could be introduced (and maintained). She readily agreed. I told her that I had the office/factory space and could the government supply any resources by the way of equipment? She said that she’d put me in front of some people next month and we’d start with that. But she certainly liked the idea of a testbed factory to be used as a model. As to quality, she smiled and said, “That’s what we engineers do.”

I am so happy I am smiling inside.