Living in Ecuador as part of the Andean Collection staff I get to spend a good bit of time with the artisans. In meetings, at training seminars, at their workshops, even in their homes with their families. But still, its rare that there is much time spent not talking about work, when everyone can just relax and enjoy one another’s company. Which was why it was particularly special when on one trip to Christian’s we finished our work a day early, and so got to go hang out at the beach with him, Viviana and their three girls. We fried fish, popcorn shrimp, shared a huge bottle of Coke, and enjoyed watching the girls playing in the waves.
Something about Christian and Vivian’s relationships is incredibly special. They are one of the very few couples I know – anywhere in the world I’ve been – that after 13 years together, they still seem very much in love. Despite the pressures of being small business owners, working together all day long in a home-based artisan workshop, and being the parents of three active girls, they still are loving, affectionate (including the occasional playful butt tap) and work together incredibly well as a team. Christian has said to me on several occasions that he talks every business decision through with Viviana, and without her it would be impossible to run the workshop.
Christian’s middle daughter, Emily a 8 year-old with a mischievous smile, is already super interested learning everything in the workshop and talks about wanting to follow in her daddy’s footsteps working as an artisan. But on this day, she’s still just a little girl, enjoying a day at the beach, playing in the waves with her sisters.