How did Qisu actually started?
Mark and I met back in 2018 in Austin, Texas. We were introduced to each other by one of our mutual friends Paul Boudreaux on a beautiful Spring afternoon. I was hired as one of the Chef members of the W Hotel in Austin. I came directly from Ecuador to continue with my culinary career. Well, Mark and I kept on seeing each other for a few more months until I had to return back to Ecuador in August that same year. Mark surprisingly decided to come visit and I was tremendously happy for him to go to Ecuador and Latin America for the first time. I was really excited and proud for him to make such a long trip just to come see me. I sure had something for him to come down to Ecuador.
When Mark arrived he was in awe to find such a beautiful country. Soon after his arrival my family was ready to receive Mark as any other Ecuadorian family. They were so amused and tickled to meet my boyfriend. Probably Mark was too. Well, everything turned out as unexpected. Mark's charisma captivated my whole family and friends and they welcomed him immediately with no hesitation. I felt quite jealous, to be honest. Well, soon after his couple days in Quito, we took him to discover more of my country. And, I couldn’t take my eyes off him to know and see how much he was enjoying the trip to the Mountains and the sea. Before the trip was over, Mark asked if we had a gift shop because he wanted to bring something back to his family and friends.
As a proud Ecuadorian I took him to the most artisanal and traditional town of Otavalo where many hundred years of tradition are still being held and practiced by our indigenous communities. Mark couldn't believe how much beauty was in there. So, he purchased some crafted items and some alpaca shawls and blankets. He looked like a child in a candy market. It was very exciting to see him enjoying the market. Mark returned back to Austin, then weeks later he was planning a trip back to come see me again. I thought, mama mia, this is getting serious! Didn't know what to do since I wasn't fully “out” in public, just some family members and a very close group of friends. Well, time arrived and friends on facebook started to wonder who was the man who started to come visit more often. I didn't know if I was ready. I just went out there and made it public about my romance with Mark. It didn't take long for friends from all over the world to reach out and show support. I cried and I felt very happy to count with such amazing people around me who sent love and hugs. I was and am lucky to have the love of so many people. Mark also felt very accepted and happy to be a part of this big moment in my life. Mark then needed to financially support his trips to Ecuador so he asked if selling these wool Alpaca Blankets would be a good idea to help us navigate that transition. I didn't think twice and told him, let’s try it out. And we did it. Since that moment of decision many things have changed. I quit cooking, which I still do on a very small scale and for special dinners for friends and family. Afterwards, I went back to School to study International Business since Mark and I had just started one. It took us a few months to figure out a name for the business and brand. After many try outs we chose QISU which means “one who appreciates beautiful things” in the ancient Quechua. With that meaning, Mark came up with the idea to call it Qisu, and the slogan “Beauty is Appreciated”. Yes, I fell in love with the new brand name and with all the new changes. I moved to Austin, graduated from school in Business and keep growing. I must say that none of this could've happened if we were not introduced that day by our friend Paul, whom we love dearly. .
And, I personally, want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for letting us bring love, colors, beauty and warmth to your home. We have worked very hard to come along this way, and we feel your unconditional support.
Thank you Dear friends, customers and collaborators for having been here for us and for many more years to come. We have many more surprises and designs coming for you.
Stay tuned for more of our activities and donations we contribute to our communities in Texas and Ecuador thanks to you.