BASED IN: PORTUGAL WITH LOCATIONS IN NYC, SHANGHAI & MORE
I am the founder of Pelcor, a Portuguese company that fashions accessories and gifts from the finest grade of cork skin. Now in its 13th year, Pelcor has earned a reputation for innovative, high-quality and sustainable merchandise. It has just opened a new store in Lisbon and joined concept stores in both New York City and Shanghai.
What is the inspiration behind Pelcor?
I have been around cork all my life, since my grandparents and parents harvested and manufactured cork for wine and Champagne bottle stoppers. For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the attributes of cork: its sustainability, water resistance, lightness and suppleness. These attributes led me to think about what broader range of products you could fashion from cork. Fashion accessories seemed a natural. I experimented first with a cork umbrella. Its success led to a full complement of merchandise, from bags to hats, belts, notebooks, iPad covers, and even USB sticks and key chains. The versatility of cork very quickly proved itself.
You mentioned seeing obstacles as challenges to be overcome – what advice to you have for someone who may face this in their entrepreneurial journey?
Obstacles build character in entrepreneurs. To my way of thinking, they should be seen in a positive rather than a negative light. Overcoming obstacles forces you to learn, build resilience, and test your passion for your product. The obstacles I’ve encountered in my business have only made me stronger, more nimble and more determined.
What does success mean to you? What does it mean to “be successful?” Can it ever be fully achieved or is it something that comes and goes?
I define success as the delight I see in customers who buy Pelcor merchandise, embracing not only its stylishness but its positive impact on the environment. While it’s certainly nice to get accolades (I’ve been personally lucky to be recognized by different global organizations) and be profitable, I also measure my success in how I feel. I am excited to get up every morning to do what I love and to nurture the many people in my life who have helped Pelcor evolve. That version of success is sustainable.
Pelcor seems to be having an amazing journey so far – what do you envision for the future?
I like to think that this company will go on having new beginnings – seizing opportunities to re-invent ourselves with cork. But I also want Pelcor to be the market leader for eco-friendly, high-quality accessories. We will continue to expand our merchandise lines and our locations in Europe, the U.S. and China. We will continue to reinforce the significance and value of marrying a sustainable material with designs that are both functional and stylish.