December, 2009

Dec 09

Casa de Cockroach

You can imagine my surprise, when I pulled down the blankets of my bed, to find a cockroach sleeping on my pillow! After fourteen hours of travel, via shuttle bus, two planes and a taxi, I was in no state to call the front desk and try to explain my dilemma. Instead I shook off the pillow, put a second pillow on top, and went to sleep.

Little did I know that this cockroach would bring me good luck. How? Well. Throughout the week, when I met people at the fair and they asked me where I was staying…I couldn’t stop laughing. I told them the story of staying at Casa de Cockroach. It broke the ice. They laughed, too. I sold everything I’d taken to Guadalajara and more. I experienced the best week of business in Mexico that I’d ever had…because I was always laughing and smiling.

The Guadalajara Book Fair is held every year during a week that straddles the end of November and the beginning of December. With exhibits of more than 1,600 publishing houses representing 40 different countries, the fair usually enjoys over half a million visitors. This year was no exception. It was great.

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Fair attendees enjoying lunch outside [left]. The fair was busy as always [right].

My trip this year was especially interesting because I met with Adela Gonzalez who took me to see her factory, Diako, just outside of Guadalajara. We also visited one of Adela’s Edu-Kids educational stores.

This dynamic lady first began her business 18 years ago by making wooden puzzles in a stall of a barn. She now owns a busy factory which runs two shifts. They make many different kinds of educational wooden puzzles as well as desks and classroom supplies. Adela also owns 8 Edu-Kids educational stores scattered strategically across Mexico. A wife and the mother of three children, in her spare time, Adela loves to ride horses and is a professional breeder. It was an exhilarating experience spending time with Adela!

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Adela discussing business with vendors [left]. Bird’s-eye view of the Diako factory [right].