If the six degrees of separation theory was to be applied to Uruguay, chances are a two degree separation is a better reflection of this small, tight-knit society.
A friend of the house suggested Uruguay's newly elected president had to own a pair of our shoes, he felt the President embodied the profile of the CAPITA man: a doer, who transitioned form party leader to head of state with finesse and certainty.
As I nit picked his behaviour with the press, his personal traits started shining through: how he acknowledged and related with his team, the coherence and vitality of his speech, the low key way of keeping it together and communicating his calmness to us without disregarding the citizens concerns. What were his virtues as a leader? I wanted to know if our president was a CAPITA man, as my friend had assured me.
The next months were spent analysing his personality, regardless of flags, colors, bagagge or political background.
A myriad of events unfolded, he was either at the top of his game or about to mess the whole match. CAPITA was overtaken by uncertainty, our factory juggling to keep its people on their jobs. We kept him in our eyesight and Lacalle kept showing up, surfing the wild tides of the crisis with elegance.
For those of you wondering who the CAPITA man is:
First and foremost, he is not someone you aspire to be as much as someone who inspires those around him.
When we started out, we found inspiration imagining a specific man wearing our boots. We constructed him based on peculiarities we found in friends, brothers, bosses, peers and classmates. They all had something in common: they stood out from the crowd. Their individual characteristics became the building blocks of the DNA of our brand.
I spoke with Braulio, owner of the factory where we produce. "Most of my employees are on furlough due to COVID" Long pause. "Let me see what I can do" A silver lining. Once again, team work beat obstacles, the President of the Uruguayan Republic would soon boast of a pair of our Oxford shoes.
Months had passed by when we received a call from Guty. The shoes were to be delivered at the Executive Tower. We happily agreed.
In September the day arrived. Credentials, security screening, 11th floor.
Our president's accesibility is out of the ordinary. If I have to choose one word to describe my perception of him that is ACCESIBLE. In between meetings and a tight agenda, he carved out time for CAPITA.
Lacalle himself was waiting for me outside his office at the agreed hour. Great start. Being inside the Presidential Office while taking in the view (our city sprawling and meeting the water front) is quite something, but what caught my eye was the homely feel of the space. Family portraits, memorabilia in the form of paintings and drawings, his mate (Uruguayan drink) and a desk layered with newspapers and documents. An overall feeling of a lived in office.
I had a script in my mind of how the conversation would unfold, but the sheer interest of Lacalle Pou in our trajectory and brand and his place in it, naturally lead the conversation through a range of topics.
If the shoe fits, wear it. The CAPITA man is not after fame and fortune, he is all about resilience when taking a hard blow, about motivating his team and having the capacity to summon those around him to work for a common cause, having the grit to follow through be it in his career or even when practicing a sport. Lacalle Pou´s path to Presidency meant he had to work around and mature his personal limits in pursuit of his career. His background (a family involved in politics, a father who is a former Uruguayan president) and trajectory are proof of his vocation, and gave him the tools to deal with the current global pandemic.
During the conversation we talked about his wife, kids, colleagues, friends and even people we had in common, each bond a different role he strived to embody as best as he could. An intrinsic characteristic of our CAPITA men.
Unavoidably the conversation turned towards the difficulties of producing locally in today´s Uruguay, and how tempting it is to move production elsewhere, where you have easier, more affordable and convenient options.
After trying his Ox.Dolce shoes and walking on them as a sign of approval, the conversation was tied up by the following question:
"Do you imagine yourself as President of any other country?"
A gesture that read as " We are on the same page" was enough to lay our cards on the table.
Certain values aren't negotiable, and we at CAPITA still wish for the same, to place Uruguay on the map for what we represent: a country which best resource is its people.
CAPITA´S spirit is the people that conform it, our end product speaks of those who are behind each boot and shoe. From the producer to the client, every helping hand becomes is our CAPITA, making this undertaking possible and sharing our pride in doing things right.
2020 was almost over. COVID seems to be here to stay. Lacalle has a long journey ahead of him. Inherent to his position he will face criticism and doubt. Luckily his spirit and will are on the right place: he is a doer and also someone willing to listen, rewind and redirect.
We at CAPITA left the Presidential Building knowing Lacalle Pou became part of our DNA. A true CAPITA man.
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