Zia Boccaccio, founder and CEO of Alpaca International, clearly remembers the moment she was first inspired by the mystical alpaca. She was on a family trip, sitting atop her horse, when she spotted an alpaca standing against the backdrop of the Andes Mountains. Zia was struck with its delicate beauty and connection to the land. At the tender age of 7, she discovered her love of both the alpaca and her homeland, Peru.
At 19, she struck off on her own and traveled to the United States. After marrying an American, she moved to Washington D.C. and worked as an operational manager for Steilman European Selection, a German fashion company. Over the next 12 years, she learned all about the retail industry and fostered a love of fashion that would follow her throughout her life.
Never forgetting her first love, alpaca, Zia eventually decided she wanted to open her own store specializing in alpaca wool garments; this would allow her to combine both her passions into unique and luxurious products. At this time, she embarked on an eight month research trip to Peru to learn more about the majestic animal and how their wool was manufactured by the loving hands of Peruvians. She partnered with a garment producer there and created her own label. After months of preparation, Zia opened her first store, Alpaca International, in downtown Annapolis, Maryland.
Alpaca International has since had so much success that Zia has been able to open stores in Juneau, Alaska, Park City, Utah, and Cusco, Peru; she also has her sights set on future locations and is in the process of expanding her online store. Her vision has been infectious, and she has shared her success with friends and family that have stuck by her and believed in her dream.
Zia's story, however, is not just one of personal success, but of the American Dream come to life through hard work, passion, and tenacity. She is an example of how having a singular goal, and doing whatever it takes to achieve it, can spell the difference between a mediocre life and a fulfilled, purpose-driven life.
Alpaca International is an American icon on an upward trajectory. Stay tuned as the luxury retail store expands, maybe to a city near you! You may even have the opportunity to meet Zia Boccaccio, the spirited, fashion-forward entrepreneur.