From Peru to Wichita: Female business owner adds international touch to handmade products

Main Street Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW)- A local female business owner from Peru is giving customers a unique experience by providing an international touch to their shopping experience.

When you walk into Killasumaq in College Hill, you see leather shoes, bags and even jewelry.

Most of it is handmade by the owner, Aida Stenholm.

“[They’re] totally handmade, so it takes more time,” said Stenholm.

Aida Stenholm working in her shop.

Stenholm uses several machines to help make the shoes, but she steams the leather by hand and even sews a good portion of the shoe by hand.

She grew up with eight siblings in Peru, so she didn’t always get new shoes. Stenholm said she usually got hand-me-downs.

“[My parents] didn’t have the money to buy shoes for us,” said Stenholm.

Six years ago, Aida used that inspiration to go back to school in her mid 30’s.

Her family packed up everything and moved from Orlando back to her home country.

“My husband quit his job, we sold the house and we moved to Peru,” said Stenholm.

After she finished school, the family decided to move to Stenholm’s husband’s hometown and make Wichita their permanent home.

She launched her first website to sell the shoes she was making and learned how to fine tune her skills.

Stenholm used the money she made as an interpreter for USD 259 to open her own shop in 2018, where she now sells all of her original designs.

Some of those designs only take a couple of day to create and she makes them in the upstairs part of her shop.

“I make earrings, I make bags, I make backpacks,” said Stenholm.

Some of those feature the sun from the Wichita Flag, a suggestion she got from a long-time customer.

Wichita flag sun-inspired tennis shoe by Aida Stenholm.

The materials Stenholm uses come from all over the world.

“I’m working with a company in Columbia, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Italy,” said Stenholm.

But, that international help doesn’t stop at just material-gathering. Stenholm’s brother, Fernando and seasonal workers in Peru also play a part in creating some of the shoes.

Stenholm said her brother is able to use an expensive machine in Lima to help create the more detailed shoes and boots for much cheaper than it would cost in the United States.

Her brother, too, went back to school years ago to learn how to create handmade products.

“It’s totally different to have your own family, your own brother working with you in the business,” said Stenholm.

In Peru, each employee is responsible for one step in the process. From drilling holes, to sewing by hand and gluing, they all work together to complete the perfect shoe.

Step by step, Stenholm has carried on the legacy of owning a business, like all of her family members before her. She said she’s made her dream come true and she’s thankful to have continued that dream in Wichita.

“People from Wichita are lovely people,” said Stenholm. “They come and support and they want to see something much different.”

Killasumaq is located at 110 S. Hillside Street.

To see products created by Stenholm or for more information about her business, click here.

Stenholm will be celebrating one year of business next month. She plans to celebrate with a party!

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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