Every sourcing trip includes a whole lotta faith. We plop ourselves in random cities all over the world with only a city map as our guide. San José tried its best to trip us up but we didn’t stress it – we rolled with it. From the moment I got in an unofficial ‘cab’ at the airport, to navigating the streets of San José with a questionable map, to getting my nails and toes did with barely-there sterilization standards. It all worked out, yes, but definitely had a lot of WTF moments!
First stop on the hunt didn’t have anything for the Costa Rica Kit but I did spot a ton of paper goods made in Costa. Spoke with an employee and he recommended another store. Pulled out my map and watched him locate a landmark and count blocks. Turns out streets are rarely marked and navigating the city is about landmarks, not street names.
At the second spot I noticed right away that this shop also had a huge selection of notebooks, not all made in Costa but a ton. I’m talkin’ aisles and aisles of notebooks. Like people be hoarding notebooks.
Gravitated to a spiral bound notebook with super simple cover. The only option that wasn’t covered in Disney princesses, Pucca or rhinestone-rockin’ kitties (what is up with kitties rockin’ blingy tiaras? Every country has their own version!). The spiral notebook surprised me – expected grainy paper and discovered bright white sheets with green lines! And love love the class schedule chart printed on the inside of the front cover, and the telephone directory on the inside of the back. The notebooks are a perfect combo of lo-fi design and finesse – totally RAH!
Continued searching the aisles and found a nonstop selection of pencils… Colombian, German, Mexican and more. But I already had a pencil in mind. Everyone I noticed, from the hotel front desk to my fave bakery to the salon, all rocked the same pencil. They were everywhere and that’s what we hunt for – daily diet goods that the locals use. Yes, they’re from a US company but made specially for their Latin America market. They have mad history behind them, and I know these gonna be a special treat for our pencil fans!
Another day and another 10 shops that were all busts. Headed back to the store where we secured the notebooks and pencils. Walked up and down every aisle again and this time spotted something I totally missed before – reinforcers for hole-punched paper! Good thing I stopped to tie my Freestyles cause they were hidden on the very bottom shelf. Quickly scanned their inventory and counted enough for our kits! BOOM!
My last trip to Costa was all about chasing the sun and finding the best surf spots. This trip was all about hunting down goods for our STMT Kits in San José. The streets of San José are a trip – rough and ready that tempt and tease. Gotta dig deep to find the beauty and totally opposite of the surf spots where you’re surrounded by beauty. We secured the goods and navigated the streets of San José like a champ – and sometimes the best guide is your gut.