News Archives

Daphne Benzaquen '08

February 8, 2019

Daphne Benzaquen '08 was featured in the 2.08.19 issue of Ladue News, in a story about her company, daph: "Peru-born St. Louisan Daphne Benzaquen always thought she was going to be a doctor. She was on a pre-med track in college, and because her father’s a doctor, she figured she’d follow in his footsteps. But after college, she realized she wanted to pursue business instead and earned her MBA at Washington University in St. Louis. In her second year at Wash U, Benzaquen wanted a unique backpack to take to classes – one that no one else would have that also suited her needs. She was unsuccessful in searching for such a backpack, but her failure to find something just right sparked her curiosity. She’d always heard that the artisans in the mountains of Peru were known for their leather products, and she wondered if she could have someone make her the perfect backpack. 'I cold-emailed several [Peruvian] manufacturers I found online,' she says. 'I figured it was worth a try.' With no design experience, Benzaquen did her best to communicate to the artisans what she was envisioning for her backpack and sent them makeshift designs. Since she often spends Christmastime in her birthplace of Lima, Peru, Benzaquen took a side trip on her next visit to the mountains of Arequipa to meet with five of the manufacturers she’d been in contact with. 'Some of the manufacturers had totally changed my design, and some had not worked on my design at all,' she says. 'I didn’t even want to go to my last meeting because I was so frustrated but ended up going and that manufacturer had created a backpack that most closely resembled my design.'Benzaquen liked that he worked with llama leather and baby alpaca fur – something that would be unique and different for the metro area. In addition to her backpack, Benzaquen realized she could make more designs to send to Arequipa and spent the next year sending designs back and forth. She procured her own hardware for the pieces, as the copper color she desired wasn’t common in Peru. 'I knew if I was going to put my name on it, it had to be me,' she says." Read the whole article here.