An Interview with Litto Gomez and Ines Lorenzo-Gomez
Owners, La Flor Dominicana
From the Print Edition:
Laurence Fishburne, Jan/Feb 00
(continued from page 14)
It is great to work with Dominican rollers. They are very noble people. They don't need to talk to the supervisor before they talk to me. I am on the floor all day and I sit with them while they are making the cigars and they can talk to me. Any problems that they have, they don't have any block in communication with me. We have been able to keep all our rollers, even through the war of rollers. We have the same supervisors.
The factory continues to change, but with the new things that I want to do. There are better ways that I want to process the tobacco. I start to think everything is OK, and then the next week I will install a whole humidity system for one room to ferment the tobacco with a higher humidity because it is going to ferment better. So I change it. It is a continuous quest to improve what you do because you hear from this person or you hear from the other master. I have a lot of communications with people that have been in the tobacco business for decades, and every time that I have the opportunity to speak to one of them, I always learn something. Everybody has their own way of doing things better, and even though I see how they do it, I come back and I am probably not going to do it exactly like they do it. I'm going to do it with my own changes that I think can improve it.
All the cigarmakers have a tremendous pride in what they do. We are continuously looking for improvement. It doesn't matter how much it costs. You can get any corporation into the cigar industry with perfect marketing, a perfect system and economic structure, and everything, but if they don't have somebody that is passionate about tobacco, it is never going to help. There is no system that is pre-established that you can go and create a structure and then make a good product. You need that guy that is in the factory to be passionate. When he goes into the factory, everything in his life stops, and he begins to look at tobacco and work with it and do beautiful things with it.
Look at all the successful cigarmakers. Their life is dealing with good tobacco and trying to make the best product that they can make. But they are always looking for something new that is going to blow their minds when they smoke it. That's never going to stop for me. We will always be doing new things.
Lorenzo-Gomez: I think a lot of what we've done is done precisely because our background was not in tobacco. Many cigarmakers tend to follow a process that somebody else started. For us, we had no background, we had nothing to follow. Everything had to be created. Of course, we listened to the advice of the people that we know, and everything else. But change wasn't so drastic for us, because this was something new that we were creating. We didn't have to do things like another generation.
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