Dubai, UAE, March 05, 2018:
● Please give us a brief on yourself
Roberta Ramos is the current Project Manager at Abicalçados, where she has been working for 11 years. Graduated in Social Communication, with Masters in Business Management, Business Intelligence and Leadership. She runs the Brazilian Footwear program, which aims to promote the exports and the internationalization of Brazilian brands. She is a Futurism enthusiast and has recently lead the development of a project called Future Footwear. The project's goals are the increase of productivity and the development of technological solutions for the industry.
● Please can you give us a brief on Abicalçados
Abicalçados, the Brazilian Footwear Industries Associations, acts as an advocate for the interests of manufacturers of shoes, leather upper shoes, leather goods, and travel goods by means of supporting the industry's policies. Abicalçados was founded in 1983. Its members include small, medium and large footwear manufacturers from several different states in Brazil. The headquarters of the Association is located in Novo Hamburgo, the main city in the largest shoe-manufacturing cluster in the country, Vale dos Sinos, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
The Brazilian footwear industrial park is one of the most modern in the world. Brazilian shoe manufacturers operate state-of-the-art machinery and equipment, using high-quality raw materials, supplied mostly within the Brazilian domestic market itself.
● How are the Brazilian Footwear brands benefiting from Abicalçados
There are many benefits offered to Abicalçados' members. The association provides different services, such as legal advices, business intelligence papers, activities to educate companies in different areas, such as design, branding, international marketing, exports, etc, trade promotion and image promotion initiatives. The biggest project running in the association is Brazilian Footwear. The Program is a partnership with the Brazilian Trade and Investments Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) and aims to promote the exports of Brazilian footwear brands, offering a big scope of activities designed based on market studies, big data, networking and the experience of the professionals involved. Companies members of the Program can have their entry in foreign markets facilitated financially and strategically.
The strategy is designed based on the markets specifies, such as retailers behavior, distribution channels and consumer habits. To meet the demands, we promote trade activities, with matchmaking services specialized in the industry to put together buyers and suppliers.
● What has the response been so far, globally?
One result we are very proud of is the diversification of markets. When Brazilian Footwear was created, back in 2000, Brazil exported shoes to 95 countries. Today, Brazilian shoes can be found in over 150 countries. This diversification makes us less dependent on one specific country and less vulnerable to economic variations. Besides that, we stopped being a 'private label' only industry and became inserting strong brands in important and relevant markets. Today, our offer includes not only the known flip flops, but also ladies, children and men shoe brands in different markets, according to the type of product demanded.
● What is the response been so far in the Middle East region
The Arab Emirates became a priority market in 2015, since for years the market has stood out in the international scenario, presenting a significant potential of demand for Brazilian footwear. In 2017, US$ 48.7 million and 7 million pairs were exported to the Middle East, which accounted for 6% of the volume of footwear exported by Brazil. Because of its strategic location in the eastern region and good business conditions, the UAE is a hub to the area, giving access to other markets in the Middle East. The constant expansion of imports keeps the country as a strategic one for the Program. Between 2010 and 2016, shoe imports from the UAE grew by an average of 10.6% per year in dollars. Meanwhile, Brazilian exports of the product to the Middle East grew 48% in volume, accumulated in 7 years (from 2010 to 2017). The influence of Brazilian Footwear program is noticeable, as among supported companies, the UAE is the 11th main market. Those companies represent 90% of the total amount of Brazilian shoes exported to the country.
● Please give more details on availability of the footwear
The Brazilian footwear industry is very diverse. We have about nine clusters, specialized in different types of shoes. We have strong manufacturers still producing performance shoes for the biggest international brands, as much as factories of children shoes (even one specialized in girls and another in boys), producers of men shoes that goes from the classic styles, until ones with high comfort technologies, and of course, the biggest segment, ladies shoes. This last one, includes many different styles, combining comfort, design and personality.