A young businessman from the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has just entered the list of Brazilian shoe sector businessmen with an ambitious target: winning part of the market occupied by Chinese shoe producers.
Rômulo Zambelli, aged 26, opened the doors of his company, Primoplast Injetados Plásticos, at the end of last year. The company, based in the city of Novo Hamburgo, in Rio Grande do Sul, produces crystal PVC sandals.
They are being sold on the retail market for prices ranging from between US$ 1.85 and US$ 2, a sector in which the Chinese operate both in Brazil and abroad.
"The idea is to earn little on each product, but sell in large volumes," stated Zambelli. According to him, similar Chinese products are traded on the foreign market for between US$ 2.3 and US$ 2.5.
The businessman opened the doors of Primoplast to supply to Brazilian shops, but at the official release of his products, during the International Shoes, Sportsgoods and Leathergoods Fair (Couromoda), last week, in São Paulo (SE Brazil), he noticed that there is also market for his sandals outside Brazil.
According to Zambelli, importers from the United States, Portugal, Canada, Turkey, England, Mozambique and Mexico who participated in the fair also showed interest in the sandals. A businessman from the United States also placed an order for little over 100 pairs for testing of the product on the US market.
In December, the industry also received the visit of Egyptian importers. According to the businessman, he took pictures of the sandals to evaluate the possibility of importing them. "The climate in the Arab countries is appropriate for the use of this kind of sandal," he said.
The footwear, branded Pé de Cristal (Crystal Foot), is being produced in an industrial unit that covers an area of 500 square meters, on two injection machines. Zambelli’s intention is to produce 30,000 pairs of shoes a month.
According to the young businessman, the cheap prices of his products will be reached through a tight profit margin and multifunctional labor.
"We have reduced costs," he explained. Less than ten people are currently working at the factory, as the production of the injected footwear is totally automatic.
The sandals may be produced in blue, pink, green and also colorless and have straps and no heels. They may also be produced with straps in one color and soles in another color. The model was developed at the end of last year by Zambelli himself.
Before opening his company, the youngster spent six years working in the sale of machinery and equipment for the production of shoes at his family company. Primoplast is going to receive 350,000 reais (approximately US$ 155,000) in investment.
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