The luxury shoes designed by Jorge Guimarães are already on the feet of Arab women. Strass, stones, seeds and crystals are some of the details that bring extra charm to the sandals by brand J.Wlad, established in 2001 aiming at the foreign market.
"The party models, with a lot of embroidery and strass, are those that most fascinate the Arab women," stated Guimarães, who started exporting to the United Arab Emirates in 2004.
According to Guimarães, around 2,000 pairs of shoes are exported to the Arab country every year.
"We are interested in participating in fairs in the Emirates and in winning new markets in the region," he said.
Sales to the Arab country are through a representative from London, where the designer also sells his shoes. The models that are shipped most to the Emirates are sandals and shoes of the channel kind. "All with lots of shine," he said.
Apart from the Emirates and England, the J.Wlad shoes are exported to the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Belgium and Japan. However, Guimarães currently feels difficulties for export.
"The greatest problem is exchange," he stated, referring to the appreciation of the real against the dollar. The price of the shoes varies from between US$ 80 and US$ 120.
Currently, around 20% of the designer’s shoe production is turned to the foreign market, between six and eight thousand pairs of shoes a year. The businessman’s target for 2007 is to double the quantity shipped.
For this purpose, Guimarães is going to establish a new brand of shoes, a more sophisticated line. "Apart from making the product fancier, I also want to make the packages more sophisticated," he said.
Together with the shoes, the businessman also intends to release purses and costume jewelry. Another option that Guimarães wants to bring with the new brand is the fraction, like, for example, shoes sized 35 ½, a model that is already used in other countries.
According to Guimarães, to win the foreign market it is necessary to have creativity, as competition with Italian shoes is strong.
"We want to sell the shoes abroad and want them to be characteristically Brazilian," he said.
And that is what the designer is going to present in his next collection, which will be released at SP Fashion Week, the main fashion show in Brazil, at the end of the month of May and beginning of June.
The new collection is going to follow the Afro-Brazilian tendency and will count on embroidered shoes containing Brazilian stones and seeds.
J.Wlad is part of group High Fashion, which includes Brazilian companies and designers who work with fashion and design. The group has the support of Brazilian Footwear, a shoe export promotion program developed by the Brazilian Association of Shoe Manufacturers (Abicalçados).
Before creating his own brand, Guimarães produced shoes in Brazil for French brand Charles Jourdan, responsible for the Maison Dior shoes.
In 1997, the businessman opened his own factory in Novo Hamburgo, in Rio Grande do Sul, where he started producing shoes for great Brazilian stores and boutiques like Daslu, Les Filós, Le Lis Blanc and Lenny, among others. It was in 2001 that Guimarães decided to invest in his own brand and established J.Wlad.
Currently, Guimarães counts on a store on Oscar Freire street, in São Paulo, one of the most sophisticated business points in the city.
"The idea is to open another two stores by the end of the year," he said. The businessman also has showrooms in New York, London and Belgium.
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