Fashion and Textile – Brazilian Companies have potential to grow in Australia.

By Liz Lacerda, Foreign Correspondent

June 23, 2020

B.Talks “Textile and Fashion Industry”

It was 2011 when Renata Facchini, the CEO of Liquido Active, started her yoga wear business out of a lifestyle change. “I moved to Australia and I noticed that there was a gap in the market, so I went to Brazil and established a partnership with Liquido (120 stores, mostly beachwear)”, she said. The company started with yoga wear, tailoring “the Brazilian flair to the Australian market”.

 

Now, Liquido is in 60 countries and growing. “We started super small. At the beginning, I was the photographer, the pick and packer, the customer service and everything. People think that, if they are going to export, they need to start huge and that is not true. Nowadays, from your laptop, there is a lot you can do”, she explained members and guests of the “B.Talks Textile & Fashion Industry”, organised by the Australia Brazil Business Council (AuBrBC) on July 2.

 

The use of social media boosted her business. “It was free advertising”, she said. From one year to another, Liquido Active changed from 30% B2B and 70% B2C to the opposite. “It’s now more a B2B brand, growing in the Asian market and the American market”, she said. The Liquido Active CEO thanked her success to the support of organisations like ABEST and Apex, which were also part of the B.Talks webinar.

“I moved to Australia and I noticed that there was a gap in the market

Lourenço Bartholomei, Vice-President of the Brazilian Association of Fashion Designers (ABEST), explained that the program called “Fashion Label Brasil”, in collaboration with APEX, offers financial and technical support to Brazilian fashion designer brands in their promotional activities abroad.

 

Every two years, the program targets different markets and, at the moment, they are USA, France, United Kingdom, Portugal and four new countries: Italy, Japan, Australia and United Arab Emirates. “I am glad that Australia is amongst those new countries”, said Lourenço.

 

Companies willing to do business overseas can count on ABEST to improve:

–       “Image” (fashion shows, public relations, special projects, press days, presentations);

–       “Business” (trade shows, showrooms); and

–       “Capacity Building and Qualification” (workshops and conferences, business intelligence).

 

Flavia Egypto, Specialist from the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (APEX), explained that Apex-Brasil works on 3 pillars: promotion of Brazilian exports, foreign investment attraction and support to the internationalization of Brazilian companies.

 

In order to support companies willing to grow internationally, Apex-Brasil promoted 240 trade shows, 164 business missions (to take Brazilian businesses abroad) and 84 buyers missions (to bring potential buyers to Brazil) in 2019.

“We work in partnerships that include financial and technical cooperation with “Fashion Label Brasil” and “Tex Brazil – The Brazilian Textile and Fashion Industry Internationalisation Program. For both programs, we have Australia as a target market, so that is great news. With these two programs, we were able to support over 500 companies last year alone”, Flavia said.

Apex-Brasil works in partnerships that include financial and technical cooperation with “Fashion Label Brasil” and “Tex Brazil – The Brazilian Textile and Fashion Industry Internationalisation Program

The President Emeritus of the Brazilian Textile and Apparel Industry Association (ABIT), Rafael Cervone, said that the three main exporting destinations for Brazilian textile are Argentina, Paraguay and USA. “Australia is in 43rd place, with US$ 1.7 million in sales, representing only 0.2% of Brazilian textile and apparel exports, so there is a lot of potential to grow”, he said. Casual and fitness fashion represent 67% of Brazilian textile exports to Australia. ABIT represents almost 30.000 companies in Brazil.

 

Caterina Graziosi, from Brilliant Minds Consulting, faced the opposite challenge: take an Australian company to Brazil. “In 2014, I was approached by Cotton On to be part of a major project, which was to take the brand to Brazil. “Most leaders in Australia did not know much about our country, so I had to sell them a bit of our cultural aspects as well, including competitors, customer profile, price points, etc.”, she explained. Cotton On is in 80 countries, with 1450 stores worldwide.

 

They also had to build a specific marketing plan. “A lot of Brazilians love American and European brands, so this was an opportunity to talk about Australia and its laid back lifestyle”, Caterina said.

 

The first store was very successful, achieving first place in sales in the history of Cotton On. “The main advice I would give to anyone who wants to take an Australian brand to Brazil is to do a lot of research, team up with a good legal team, study the logistics, and recruit local people specialized in the Brazilian market”.

Most leaders in Australia did not know much about Brazil, so I had to sell them a bit of our cultural aspects as well, including competitors, customer profile, price points, etc

The former CFO of Louis Vuitton in Latin America , Laurent Kabbabe, worked in Brazil for four and a half years. “It was quite an interesting experience. It was difficult to adapt in the beginning, but slowly and surely I started seeing opportunities”, he said.

 

Kabbabe declared that it is important for businesses to understand cultural and operational aspects of the Brazilian market. “It’s a country that is amongst the Top 5 GDP of the world and one of the Top 10 in population. It is just a matter of navigating your way through the culture and the operation in order to succeed in that domain”, he analyses.

 

Panelists agreed that Covid-19 is having a huge impact in the textile and fashion industries, but they are optimistic. “Covid has attracted attention of the major global retailers and even governments that there is a huge concentration of importing from Asia, and it is high risk to keep it that way. As a consequence, new markets rise as potential suppliers and this can be the case of Brazil. It may be a win-win situation”, said Rafael Cervone from ABIT.

As a consequence of Covid-19, new markets rise as potential suppliers for Australia and this can be the case of Brazil. It may be a win-win situation”, said Rafael Cervone

“Our industry needs to focus on a new set of skills, starting internally from within each company, moving towards the entrepreneurship mindset, with staff taking ownership of their work and looking for opportunities within the crisis we are going through”, said Kabbabe.

If you want to know more about their analysis, advices and expectations for the textile and fashion industry, you can watch the full B.Talks webinar here 

The B.Talks event was organized with support from the Consulate General of Brazil in Sydney and in partnership with Apex-Brazil, ABEST, ABIT, Embassy of Brazil in Canberra, Austrade, IBREI, Laneway and Latam Airlines.

B.Talks” is a series of events created by the Australia Brazil Business Council where participants have the opportunity to listen and interact in an insightful Talk with experts and authorities in the relevant Fields of international trade.

Clickto watch the full webinar.

By Liz Lacerda, Foreign Correspondent

* This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily the Australia Brazil Business Council organization, the organiser’s committee or other group or individual.