Kidy makes Arab market a priority with international line

Brazilian children’s footwear brand launched models created in Brazil but produced in China. The company exhibits at Couromoda and received Arab importers.

Thais Sousa

São Paulo – Children’s footwear brand Kidy is betting on a new line to widen its foreign sales. “Kidy International” is the new project that the company is showcasing at the Couromoda fair, to run until Wednesday (15) in São Paulo.

In its stand at the show, Kidy received visits from its distributor in Libya, Al Heda, as well as two storekeepers from the region and a representation of a Saudi brand. The Middle East is the company’s second largest importer, but it’s focusing its attention on that market even further. “The Middle East is now the most important of my work relations. Because this project must achieve and secure a market share there. And they have a large demand. I want to kill to birds with one stone,” the brand’s exports manager Rodrigo Nunes (pictured above) told ANBA this Tuesday (14).

The Kidy International project results from a joint venture with a Chinese brand that was established last year with the support of the São Paulo Investment Promotion Agency (Investe SP). The shoes are projected and designed in Brazil but manufactured in Shanghai. “All my clients in the Middle East want to see this. ‘Made in Brazil’ is important and we want ‘designed in Brazil’ to be as important,” Nunes explained.

There’s a chance that the new venture “takes” a share of the products made in Brazilian soil, therefore the larger focus the manager has devoted to the region. “I’m a little bit concerned that they trade the product made in Brazil for the ‘International’ one. Naturally, it’s still a Kidy, it has our quality and is designed by a Brazilian, but it’s a much more international product,” the manager pointed out.

The manager makes regular visits to their main partner country, the United Arab Emirates. The executive visits Dubai and Abu Dhabi four times a year. From there, countries such as Oman and Bahrain are supplied by a Kidy distributor in the region.

Nunes believes the cosmopolitan appeal of the products explain the Arab interest for the new line. “It’s a completely different, stylish design, different from the Brazilian one. It’s more international,” he stressed.

In the UAE, the company works with more value-added products. “Our main shopkeeper in Dubai, the Shoes for Us group, took our more premium-concept products and put them in a special location inside the store. The public that search for more glamourous products find ours. We’re famous for that and decided to build on it. After I learned about this segmentation, I don’t even take our cheaper products there anymore,” Nunes explained.

From 2016 to 2019, the company’s exports were up from 20% to 30% a year. During this period, the Middle East accounted for 10% of the growth. The expectation for 2020 is that the growth keeps strong, but Nunes believes the moment requires caution. “We grow till 2019 because we had a very secure economic stability. Mercosur wasn’t seeing any large oscillation movement. Now is different. Dollar was at BRL 4.25 and now at BRL 4.05. How can you be sure that you’ll grow by 30%? That requires work and planning, but we cannot be sure, it’s very risky, explained the exports manager.

The same position is followed by the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados). In a press conference at Couromoda this Tuesday, the organization reported that the overall sector is expected to grow by 2% to 2.5% in 2020. “Truth is that we’re being a bit more conservative in projections in order to not have to revise down our growth estimate,” Abicalçados chairman Caetano Bianco Neto said. In early 2019, the sector’s growth target was 3.4%, a number that was revised down to 1.1%-1.8% in the third quarter.

Translated by Guilherme Miranda

Thais Sousa/ANBA

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