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North American footwear trade fairs will likely generate USD 4.5 million for Brazilian brands

Thirty Brazilian footwear brands participated in the unprecedented Trade Promotion Circuit in the United States, attending the fairs FN Platform (Las Vegas), Playtime (New York), Sole Commerce, Footwear @Coterie and Children's Club (New York), and Atlanta Shoe Market (Atlanta). The participations will likely add another USD 4.5 million to Brazilian footwear exports, according to a report prepared by the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados). The action was supported by the Brazilian Footwear, footwear exports promotion program, developed by the footwear organization in partnership with the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), between February and 17.

Abicalçados' Trade Promotion coordinator, Letícia Sperb Masselli, highlights that the strategy of supporting the participation in more than one trading platform was correct, since it enabled access to a broader range of niches in the U.S. market. "In addition to being a giant in financial terms – it imported the equivalent to USD 26 billion in shoes last year –, the U.S. market is complex, with competition with major international brands. Therefore, the more we are able to divide this market by niche, the greater the chance of success with the sales strategy," says Masselli.

The circuit began at FN Platform, footwear fair that features several segments of products, from the most commercially viable to those with higher value added. The trade show took place in Las Vegas from February 5 to 7. It will likely generate more than USD 3 million for the 23 participating Brazilian brands, combining deals closed on the spot and those that began to be negotiated during the event.

Premiering in events in the U.S. market, Smidt Shoes achieved better results than what was expected for its first participation. During FN Platform, the brand held meetings with large groups both from the United States and from countries in Central America. "We have been structuring our operations in the United States, in search of a distributor. Nonetheless, with the participation in the fair, we were able to receive orders for boutiques from Ohio, Texas, and Illinois," says Marcos Booz, the company's export representative. With the result, Smidt Shoes shows interest in participating in the next edition of FN Platform.

The trade show was also positive according to Jonatha dos Santos, sales director of Calçados Ala. According to him, the results achieved at FN Platform were better than expected, since the company attracted new customers; the fair was also useful for the maintenance of the U.S. market and of part of Central America. "The fact that the fair takes place along with WWD Magic (local clothing fair) increased the amount of visitors in our booths, which was very relevant," says the director.

The brands Moleca, Molekinha, Vizzano, Modare Ultraconforto, Molekinho, Activitta, Beira Rio Conforto, Ipanema, Zaxy, Rider, Cartago, Carrano, Vicenza, Petite Jolie, Ala, Zatz, Pegada, Offline, Suzana Santos, Renata Mello, Shoetherapy, Smidt Shoes, and Invoice participated in FN Platform.

The next edition will take place from August 17 to 19, when FN Platform will be renamed Micam Americas, since it bought the licensing of the brand of the Italian trade show for the United States.

Playtime
The second stop of the Circuit was Playtime, in New York. Focusing on the children's market, the trade show took place from February 9 to 11. The participation relied on the partnership with Texbrasil, internationalization program of the Brazilian Textile and Apparel Industry Association (Abit), and with Apex-Brasil. The brands Tip Toey Joey, Petit Cheriè, and Mon Sucrê participated through the Brazilian Footwear. The participation, according to a report prepared by Abicalçados, generated over USD 200 thousand between deals closed on the spot and those that began to be negotiated during the event.

For Tatiana Fernandes, sales director of Tip Toey Joey, the result of the business deals was within what was expected, with the return of old customers – this was the company's eighth participation – and the enticement of new customers. However, the best piece of news, according to her, was the identification of partners to participate in local events in the future. "The U.S. market is very difficult; consistence and investment are necessary," she says.

Sole Commerce
Continuing the trip, the next stop was Sole Commerce, which took place along with Children’s Club and Footwear @Coterie, from February 11 to 13. The fairs took place in New York and focused on women's shoes with higher value added and on children's shoes. The participation of the brands Ferri, Guilhermina, Vicenza, Carrano, Paula Torres, and Klin generated USD 336 thousand between deals closed on the spot and those that began to be negotiated during the event. 

Vicenza, which participated in Sole Commerce for the fourth time, was satisfied with the results. The company, which also attended FN Platform, received important U.S. retailers in both fairs, increasing the possibilities for the penetration into this important type of player. "The participation is more successful with each edition of the fairs," says Kevin Patera, the company's sales and merchandising consultant.

Premiering at Sole Commerce, Guilhermina attracted six new customers in the United States and received a large order from a traditional customer in Canada. "The trade show was very good, especially taking into account that it was our first time and that it was a fall-winter fair, which is usually not as strong as the summer edition," says Nathália Brocker, the brand's export analyst.

Klin, in turn, attended Children’s Club and premiered in the U.S. fair with good results. "We are constantly learning about the market and the most adequate product. We believe that we are increasingly prepared and that we will have even better results in the next fair," says Camila Chamoun, the company's export manager.

Atlanta
Ending the circuit of fairs in the United States, the participation of the brands Rider, Cartago, Ipanema, Zaxy, Usaflex, Petite Jolie, NMD Brazil, Piccadilly, Offline, Cocco Miami, Klin, World Colors, Shoetherapy, Bottero, Verofatto, Anatomic & Co, So.Sí, and Anatomic Gel at Atlanta Shoe Market from February 15 to 17 generated USD 1.7 million between deals closed on the spot and those that began to be negotiated during the event.

The brand manager that represents Petite Jolie in the United States, Debbi Krovetz, highlights that the company received some of the main biggest retail groups in the United States, in addition to many independent buyers. "Even though there were fewer visitors than in previous editions, we received many orders and established many important contacts," she says.

For Nilsara Piereck, distributor of the brands Offline and Carrano in the United States, the participation in the fairs of the Circuit was a smart strategy found by the Brazilian Footwear, since it served different segments of a very fragmented market. "I attended three fairs of the Circuit and was able to meet with customers with different profiles, with good business and contacts in all of them," the representative celebrates.

United States
Regarded as the main consumer market for footwear in the world, with a per capita consumption of over 7 pairs per year, the United States is the main destination of Brazilian shoes abroad and is one of the target markets of the Brazilian Footwear. Last year, Americans imported 12 million Brazilian pairs, generating USD 197.5 million, a 10.5% increase in volume and an 18.4% increase in revenues in comparison with 2018.