Natural Cotton Color receives technical visit from Apex-Brasil in Paraíba
The sustainable fashion company — which develops fabrics and manufactures colorful organic cotton clothes from Paraíba — received a visit from the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency – Apex Brasil at the showroom in João Pessoa through the presence of Rita Albuquerque – Qualification coordinator of the Competitiveness Management, and Maira Rodrigues – Analyst of the Qualification Coordination of the Competitiveness Management. The agency, which was already linked to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, is currently part of the Itamaraty.
The technical visit took place on December 2, 2021, a day before the date on which Apex-Brasil officially launched the Operational Nucleus of the Export Training Program (Peiex) in Paraíba, in partnership with the Research Support Foundation of the State of Paraíba – FapesqPB.
The Program serves companies of all sectors and sizes
Peiex’s goal is to train 100 companies from various segments of Paraíba free of charge to launch themselves in the international market. “From 2017 to June 2021, the Program served and qualified 5,270 companies, through the execution of 35 agreements, in the five regions of the country. Of this total of companies: 73.17% are in the category of micro and small companies – MPEs”, explained the coordinator.
Natural Cotton Color already has experience with exports thanks to the support of Apex-Brasil for participation in international trade fairs.
Peiex serves companies of all sectors and sizes, non-export companies or startups (interested in expanding their markets). The technical visit was an opportunity for Francisca Vieira, CEO of Natural Cotton Color, to highlight some peculiarities of sustainable fashion. “During the visit, we talked about the difference in the way of producing sustainable fashion and about the added value in the final product”. On the other hand, Rita highlighted that Natural Cotton Color works from cotton production to the final piece. “In addition to the technology of naturally colored cotton, the result of a partnership with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation – Embrapa, there is the commitment of the businesswoman Francisca to increasingly include the local community in production, such as, for example, the artisans of labyrinth embroidery”.
Francisca explained the importance of advancing in the international market by positioning Brazilian sustainable fashion brands abroad, through participation in official fashion weeks. She highlighted the experience of the Brasil Eco Fashion Week event held in September 2021, at the Milan Fashion Week.
“There was a fashion show with eight brands, in addition to a showroom with nine brands. An unprecedented event in the history of Brazilian fashion”, she pointed out. For the businesswoman, this type of strategy can work best for sustainable fashion. She signals that entering the catwalks of international fashion weeks is more viable to expand the image of fashion and business. “Despite having export programs with more than twenty years of existence, Brazil still does not have a single brand that is known worldwide. I believe that this brand may be part of the sustainable fashion segment, as there was a much greater volume of media compared to the presence at fairs”, she found.
The importance of mentoring and training for export
Rita agrees that the work of a company’s international insertion should go far beyond participating in trade fairs, but remembers the need for good preparation so that the company can strategically plan its international expansion, for example, through Peiex, followed offering market data through commercial intelligence, constant training, in addition to various commercial and image promotion actions offered by the agency.
“Apex-Brasil has been increasingly aware of the concerns and the relevance of valuing Brazilian fashion as a sustainable fashion. In this context, several initiatives have been carried out in agreements signed in partnerships with associations representing the fashion sector, such as inclusion in specific international platforms for sustainable fashion, mentoring and training in line with the Sustainable Development Goals – ODS of the United Organizations – UN, support for obtaining Sustainable Certifications for companies with greater export maturity, in addition to communication initiatives in order to develop the image of sustainable Brazilian fashion at an international level”, said Rita.
The coordinator participated in the Peiex official launch event wearing a Natural Cotton Color skirt, made in macramé of sleep hammocks. At the event, she spoke about the case and the success of fashion with colored cotton from Paraíba in the international market. The event was held at Sebrae Paraíba in João Pessoa. The entity also supports Natural Cotton Color in innovation, design and development projects for new products for the national and international market. “This has broadened horizons. Our goal is to enter more difficult markets such as the United States and Japan – which requires resources to invest more actively”, explained Francisca.