Brazilian artist Márcio Ferreira’s decorative items are already exported to the United States, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Italy, but he wants to increase activities abroad. Foreign sales are normally through the Mãos de Minas project, in which the artist has been participating since 2005.
Márcio has been working with handicraft for over 40 years. He started as a Goldsmith, making items in silver and Brazilian stones. He made the jewels at his workshop, installed in Nova Lima, a city close to Belo Horizonte. On weekends he would take everything to sell at República Square, in downtown São Paulo. “There I made contact with people from all over Brazil,” he said.
In the late 1990s, the artist took a course in artistic carpentry and started producing wine holders and iron candlesticks, decorated in Brazilian stone like crystal, green quarts, citrine and agate.
“In the beginning it was just a hobby, but an artist from the United States liked the items, took some to the United States and we started a partnership that lasted seven years,” explained Ferreira.
After that, the artist turned his attention to the domestic market for some time and returned to exports after entering the association. “Now I work in partnership with an artisan from Ouro Preto who produces articles in soapstone,” he said.
Nowadays, Ferreira is still producing candlesticks and reproductions of ants, butterflies, scorpions, dragonflies, spiders, armadillos and other animals, all in iron. The ant, however, is the company cash cow. “We make ants from 10 centimeters to one and a half meter in length,” he said. The products are used to decorate walls and gardens.
The artist usually participates in the Belo Horizonte Handicraft Fair and the Paralela Gift, in São Paulo. In the domestic market, the company sells in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Rio Grande do Sul. Ferreira produces on average 1,500 items a month and employs five people.
The Mãos de Minas project promotes handicraft from Minas abroad. In partnership with the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), the works of the artisan are exhibited at international decoration fairs.
According to the export manager at Mãos de Minas, Arnaldo Galvão, the countries in the Middle East and North Africa are considered potential markets for project exports, so much so that in 2008 the organization participated in the Big 5, the largest civil construction sector fair in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
“Sales to the region were not possible due to a logistics problem. We have already developed several researches that show that the distance makes the product too expensive,” said Galvão. According to him, interest in placing the product in the Arab market is not lacking, but it is still necessary to find partners to make exports possible.
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