Businesswoman Tânia Pedracini, from Maringá (in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná), established a tannery to process tilapia leather in 2003. Eight months ago the company started producing a line of female shoes, Anna Pedracini, using the fish skin.
Since then, they have already sold shoes in Austria, where they have a representative, Germany and the United States. They have already sent samples to Canada and Holland. The next target is the Arab market.
“At the last edition of Couromoda (the International Shoes, Sportsgoods and Leathergoods Fair) I noticed that Brazil sells large volumes of shoe to the region. I was very pleased with what I heard and am therefore looking for opportunities and contacts in the region,” she explained.
So as to produce around 3,000 pairs/month, Tania signed a partnership with a local industry, Dalila Calçados, based in the city of Tapejara, in the northwest of the state of Paraná. The company has made 25 employees available for production of Anna Pedracini shoes.
The line was developed especially for the foreign market and each pair costs on average US$ 40. In all there are 15 models that may be produced in around 20 colours. “As the leather is already a differential, we prefer the more classic models,” explained Tania.
According to her, the option for tilapia leather was moved by the fact that it is a difficult leather to be copied, and it has no environmental impact, as the fish are bred in captivity.
The raw material, the raw fish shins, is purchased from cold storage houses in the state of Paraná, São Paulo and Minas Gerais (the last two, states in the southeast of Brazil) that make fillets out of the fish.
“They normally make animal feed or throw the skins out. That is why we have no difficulty in purchasing the product,” explained the businesswoman.
The ideal tilapias must be between 750 grams and one kilogram for best use of the leather. The tannery also supplies tilapia leather to clothes, belt and wallet factories in the state of Paraná.
The low weakening of the dollar against the Brazilian real, which has been worrying many exporters, does not yet present a great problem to the plans of Anna Pedracini.
“As most of the exports go to Europe, we sell in euros,” she justifies. “Our target is to increase production from 3,000 pairs a month to 10,000 up to the end of 2005,” guarantees the businesswoman.
Translated by Mark Ament
ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency