A small company called Sandálias 755, from the northeastern Brazilian state of Alagoas, is selling to Lebanon shoes made from recycled raw material. The company, in the city of Arapiraca, in the interior of the state, produces 60,000 male and female sandals a month, of which around 10% are exported. The Lebanese are the main importers.
The inner soles of the sandals are made out of EVA, a plastic material, and the top part of the sandals is made out of nylon. The soles, however, are made out of recycled PVC products, like balls, sandals, hoses and toys, collected by poor cooperative workers from Arapiraca and region at sanitary dumps.
According to the company commercial director, Antônio Rodrigues Bandeira, around 2,000 people make their living from these cooperatives.
The company also produces sandals entirely made out of EVA, for beach use, the ones that sell best to the Lebanese. Around 80% of the sales to the Arab countries are EVA sandals and 20% have recycled soles.
Sandálias 755 is currently negotiating entry of its products into a Lebanese chain of stores called Bata, where it intends to sell the models with recycled soles.
This year, the company also intends to start selling to Egypt. “Our exports should rise 10% in 2005,” stated Bandeira.
The factory also exports to Spain, to the Dominican Republic, Portugal and the United States. Entry in the Dominican market took place this year, after contacts made during the Couromoda, the international shoes, sportsgoods and leathergoods fair, which took place in January, in São Paulo.
According to the company commercial director, 95% of company export contracts take place during the Couromoda and Francal, another shoe sector fair that takes place in the middle of the year, in the city of São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil.
Arrival of company shoes in Lebanon, however, was different. “Three years ago, a Lebanese who had naturalized himself Brazilian purchased a pair of our sandals in Salvador, capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, so as to give them to his wife. As they were so well accepted, he got in contact with our company and we started negotiating,” said Bandeira. Nowadays the Lebanese, who returned to his country in 2001, is the brand representative in the region.
The products made by Sandálias 755 are at around 500 points of sale in Brazil. The company was established in 1993 by businessman Armindo de Quadros Honaiser, and later was joined by Bandeira, currently the commercial director, as a partner.
The factory has around 50 employees with an installed capacity for production of 100,000 pairs a month. Sandálias 755 received the Design Trophy by the Federation of Industries of the State of Alagoas in 2002.
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency