Rare is the company that reaches a decades-long milestone – but a 50-year-old mainstay in the retail space is a true anomaly that prompts both inquiry and esteem.
For Brazil-based Arezzo & Co., purveyor of fashionable footwear, handbags, and accessories for its sweeping portfolio of 16 distinctive brands, the company has expanded swiftly and successfully from its founding by Anderson Birman, chairman of Arezzo & Co. and his brother, Jefferson Birman, who launched its namesake brand Arezzo in 1972.
Fifty years later and Arezzo & Co. touts 158 owned stores, alongside 783 franchises with revenue over $1.1 billion in 2022, across its consolidated house of brands inclusive of Arezzo, Schutz, Anacapri, Alexandre Birman, Fiever, Alme, Vans, My Shoes, and the lifestyle arm AR&Co, which includes the brands of Reserva, Baw Clothing and Carol Bassi.
Today, the firm is led by Alexandre Birman, son of Anderson, who serves as Arezzo & Co.’s charismatic CEO.
In celebration of its 50-year anniversary and longstanding success in retail, Arezzo & Co. held a special B2B event on August 17, called The Pulsar – named for “atmosphere of passion” – at the Ibirapuera Park Biennial in São Paulo, Brazil to showcase its wide-ranging portfolio and launch summer ‘23 collections across six runway shows, in tandem with immersive and educational experiences for attendees taking form as a series of talks, pop-ups, and sensory activations.
Curated by Paulo Borges, architecturally designed by Guto Requena, and led by Alexandre Birman and Rony Meisler, the founder of Reserva, runway shows were hosted for Anacapri, Carol Bassi, Baw, Reserva and Schutz.
Meisler noted that The Pulsar event is “a milestone in the trajectory of Arezzo & Co. and AR & Co.,” an additional company name and two-pronged business model the firm adopted through its merger with Reserva, “which opened the doors to other super strategic movements in the field of clothing, especially with the arrival of Baw and Carol Bassi to the group.”
Each brand hosted pop-up stores that exhibited collections, and offered bespoke experiences for attendees, which included approximately 1,500 people among Arezzo & Co.’s partners, multibrands, franchisees, influencers, and the press, all according to the company.
Talks at the event were centered on Sustainability, Digital Transformation and The Future of Retail, led by Preto Zezé, National President of Cufa; Adriana Barbosa CEO of the Feira Preta Institute; Lilian Pacce, journalist, fashion editor and deputy fashion curator of MASP; Marina Ruy Barbosa, actress, model, and entrepreneur; Walter Longo, former president of Grupo Abril and speaker; and Renata Vichi, CEO at Grupo CRM.
Fernando Santos Abreu Caligaris, CEO, U.S., Arzz International, said that the firm’s differentiated brands are altogether prized for their classic silhouettes and unmatched quality, but emphasized that each brand has its own inspirations. As for Arezzo & Co.’s target customer? Consumers channeling “Independent and bold” charisma, he noted.
Arezzo & Co.’s success is due only in part to its product: its vertically integrated structure allows for each design to be sampled and reviewed before production in its own factories, allowing for a high level of quality control, varying affordability, and expedited product delivery.
“Any footwear brand that operates under Arezzo & Co.’s umbrella has a unique value generation capacity,” Caligaris said. Schutz, also celebrating a milestone of 10 years in the U.S., is a great example of that, Caligaris explained, as it’s a “full natural leather shoe whose prices are closer to the more commercial brands, but the product itself can be easily related to that of luxury brands.”
Albeit, even after decades of success in footwear, Alexandre Birman insists that it’s still just the beginning for Arezzo & Co. “Every day is the first day. We are a startup that’s the size of a large company.”
“The trick is to grow and scale and maintain the energy of a new company. For me, of course, it’s a milestone. It’s 50 years growing and growing. But honestly, I’m already looking to a new benchmark — 70 years. I want to be [helming the company] until then and when the company becomes 70, I will think about my next phase.”