Concerns of inflation may be preoccupying the minds of businesses and consumers alike, but the stubborn economic dilemma hasn’t prevented Alexandre Birman from taking his company to the $1 billion mark.
That was among many of the messages the Arezzo & Co. chief executive delivered on Thursday at FN’s 2023 CEO Summit in Miami Beach, where Birman took attendees through an extensive chronology and evolution of the Brazilian company’s family origins, from founding Schutz at the age of 18 and merging with his father’s company to form Arezzo & Co. in 2007, to quadrupling its market value since its 2011 IPO.
“We come from a country that is always in a crisis,” said Birman onstage. “In the U.S., 5.5% inflation for you here, everybody is freaking out. But we lived for over 20 years with maximum inflation, upwards of 150-200%. So we were born and raised in a crisis.”
In March, Arezzo & Co. reported full year gross sales of 5.2 billion reais (or $1.01 billion), up 42% from the prior year and a company record for gross revenue.
The shoe magnate pointed to the company’s verticalization of its R&D and innovative, quick turnaround times (60 days), to a quick Covid bounce-back (by July 2020, monthly gross revenue had already surpassed that of the March 2020 high), to long term social and sourcing sustainability initiatives, plus the utilization of WhatsApp text message marketing through the company’s sales teams.
Birman also announced upcoming plans, including a new NYC shop for Schutz on Broadway in Soho, to open later this spring, plus a long-term strategy of acquiring key Made-in-Italy brands to apply Arezzo’s manufacturing efficiency with Italy’s craftsmanship and quality heritage. The first step in this plan happened last month at Paris Fashion Week, when Arezzo announced the majority stake acquisition of buzzy brand Paris Texas.
The CEO’s advice for emerging designers pointed to a key attribute that attracted him to Paris Texas: “Behind one brand has to be one product. When you see their product you know it’s the brand. It’s very hard to find, but it was their first product, the pointed toe, high heeled Western boot, and today it’s still 30 percent of the brand’s business,” said Birman.