Bibi, a pioneer in the manufacture of footwear for children in Brazil, continues its internationalization plan via franchising and expands to foreign countries, especially in Latin America. The brand currently has franchise units in 3 countries, and its expansion case is a finalist in the International Highlight Award, which is promoted by Franchising Brasil — a sector project for the internationalization of Brazilian franchise brands carried out by means of a partnership between the Brazilian Association of Franchising (ABF) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).
With a 71-year history and a strong presence in the market, Bibi has been exporting since the 1970s. In the 1990s, the company started focusing exclusively on the exportation of its own brand and models. In 2017, Bibi finally took the third step in its internationalization process by using business models that were already consolidated in Brazil. “The first shops were opened by long-term partners who had developed the skills required to operate according to our business models”, says Andrea Kohlrausch, President of Bibi.
The partners who joined Bibi in the new venture were its distributors in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. “Bibi was already a consolidated company in such markets because of its high-quality products. However, consumers were not aware of our purpose and our entire portfolio, they hadn’t experienced the brand completely”, adds Andrea. “A Bibi’s shop establishes an emotional bond with consumers and increases the perceived value of the brand, and then they begin seeing products differently at other points of sales too”, she states.
Bibi currently has units in five different places in Peru: Mall Santa Anita, Lima Mall Plaza Norte, Lima Mall del Sur, Lima Mallplaza Trujillo and Mall Aventura Porongoche Arequipa. In Ecuador, the brand can be found at Quicentro Norte and Quicentro Sur. By the end of 2020, the company intends to open new shops in Lima, Peru, at Jockey Plaza; at Miraflores, in Guatemala City; and in Ecuador.
According to Andrea, consumers’ reaction to the units has been very good and that encouraged even more Bibi’s internationalization process. “All business partners already know our culture, so the biggest challenge we faced in such process was developing local partners, so that they could execute projects and supply the materials we use in our shops in Brazil, following all the sustainability, non-toxicity and quality criteria of the brand”, she states.
And she adds: “The internationalization process has to be a long-term project. It’s a big challenge finding the right partner, which must know the culture of the company and how to operate locally, as well as to be able to adhere to such culture and understand the business model of the brand. After the right partner is found, all internationalization challenges are easily overcome.”
Bibi is currently present in five continents and has over 3,500 multi-brand points of sale, points of exports and 121 units (franchise and owned shops).
About the International Highlight Award
The purpose of the award is to recognize chains that, by participating in initiatives developed by the program destined for promotion and qualification, have started or achieved a consistent internationalization process of their brands.
The award ceremony will be announced soon and three franchises will be the winners in the general category and one chain will be the winner in the Strategy and Consolidation category, which was created because of the high quality of the cases submitted to Apex-Brasil and ABF for appreciation. The criteria to be evaluated by the judging panel composed of members of the Franchising Brasil Management Board are: complexity of sector and market; operationalization process; impact of case; innovation of the initiative; and relationship with the participation in the Program.
About Franchising Brasil
Franchising Brasil is a sector project carried out by means of a partnership between the Brazilian Association of Franchising (ABF) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) for the internationalization of Brazilian franchise brands and promotion of their businesses abroad. The initiative was developed to promote this business model that is well recognized in the main international markets.