Lingerie the business to escape the recession if your in Brazil

Posted March 20th, 2009 at 5:56 pm

The road to Juruaia Brazil is just a bit more picturesque than most, thanks to dozens of billboards featuring scantily-clad models posing in the town’s No. 1 product: lingerie.

Once a struggling agricultural town, Juruaia now bills itself as the intimate apparel capital of Brazil. And that title isn’t far-fetched. There are now 141 lingerie manufacturers in Juruaia, according to Joao Batista da Silva, the town’s secretary of commerce, industry and tourism (and the owner of two of the companies, Perlui and Sensual Lingerie) that equates to one per 58 inhabitants.

Brazilian Panty Boom to beat the recession

Brazilian Panty Boom to beat the recession

And as it turns out, the lingerie business is a good one to be in these days in Brazil.

The international financial crisis  has also hit Brazil, but in Juruaia, the frilly panties are still flying off the assembly lines and retail shelves.

Twelve new panty businesses opened in Juruaia in September alone, and most space  in a half-constructed commercial building is already spoken for.

Several employees work after closing hours putting the finishing touches on a new line of lacy white camisoles that had to be shipped out soon there will never be a crisis for people who work with women’s vanity and men’s vices,” the owner said In fact, the only crisis in these parts is a labor shortage. If someone wants a job, and they know what they’re doing, there’s no lack of employment in Juruaia.  Many companies must recruit from neighboring towns like Guaxupe and Muzambinho.

Though most businesses here distribute only domestically — with the heaviest sales in populous Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo states — some take advantage of the relatively low shipping costs (it’s a lightweight product, after all) and export around the world. Del Laras products have made it as far as Japan and Europe.

The first lingerie business opened in Juruaia in 1991, when the then-mayor’s attempt to attract industry and jobs pulled in a lingerie maker from Goias state. Over the next few years, about a dozen more sprung up, mostly run by locals. In 1997, the Commercial and Industrial Association of Juruaia was formed, and the first annual Lingerie Fair of Juruaia was held in 1998. But it wasn’t until the last decade that things exploded.

The secret of the town’s lingerie success, according to Lucia Lorio  whose Lindelucy company is one of Juruaia’s oldest and biggest  is small town values. “From the beginning, since the pioneers,” she said, “we’ve had the habit of not speaking badly of the other businesses. That contributes greatly to the unity of the town.”

Lorio said she is not so innocent to think the crisis will not hit eventually. But she has recently expanded her offerings, hoping that the variety will help her coast through the downturn. Proof of her optimism is a 1,000-square-foot expansion of her store which is budgeted for this year and she recently hired three more employees. Juruaia not just a lingerie town as manufacturers have gone beyond just panties and bras and is diversifying  into pajamas, camisoles and men’s underpants

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