Footwear manufacturers unite against the coronavirus

Footwear companies are committed to helping authorities and society to overcome the difficult moment caused by the new coronavirus. With actions ranging from donations to hospitals and healthcare professionals to the creation of content to improve and entertain people during isolation, they promote a massive wave of solidarity. 

Besides encouraging these practices, the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados) is proud of the initiatives by its members.  "Our sector has been working to contribute to prevent Covid-19, which is extremely important for the country. In addition, our industry is focused on lessening the impacts of the crisis on the economy and on the life of Brazilians," says the executive president of the organization, Haroldo Ferreira.

Some companies have been reinventing themselves to contribute to the care of people diagnosed with Covid-19.  Such is the case of Grupo Dass, from the city of Ivoti (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul). The company decided to manufacture 35 thousand masks and 450 white coats that will be donated to hospitals and ambulatory care facilities. In a press release, the company highlights that it is a "way to thank healthcare professionals and contribute to all they have been doing."

Klin, manufacturer of children's shoes from the city of Birigui (in the state of São Paulo), produced 4,000 masks before suspending activities in its four manufacturing plants as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The items were given to employees and their family members and to institutions that care for the elderly, who are at risk of the disease.

And even companies that are not able to manufacture safety equipment have been seeking ways to help. The brand Renata Mello, headquartered in the city of São João Batista (in the state of Santa Catarina), for example, donated 1,500 meters of serge and 200 meters of cord for the manufacture of masks in the state of Bahia, where one of its manufacturing plants is located.

Arezzo&Co, from the city of Campo Bom (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul), has also been paying it forward and has mobilized fabric suppliers, factories and the state's Health Department to produce 25 thousand protective masks. Technical guidance for the production of the items was provided by officials of the Health Department of the city of Campo Bom and the fabric was donated by suppliers in the region. Over 12 factories loaned machines for a group of volunteers to manufacture the first batch, and a packaging supplier took over the organization in packages of 100 units.

The footwear industry has been helping in another way, doing what it knows best: shoes. Several companies have been working to ensure this indispensable item for health professionals is not lacking.   Since Covid-19 can be transmitted through contaminated surfaces, care with shoes and clothes are essential to prevent the virus from spreading. The brand Boaonda, from the city of Sapiranga (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul), manufactures safety shoes and donated dozens of pairs to the Municipal Hospital of the city of Novo Hamburgo. Grupo Ramarim, from the city of Nova Hartz (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul), in turn, donated about R$ 50 thousand in sneakers to public hospitals in cities where its manufacturing plants are located, in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia.  And Paquetá, also from the city of Sapiranga (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul), provided pairs to Hospital Regina, in the city of Novo Hamburgo (in the same state).

Arezzo&Co, in turn, in addition to assisting in the production of masks and white coats, provided sneakers of almost all its brands directly to healthcare professionals through the action Heroes.  About 10 thousand pairs were donated. All the available items were donated less than one hour after the initiative was publicized.  Finally, Cecconello, from the city of Três Coroas (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul), committed to give 5% of the purchases in March to the hospital Fundação Hospitalar Dr. Oswaldo Diesel, headquartered in the city where the company operates.
The companies found another way to help: providing quality content and trustworthy information to its customers through their digital channels.  The company Dobra, from the city of Montenegro (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul), chose to do this, completely changing its business model.  The social isolation measures caused by the spreading of the coronavirus made the company decide to migrate the brand's e-commerce to a platform with videos and free courses aimed at the development of small entrepreneurs and other professionals.

Before the change, the biggest source of revenue for Dobra was the sale of products, including sneakers.  Since the company's business model is that of sharing economy, with the crisis and reduced production, the brand's network, made up of seamstresses, artists, craftspeople and small entrepreneurs, would be compromised.  Therefore, Dobra will continue paying these professionals; they will receive 50% of their average monthly income to keep the economy going.

Similarly, Bibi, from the city of Parobé (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul), has launched a campaign in which 10% of e-commerce sales during this period will be sent to the staff of one of its stores, which can be chosen by the consumers.  This is a measure to lessen the impacts of the crisis in the 120 brick-and-mortar stores of the brand, which are franchises and are closed as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

These are some among many initiatives that have been introduced by the footwear industry and that assist in the fight against the coronavirus.  Abicalçados is attentive and supports the union of the sector in order to prevent Covid-19 and to respond to the domestic economic crisis.