Carlos Ruiz Velasco
Founder
Grupo Clōe
/
Insight

Mexican Drive Breaks Through International Competition

By Andrea Villar | Wed, 04/01/2020 - 11:43

For a company dedicated solely to product manufacturing, the transition to becoming a distributor is not easy. Processes, strategies and even mindset must change. However, once the company is past the learning curve, success comes as a result, says Grupo Clōe Founder Carlos Ruiz Velasco, who now leads a company with more than 31 years in the market. “We started manufacturing and selling to national department stores. We continued like this for 10 years and then we opened our own stores. The first one was at the Guadalajara airport, where we found a niche market,” says Ruiz Velasco.

Seizing this opportunity allowed the Mexican company, which was already recognized for its quality and innovation before opening its first store, to position itself successfully in the market. “Twenty years ago, there were no stores at airports and there was a need for quality and trending products. People were looking for quality gift items like wallets and our goal was to meet that need,” explains Ruiz Velasco.

With this business model the brand has grown and continues to gain popularity among the Mexican public. Grupo Clōe also explored other markets, such as Latin America, and now is present in Ecuador, Panama, Colombia and Chile. The company is trying to strengthen its foothold in these markets before extending its presence even further. “Gaining the trust and loyalty of a customer is a long and rewarding process. However, when you reach a new market, nobody knows you and you have to start building the brand from scratch,” says Ruiz Velasco.

In 2020, Grupo Clōe does not intend to grow as strongly as in 2019 in physical channels. According to Ruiz Velasco, there is still a great deal of opportunity in Mexico to open new stores but a steady performance requires a well-thought-out strategy coupled with a successful e-commerce platform. “We want to continue growing with the same customers. We are not going to lower our quality to sell more.”

Furthermore, when a company is a leader in a segment like Grupo Clōe is in luggage sales, growing is increasingly difficult, which means that larger revenues come more easily by refining logistics, supply, distribution and store management. Much of the company's efforts are also focused on e-commerce, since according to Ruiz Velasco, shopping malls will disappear as more changes transform the retail sector. Although in Mexico this is not a visible trend yet, large retailers like Miniso and H&M share this perspective as malls in the US face a decline in both visits and sales. At the moment, Ruiz Velasco says its physical stores remain profitable and are complemented by the company’s retail website.

The brand’s success, its consistent growth and the increasing acceptance of consumers could not be possible without the contribution of the people who work in the company, says Ruiz Velasco. “At Grupo Clōe we do not have a great machine that thinks and leaves things done. We have a team of talented, dedicated and passionate people working in all areas, from design to commercial, administrative and accounting,” he says. A good example is Grupo Clōe’s fully Mexican creative team that designs more than 6,000 accessories a year. “Also, we always look for a factory that can provide the best quality at the best price,” Ruiz Velasco adds.

Cloe has boutiques at the airports of the most important cities in the country, such as Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Los Cabos. "For us, it is a source of pride to show off that we are a Mexican brand and that we are competing against Italian, Chinese or American brands in Mexico and Latin America," says Ruiz Velasco.

 

Grupo Clōe is a Mexican retail company focused on women’s accessories such as handbags, sunglasses, watches and luggage. The company has 38 boutiques in Mexico and is also present in other countries in Latin America

Photo by:   Grupo Clōe
Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst