Miguel Angel Muñoz
President of the Regulatory Council
Marca Chiapas
View from the Top

Marca Chiapas: Symbol of National and International Quality

By Alessa Flores | Thu, 10/22/2020 - 09:24

Q: What benefits do products and services gain with recognition under the Chiapas brand name?

A: Marca Chiapas has become a hallmark that promotes companies and improves their quality performance. Although some companies already have great quality in their products, partnering with us is a guarantee that quality will be consistent and that businesses will act in order to have a more formal organizational culture to participate successfully in national and international markets. Other states, such as Yucatan, Baja California, Campeche and Oaxaca, have replicated and adopted the excellence of our brand. Furthermore, to market their products, our business people constantly participate in international fairs and exhibitions. In addition, Marca Chiapas offers the support of various committees, made up of experts in the fields of food, amber, handicrafts, coffee, tourism and culture, to help reinforce the products and their market participation. We have over 334 businesses to date that offer 1,669 different products and services. It is important to note that one of the pillars that makes Marca Chiapas so successful is that it is the only brand based on a public-private partnership in Mexico, so all of our partners have the support of governments and business people with experience in different markets.

Q: What is the profile of the companies that are associated with Marca Chiapas?

A: We handle a broad variety of products and a wide variety of company sizes. For example, Tapachula-based products, such as mango and banana, are highly competitive and popular in international markets. Coffee also has a strong participation in various markets. My Coffee Box, which allows us to send a kilo of coffee along with a Chiapas handcraft to customers in other countries, is another business model we provide. These models are used to reach different international markets; however, not all of our micro-entrepreneurs live in this reality. There are craftsmen who lack a bank account, access to the internet and have a production capacity of one to three pieces per month. We have a collection and marketing model for this type of entrepreneur through nearby stores and direct payment for their products. These models are based on local consumption, which is essential to capitalize our local trade. It is very important for us to be aware of the diverse reality that our partners live in, since we have different supply and business models for the companies that participate with us. We must serve small artisans as well as artisans with semi-industrial production. Finally, all of our products have three components: they represent the identity of Chiapas, they are physically or morally located in the state of Chiapas, and at least 50 percent of the raw material production and industrialization and its contents originate in the state.

There are also companies that have products such as amber jewelry, crafts, textiles, basketry, lacquer, wood carving, footwear, bags, clothing and others. As well as companies in the food sector oriented to the production of sauces, tortillas, jams, chocolates, coffee, cheeses, tilapia, tuna, powdered drinks, among others. In addition to ornamental products and daily use such as flowers, aromatic oils, soaps, shampoos, cultural products, to tourist services such as hotels, restaurants and resorts.

Q: What is the strategy of Chiapas brand stores and how do they help to promote the products in Mexico?

A: Although the Marca Chiapas is a quality hallmark, to have an impact on the sales of the products and services of the companies involved with us, a greater effort was necessary. The physical stores of Marca Chiapas function as centers for handicraft collections and instant sales displays. This helps the companies to make their products known to domestic and international tourists visiting us in Chiapas, thus helping to capitalize on their products and services. The opening of the first Chiapas brand cafeteria, which had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is another business model. We will open this store once conditions allow it. The opening of physical stores would help us maintain a local supply system in the same space and create spaces for the sale of products, which, in turn, will provide local residents with more employment opportunities as we need staff to serve the stores. In addition, we are associated with experts in the use of social media and digital sales platforms to promote e-commerce and, thanks to agreements we have made with DHL, some of our entrepreneurs have shipped their products through this logistics operator.  

Q: What strategic alliances does Marca Chiapas have to boost the promotion of Chiapan products at present and what other players do you want to incorporate soon?

A: Currently, a vast number of state government agencies participate with us, such as the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of the Countryside, the Ministry of Welfare, The Ministry of Economy and Labor, the Ministry of Health , the Ministry of Agriculture , Livestock and Fisheries, the Chiapas House of Handicraft, the Chiapas Coffee Institute, and the Chiapas State Council of Culture and the Arts. We are looking to add other actors that support us in strengthening the capacities of our companies, such as national and international NGOs, mainly in fair trade strategies. We also want to add these organizations to support us in marketing our goods and supporting our small-business owners. Similarly, we will look for new spaces so that the products continue to be marketed at fairs and exhibitions. Our amber producers are already participating in the International Jewelry Expo in Guadalajara, for example. However, for smaller artisans, who in turn have been more affected by the pandemic and require greater support, this model of participation has not been effective. 

Q: What are some of the success stories that stand out and why?

A: Each of the entrepreneurs who work with us is credited with the success of the companies associated with Marca Chiapas, and our job is to be a pivotal moment in the capitalization of opportunities. Ninety-seven percent of our partners are micro-entrepreneurs who need strong support, and success comes not just from partnering with us, but from each entrepreneur 's work. This 97 percent of employers are made up of five to 10 employees and for the same reason it is very easy to train the entire team but, in turn, training one person can mean that an area will quickly fall behind. For example, through an alliance with the Federal Ministry of Tourism called Mexico in the Heart of Mexico, which hosts business people to promote their products and services, we were able to gain invitations for approximately 20 companies that belong to Marca Chiapas. AT one of these events, one of our associated companies closed a deal to sell coffee to all the restaurants of “El Porton” in the country.

Photo by:   Miguel Angel Muñoz
Alessa Flores Alessa Flores Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst