The difficult economic context we are experiencing in connection with the pandemic has had an enormous impact on fairs. What effect has it had on the participation of some of your companies at the last edition of Micam, the only fair that was held with a physical presence?
If there’s anything we’ve learned from these past months, it’s that in our sector “touch and feel” continues to be fundamental in the rapport between producers and B2B customers, above all when it comes to more fashion-oriented footwear and innovations. Virtual experiences are all well and good, but do not replace personal interaction, both at trade fairs and in showrooms. MICAM was the fair of reference on the trade fair calendar as well as the only one to be held in-person, with most of the orders booked on site. Despite the heavy repercussions of the pandemic on Spain, it was important to transmit to the sector that the companies of CALZIA – Yute de Caravaca were continuing to work in complete accordance with all hygienic and social distancing measures.
As far as your expectations were concerned, how did this ‘special’ edition of Micam go?
Expectations were not high, but entrepreneurs arrived in Italy with a feeling of confidence after the satisfying results of Gallery Shoes. Undoubtedly, the last-minute cancellations both in terms of visitors and exhibitors had negative repercussions for everyone and better reactivity in all this would have been appreciated. We hope that the MICAM organisational body appreciated the enormous economic efforts made by the companies present, an effort that was not compensated by sales. I believe it is possible for all of us to exit from this situation united, and just as our businesses supported MICAM with their participation, the fair will likewise support these businesses in the times to come, which will undoubtedly be extremely difficult.
As an association, how are you supporting your business in this difficult moment?
Right from the very start of the pandemic, we launched a recovery plan for our businesses based on three main principles – legal-business-healthcare support – providing these companies with complete and direct information, in accordance with the circumstances of the entire sector and the Decrees issued by different national governments, both regional and local. In March and April, we then launched CALZIA SOLUTIONS LAB, a series of webinars aimed at allowing entrepreneurs to make the most of their time during the lockdown, by providing them with a complete and real picture of the situation so they could formulate strategies suited to the future. 70% of our businesses participated in these videoconferences with important international leaders included among the guest speakers. Finally, we launched YOUTE VIRTUAL FESTIVAL B2B, our virtual fair created as an alternative to Yute Arts Festival, which is celebrated in Caravaca de la Cruz in June and which we were forced to cancel this year. The virtual fair, which can be accessed on http://youte.es, provides all the information and virtual showcases of the different participating brands, with videos and contacts aimed at encouraging online business.
What do you think will be the winning factors for businesses in the Post-Covid Era? What winning cards do your businesses have in this difficult game?
This crisis is accelerating many changes that had already begun years ago and is favouring the most flexible, digital, and reliable companies, while public opinion is increasingly influenced by values like local production, sustainability, and social responsibility. In this new context, our companies are without a doubt in a privileged position: more than five centuries of tradition in the production of “espadrilles” in Caravaca – in the region of Murcia – represent a DNA of undisputable value, which sees the sustainable processing of natural fibres and craft workmanship undertaken with criteria of social responsibility as the protagonists. I believe that the interest of the public at large in these values of sustainability and craft workmanship can’t help but be to the full advantage of our brands, as well as to private labels.