Fabian Duque Interview, General Manager at Finotex Colombia
The following article is the result of an interview with the General Manager of Finotex Colombia, Fabian Duque. In this article, he tells us about the experience this year at Colombiatex of the Americas, which was held this January 2016 from the 26th to the 28th, and our participation within it.
Colombiatex of the Americas is a leading tradeshow in Latin America, held by the Exportation and Fashion Institute, INEXMODA, where textiles, inputs, machinery and chemicals used in the making of garments are shown. It has been ranked as the most important business center in the textile industry, with 510 exhibitors and over 13,000 buyers arriving from 43 countries. It is the place where supply and demand, in all business segments and for all the universes of apparel, become one. Trends Forums are held, with 10 different conferences and over 1800 people assisting, also “Fash Mobs” are organized by 13 companies in 15 different runway shows, and a Knowledge Pavilion with 26 conferences with an attendance of almost 10,000 in person and over 46,000 connected via live streaming. In other words, it is a GIANT fair. It involves manufacturers and fabric marketers, as well as manufacturers of accessories used in the assembly of a garment.
About eight years ago, when the market suffered some important changes, other segments were added within the show that are not directly linked to clothing but with fashion. Accessories and crafts have also been a part of the show, making it one of the biggest fashion shows in Colombia, which has 28 years of existence. It takes place in Medellin every year during the last week of January, where Finotex has been participating since its very beginning.
Each year, we plan and try to align our participation within the fair, with the strategic plan we are making inside the company. That is, the development of a specific segment that we want to attack. Through 1995 to 2005, we focused on attracting an international market to this event and receive visits from buyers all over the world, for them to view what Finotex and Colombia had to offer.
Later, when Colombia started losing competitiveness because of different variables, especially the currency, the focus shifted. We started to head for a national market, focusing much on the product we wanted to promote. For example, years ago it was Thermal Printing. We set up a machine and performed a live exhibition with an operator, making labels on the spot.
This year, we focused on three main products that are the strategic basis for Colombia this year: The Elite Tag, Thermal Printing Label, and Decorative Heat Transfers. This is done without neglecting all of the other product lines we offer, such as Offset Hangtags or Flexo Printing. Every year we prepare a general catalog that includes all the product lines we offer in Colombia, which has become a tool that many customers and distributors anxiously wait for.
In terms of product, we are recognized as an important leader in the market. Why? Because we offer a different approach to what is commonly seen in the market. We use colors that are trending in the fashion world that are somewhat different from has been used today, but it is what’s going to be used tomorrow.
Our purpose at the tradeshow is not only to reaffirm ties or contacts with the shopping areas of our customers, but also to attract their design teams. Year after year, we have managed to do so and conduct meetings together, where we show them our latest collection and listen to concerns about what products are they expecting from us. Among the clients who visited us this year were: Leonisa, OFFCORS, PERMODA, Pronto, The GEF Crystal brand, Aritex, Totto and Supertex.
The overall experience of the fair this year was fun, with an optimistic and positive environment. Particularly in Colombia, which has been facing the process of its currency being devalued. Last year, this generated a contraction in demand but this year became a plus. A barrier on the imported product to continue entering the country was created, causing a substitution of imported garments to garments made in Colombia. A much larger dynamic of local manufacturers was created, in both the apparel and textile industries.
Events of this type are very important to us and it is something that we’ll definitely continue, as it is a showcase for our company. It is a time where we measure the positioning that our company has in front of the market. It is a personal moment where customers share their thoughts with us. They let us know how we are perceived as a company, and what they expect from us. We take time to listen to all the feedback with an open mind, having our goal to be a Finotex closer to our customers.
“A more visible Finotex, a Finotex with solutions, an Allied Finotex.”- Fabian Duque