Sustainability Case

Starting from reality

In times of crisis that we can see the decisive actions of small business entrepreneurs. Attitudes that can lead to success or failure, in moments that we can’t make a mistake. The success comes, first of all, from the ability to see possible solutions in the current reality and the willingness to help others in some way. As the famous scientist Albert Einstein used to say: “In the midst of difficulty, there is an opportunity”.

The Oseni Sweets

Entrepreneur Oseni, who lives in the Cidade São Pedro neighborhood, in Santana do Parnaíba, saw from up close how the coronavirus crisis could end her dream, that is, close her cake shop. At that moment, her attitude was “quick and sure”, as a project that has few resources and low working capital, could not wait long, as each day of closed business, generates numerous costs, such as rent, water, electricity and promissory notes for products to be paid.

Oseni made a decision to negotiate the rent with the business owner (delay the payment of the month) without success, so she made the decision that many would not make, handed over the business, took out her equipment and took it to her home. At that moment, her kitchen, which was initially designed for the production of cakes and sweets, is again essential, but now for the manufacture of Easter eggs.

As stated at the beginning, “in the midst of difficulty is the opportunity”. The crisis is here, but what can I do to overcome it? With the idea that the Easter season was approaching and people were at home, Oseni had the “start” to make eggs to order, but he had an obstacle, how to deliver the product in times of social isolation, taking care? Nothing like an active entrepreneurial profile.

The entrepreneur made the eggs with all the necessary hygiene, which was already standard in her manufacture of products and started sending messages through social medias informing about her sales, but whoever ordered the eggs had to confirm the pick-up time, the form of payment, card or cash and if would need change.

Every action taken in the advertising, aimed the care with hygiene, since by the scheduled time, Oseni left the gate open for the customer to enter the garage, there was a counter with the quantity of eggs ordered, the card machine or change when necessary, if it was cash payment, in addition to alcohol gel and the entrepreneur observing from distance.

With this attitude, Oseni had a turnover that exceeded 300%, which also made it overcome the crisis, in times when some closed their doors to never open again and others are totally inactive. Oseni Sweets managed to face this pandemic moment with attitude, quick and logical thinking and using the opportunity of the moment to have excellent profits.

Wagner’s masks

Another inspiring case is from entrepreneur Wagner Felix: Since 2014, he and his mother Neusa have worked together to make and repair clothes in Morro Doce neighborhood, west of São Paulo. In the beginning, Wagner and a friend designed the pieces and Neusa was responsible for sewing. Afterwards, the boys sold the products on the street.

During one of the consultations with Wagner, the idea arose to start sell his pieces at Paulista Aberta, a fair that took place every Sunday in São Paulo. He participated a number of times, increased the profit, mobilized and took out the artisan card: a document that ensures that the artisan can legally display his products.

A lot has changed, the friend left and Wagner and Neusa stayed. The clothing repair shop has grown to become a studio, while the mother repairs clothes and takes care of the administrative part, Wagner designs and makes custom-made clothes.

During the new coronavirus pandemic, Wagner and his mother altered, like everyone else, the functioning and logic of their professional activities. They shut the doors of the enterprise and continued to carry out commercial activities only partially.

The decline in sales was immediate and when thinking about an answer to that reality, they identified the need to produce protective masks to sell. They followed all the safety norms and joined the technique they always had with new knowledge. Soon the whole neighborhood was already aware of the news!

The high quality of Neusa and Wagner’s work is recognized all around, the studio has its brand linked to reliability. These characteristics have always yielded good results and now isn’t different. They managed, through indications, to contact a large company that was looking for production of protective masks by small entrepreneurs. After a series of conversations, the company placed an order of 4,000 masks to Wagner and Neusa.

To complete the work at the right time, they expanded the network of employees and employed a total of 10 people. According to Wagner, they chose people who were experiencing a situation of high socioeconomic vulnerability, such as residents of Favela do 16, Rosinha, among other places… They chose people who were with a late rent, unemployed and unable to generate income at the time.

The team is successfully placing the order, delivering the last batch of masks on Saturday, April 25th. The initiative of Wagner and his mother strengthens local commerce in the region, generates jobs, income and protection for the neighborhood. In the midst of such a difficult scenario, they managed to practice solidarity and make the financial sustainability of the enterprise viable.

There is no single miraculous recipe to face this emergency, but the cases of Oseni and Wagner inspire, as they are living examples of courageous attitudes by entrepreneurs who have identified concrete solutions to their problems in the current reality.

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