The Maria Zelma’s success story

Last week, following the stories of our institutional video, we shared the trajectory of Jucélia and her husband in the region of Sol Nascente. Today is the day for you to meet Maria Zelma, an entrepreneur and a paint and textures store owner in Jardim Canaã, one of the low income community areas supported by Aventura de Construir (ADC), located in the outskirts of São Paulo.

Maria Zelma has two children and is married to Adailton. She takes care of the store and the business finance and he works with her, offering painting and texture services to the clients and thus complementing the family income. The establishment was opened 5 years ago and caters mainly to locals, but Adailton manage to occasionally get customers in other parts of the city too.

As soon as she got to know Aventura de Construir, Maria Zelma took out two loans from the Banco do Povo Paulista, using them as working capital and to renovate the store. By staying in a high-traffic location, it was important to invest in the store space, such as a new ceiling, new textures on the wall and a more attractive facade, in order to bring more customers.

After that, Maria started taking part in ADC’s workshops and also requested the advisory service with our consultants. The aspects worked out were more basic, such as communication, customer attention, finance and networking. One difficult conclusion we came across during this work was that the store hasn’t been making profit directly through sales, but indirectly by attracting customers to her husband. However, this was enough to pay the costs and meet the family needs, and even not reaching the expected sales volume, the couple chose not to close the business.

With a consistent monitoring and doing all the homework ADC advised, in the following months Maria Zelma started to adopt changes that helped strongly to increase sales. She has partnered with two companies in the same area specialized in plaster application and construction to exchange contacts and recommendations, in order to complement each other’s services. This partnership was also made with entrepreneurs from around them, creating a great references network. To improve the publicity, she announced the store in the neighborhood’s magazine and delivered five thousand new pamphlets in some more distant places in Morro Doce. Besides that, the renovation began to provide results as well.

Through all these combined actions, the family perceived an increase in their purchasing power and life quality, both at work and at home, being able to make day trips and small pleasures with their children, which was not possible before. And now the dreams keep growing, along with their financial sustainability: the next goal is to learn how to better plan future spending so they can save money for a family trip.

With this empowerment, the entrepreneurs attended begin to impact their own communities, through the employees hiring, the example of success, the economic and social improvements. Want to understand more how this works? Watch our institutional video and get inspired!

Silvia Caironi

Adriano