COVID Times – A Talk with Vasco Pizzaro

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Sandeep
We are in difficult times, how is Portugal doing?

Vasco
Personally, I have been home for voluntary quarantine for the last three weeks because I have a history of asthma since my younger days so they advised me to stay at home.

In terms of our company, we’ve already decided about two weeks ago in order to protect our workers to stop the activity for now. Portugal has not yet closed all non-essential activities and a lot of textile companies are adapting themselves to producing masks and protective gear for medical healthcare.

In our case, we don’t have that expertise so we are contributing in trying to stop the spread of the virus by sending our 400 employees to home to ensure their safety. We’ve also ensured the timely payment of their salaries during this period.

We are adapting ourselves accordingly and reinventing but unfortunately, most of the shops around Europe are closed, Spain has been hit very hard from this virus. I don’t know much about the Asian market but if you could give me some insights, I would be able to understand the situation of that market also.

Sandeep
I’m a little surprised because it seems that Asian countries are doing a little better as compared to American and European countries . Asian countries probably took a lot of precautions and still things are working, their shops are open people are going to the markets some of the factories are open, though of course, they are closing down for a few days now . Other countries like Singapore, Thailand or Taiwan which are very close to China, these have done a very good job there. 

Vasco

Yes, they’ve set very good examples as there were very close to China and countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau have controlled the situation very well and I also know that Japan is working because we buy fabric from there so I just talked them yesterday so I know that they are working but what I’ve been read is that Cambodia, India have taken serious measures. 

Sandeep
We are in complete lockdown, no factories no shops are opened. Everything is closed all over India 


Vasco
Yeah, I think the lockdown is the best measurement that they can do because it will help try to mitigate the spread. We should try to be positive now and we have to stay strong because otherwise, it is really going to be difficult. But I think it will help in the future and it will help us differently by initiating a dialogue of real sustainability and not the greenwashing which has been growing a lot for a couple of years. 

Sandeep
I would like to hear more about this, please explain a little more, I guess this is very important.

Vasco
I think the measurement mechanics of sustainability needs to be expanded a little bit. Especially in how you measure it because I think it’s that the standards can be deceitful now today because I know that there are a lot of people that have their companies based on ZHDC or other parameters.

I think that the parameters they are based on the laws of each country are deceitful because some laws can be more strict than others and also I think that people are not looking well at the waste in terms of – closing the land fills and the number of clothes that are being destroyed every year but the problem is that we have been producing more and I think people don’t look at the overproduction as much as they are focusing now on the other factors of sustainability before the product we made. 

The producer and manufacturer need to be more united, irrespective of the competition. I often wonder about how it could be, if we the producers and the manufacturers and the laundry houses and all the little guys unite themselves.

I always wonder that more people from our side of the industry is doing a lot of things for our world everyone wants to give better wages for their workers, everyone wants to give better conditions to their workers , everyone wants to be more sustainable, every one of us wants to spend as less water spends as as possible to create nice things or to develop new things and I believe there’s also the side that is always taking that advantages that we are creating and benefiting more from it but I believe that if we can unite ourselves and if we can understand each other more, It would be very good. 

Sandeep
Post-Pandemic, do you think E-commerce will do better than the brick-mortar stores?

Vasco

Of course, I believe that once the people leave their houses, they would like to go to a store but I’m talking about the medium to long-run prospect, I think parts of those markets that were resistant to e-commerce earlier will now go for more eCommerce set up. 

Sandeep
What about the seasons? Do you think we are moving towards season less collections?

Vasco
Yes, I think so, and I guess this was already in effect since the last couple of years. Instead of seasons, you see more through with presentation and instead of being colder, this winter season or fall or spring or summer, you kinda see a flow and you see variances that you couldn’t see in another place. I think the frequency with which we have been launching our collections have already made it season less. 

Sandeep
Do you think brands will want to change their location of sourcing post-pandemic?

Vasco

I think yes, we saw a lot of brands that wanted to have production closer to their facilities. In our case we always adapt ourselves in our trajectory as a company or even on services of course on the laundry and on the finishing and on the packaging, we always support the nearshoring.

We always know that the higher volume and the higher quantities will always will maintain themselves in other countries. Since we know that, in terms of price we cannot compete, we compete through logistics and through differentiation and to give a different product so that’s our way to compete.

Sandeep
Do you think in the coming times, people are going to spend more on home wear as they are spending too much time at home? 
Vasco

If you know, we work a lot for IKEA and Zara home, so for us, it’s a market that is going to be very successful for home textile. The home textile is growing in terms of importance for the people because they are also evolving as a product, so you see, especially on the textiles, on carpet, rugs, on bedsheets. The brands and the clients are choosing and are looking at many options available. 

IKEA brought the possibility that we can have a lot of different furniture at an affordable price if people started to turn their attention more on how they can make their house beautiful, so yes there will be more demand for home textiles in the coming times. 

Sandeep 

What do you think are the biggest positives of this situation, although this is very unfortunate? 

Vasco

I think if there’s any good thing which will come out of this would be the ability to analyze yourself and the company and the market in a status that nobody wants to be in

Sandeep

There are many stores are closing down, it may lead to a reduction in production, also consumers may look at lower consumption of clothes post-pandemic, How will it re-balance the whole chain?

Vasco
I think what the last crisis taught us is that the bigger companies stay stronger and the smaller will normally not survive. I believe that in terms of this equilibrium that we need to hold out, I think it will be very tough for most of us but I believe that the biggest players in whatever market will be the ones benefiting the most.
I believe that if you stay and if you have the ability to endure this time it can be very beneficial for you in the future.

I believe that brands we’ll also have to be more aware that they cannot squeeze the margins of the producers because this is showing us are that nobody is safe. But I really hope and we all really hope that in next 1 or 2 months we can come back to normal in some way,even if we have to take precautions .

Sandeep

Yes, we all believe that, let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best. It has been always pleasure talking to you, I hope we see you again soon 

Vasco
Thank you 

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