Entrepreneur creates firm that modernizes the “agency sweatshirt” and earns BRL 32 million
Renata Figueiredo is the founder of Cia Mandarine, which creates personalized corporate uniforms and “fashions”
THE Cia Mandarine, the result of the efforts of entrepreneur Renata Figueiredo, wants to end the idea that the famous welcome gifts of companies need to be, as a rule, a shirt with the brand logo. The company, a maker of “fashion” corporate uniforms, intends to change this scenario by uniting aspects of fashion and branding (a term that refers to marketing efforts for the positioning of a brand) when it comes to making company clothes.
How the company came about
Figueiredo’s idea for creating the business came after a period as a marketing intern at Schutz an accessories brand that belongs to the conglomerate Arezzo&Co. Immersed in the world of fashion, she began to enjoy creating original pieces in line with what was most modern in the collections of the moment.
The same passion, together with the desire to have his own business, led Figueiredo to leave the position and open his own clothing brand with a partner. The business, however, gained other characteristics when the entrepreneur received a request from a friend to help her with the creation of a personalized uniform for a corporate event.
After that, the business boomed. “Directors come to me in droves saying that there was nothing similar in the market, in uniforms that are different and reinforce the identity of a brand”, says the entrepreneur.
It was then that she decided to buy the partner’s share in the clothing company and transform it into Mandarine, fully dedicated to personalized uniforms, in 2017. For the initial investment, Renata used saved savings and invited 3 friends to join as partners in the business.
Who are Mandarine’s customers
Mandarine’s first major client was ambev, from the Colorado beer brand. At the time, the manufacturer faced a certain difficulty in defining the best costumes resold in bars and emporiums.
Today, the company serves companies such as Magazine Luiza, Walmart, iFood, Via and Sicredi. “These are large companies and they need a company that can translate what they are looking for into uniforms or resale”, he says.
According to her, Mandarine serves as a bridge for companies interested in developing collections for the final consumer or also for employees.
In addition to the traditional t-shirts and hoodies, the company also develops:
- social attire;
The business differentiator
The great thing about Mandarine, according to Figueiredo, is in evaluating the pieces also from the branding point of view — a pompous term to define marketing efforts that reinforce the power and value of brands. “Today we are a unique company and certainly one of the few in the market to create a uniform that also positions”, he says.
An example is in the relationship with beer itself. Colorado, traditionally linked to sustainability. To create uniforms aligned with this purpose and with less environmental impact, Mandarine developed a fabric made from PET bottles. “We have to go against what the brand preaches, because it’s no use going against the company’s values”, he says.
With the pandemic, Mandarine benefited from the efforts of brands to welcome employees locked up at home. Even without growth, the company maintained a reasonably smooth margin with the development of new items such as socks, hats, caps and necessaires to boost welcome kits and welcomes for employees. “Our proposal is to create more funky pieces, with different colors, fabrics and even types of modeling”.
Recently, the company has also invested in hiring the most experienced names in the market to help create more robust growth strategies. In addition, Mandarine has created a new range of services available to client companies, such as a parts logistics arm for customers who wish to outsource deliveries to points of sale or directly to employees.
Now, with more mature services and greater customer acceptance, Mandarine wants to more than double its 2021 revenue. Last year, revenues were around R$32 million.