SEBRAE and H.Stern were the first Brazilian companies that were on our schedule. Dressed smartly in our formals, we were kind of reluctant to face the unpleasant heat as the metro and bus had to be taken to reach SEBRAE’s office.
SEBRAE stands for ‘ServicoBrasileiro de Apoio as Micro e PequenasEmpresas’. As complicated the name sounds, so is the nature of their operations – ‘consultants for entrepreneurs’. Brazil, a booming economy has been creating a lot of entrepreneurial opportunities and is ranked 130th in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings. There are countless bureaucratic procedures and documents to be completed before one can set up an enterprise. Nevertheless, the complicated procedures do not stop the Brazilian entrepreneurs from setting up their own companies. SEBRAE helps entrepreneurs with this hurdle and offers consultancy services.
We were given a company briefing by the director, Mr Fred, who was detailed in his information about the intricacies of launching a startup in Brazil. We were impressed by SEBRAE’s commitment to providing aid to small and micro sized businesses and most of the questions were directed to understanding tax regulations, percentage of franchising companies and the opportunities in the future as the middle class income of Brazil is rising.
The next stop was at H.Stern.
H.Stern, a luxury jewelry company, was a delight to visit, especially for the girls in the class. H. Stern has bejeweled the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sharon Stone, and Angelina Jolie, the latter of whom wore the company’s most expensive piece to date to the 2004 Oscars. The company designed a special $10 million diamond necklace to accompany her white satin Marc Bouwer gown—an iconic ensemble that landed her on many best-dressed lists. Halle Berry was chosen as one of their ambassadors because her confidence and elegance are emblematic of the H. Stern woman—someone who is just as likely to choose jewelry for herself, as she is to receive it as a gift.
The company presentation was conducted by Mr Christian Hallot, who was a very good speaker. His infusion of humour in the description of consumer habits – of women in particular was quite amusing. Mr Hallot through his presentation took us on a virtual tour about the history of H.Stern and the changes the company and the industry as whole underwent over the past several years. We were intrigued by the depth of the marketing strategies of H.Stern. The kind of observation and research that goes into promoting their products was impressive. Mr Hallot remarked that women will make sure their husbands buy a pink car even if the latter wanted to go home with a black car. It illustrated that women hold the power of decision-making nowadays and H.Stern’s policy of empowering women by designing custom-made jewelry to suit their personalities.
We were taken on a tour of the store and the jewelry workshop after the presentation, which needless to say, the girls enjoyed more. We got the opportunity to understand in detail the steps followed in jewelry-making right from gem-cutting to final assembly and finishing. We understood that the value associated with the H.Stern jewelry was not merely in the value of the gems and precious metals but more in the kind of workmanship that goes into producing it.
The Biz Dev Blog Team