Pubblished in Cinco Días on Monday the 19th August 2016 by Javier García Ropero
MBA programmes are considered the best training option for would-be senior managers yet they can also be a great place to start a small business. One such company — Brava Fabrics — was born in the ESADE MBA programme. It makes printed shirts (whether with bicycle or cassette designs) which are unique. The firm has made a splash in under a year and a half after being set up. Its founders, Ramón Barbero and Ivan Monells met while working together in the EMBA programme.
Ramón Barbero, on the left, and Ivan Monells, partners of Brava Fabrics. (Marta Jordi).
The firm’s garments have a ‘hipster’ touch, although both Brava Fabrics‘ founders are loathe to pigeon-hole their customers. “We want customers to love our style. The aim is not for customers to buy just a great shirt but rather to wear a ‘Brava’ on special occasions, explained Ramón Barbero, a 36-year old who trained as an Economist and who looks after the firm’s branding. His partner, 30-year old Ivan Monells, is an Industrial and Computing Engineer who takes care of the logistical and financial sides of the business. The two men have different backgrounds but they found that their skills nicely complemented one another when they worked together on the EMBA Capstone Project.
It was then that they decided to work together on a new venture after trying their hands at various on-line businesses on their own. The earlier experiences helped them learn and see things more clearly. One of the things they saw from the outset was that the new business had to be based on E-Commerce. They studied various sectors and realised that men’s fashion had bags of potential. “We chose shirts because it is a product that creates barriers to entry. You know that others are not going to copy your products — at least in the short term”, said Ramón Barbero. They scraped together their savings and got a couple of entrepreneurship loans to create Brava. In the beginning, the printing was not going to be the differentiating feature. “However, we quickly saw that it was what made the product a hit”, said Barbero, who noted that the company’s shirt designs are agreed on by the whole team, which comprises three members of staff and two outsiders.
The founders do not see the firm as part of the textile sector but rather as a lifestyle brand. Brava Fabrics does not follow the dictates of fashion but rather pursues successful E-Commerce models, such as Everlane in The United States and Hawkers in Spain. Their on-line vision is compatible with fashion-consciousness. All of their shirts are cut by hand using a pair of scissors. They are produced in Barcelona workshops under a Fair Trade policy.
This year, they hope turnover will rise to €600,000, a big rise over 2015 (€150,000). Their sales are made through the on-line channel, while 15% of sales are split between their Barcelona showroom and various marketing campaigns, such as city market stalls. Last year, the company was present in both Palo Alto and Barcelona, helping fuel the company’s launch.
This growth has helped boost production. They bring out four collections a year, which now feature 10,000 garments apiece. However, they also come up with new products every two months. “That means our products change every month, spurring customers to keep spending”, said Barbero. Short-sleeved shirts, Bermuda Shorts, men’s underwear, and women’s dresses and blouses make up a range of the firm’s highly distinctive garments. The next step will be to expand the firm’s equity in 2017.
Read the whole essay (in Spanish) here: http://cincodias.com/cincodias/2016/08/18/sentidos/1471547469_225013.html