An Argentine company of baby items has a presence in eight countries and is going for more
The company Carestino was born seven years ago in Argentina founded by Vanina Bianchi and Andres Mertes, a marriage of technicians in Foreign Trade. They went on the market baby products with a model of folding crib which they called “Happy Dreams”. The demand response exceeded their expectations and so they decided to move forward with their business plan. Currently the brand is in eight countries in the region, has 12 product lines with more than 450 items, 40 official stores and 150 employees. bill ones $20 million a year.
Internationally, in December 2021 landed in Paraguay and Chile, and in the next few days they will do the same in Panama, “consolidating the presence in the main countries of the Central American region”. The brand points to opening of 50 new physical stores throughout the continent, mainly in Peru, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Panama and Costa Rica
The plan for this year is to open a electronic store in Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Mexico and in 2023, to be able to reach Brazil and the United States. This year it hopes to add another 200 collaborators.
All brand products are in China, where -as indicated by the company- they have exclusive suppliers that “collaborate precisely in the development” of each of the items. “The design specifications are reviewed in Argentina, and materialized in China with the strategic contribution of our partners,” they add.
Alexander Lopez, Sales manager for Latin America of the company, says before the pandemic arrived they had managed to consolidate a team dedicated to the development of electronic commerce, which allowed them to “take advantage of all the opportunities” of the new scenario.
“In a way, it worked like a motor that gave strength to our online store and strengthened coordination between work teams in the most efficient way to be able to satisfy the demand”, he adds and insists that e-commerce has always been a “very important” factor for the brand.
The regional expansion started in 2019; the decision to also aim outside the country was influenced by the “instability of the national macroeconomic context” and also for what the founders define as their “entrepreneurial DNA” that always “encourages them to take on new challenges”.
“At that time we had about 100 direct collaborators and 30 own stores nationwide and we made the regional expansion official with the arrival of the brand to Uruguay; in For almost three years we managed to position ourselves as one of the leaders in childcare in the country”, describes López.
In the market in which the competition operates, they point out, it is “similar” in all countries, although the company warns that a “significant effort” to be able to adapt to each of the places where they arrive and attend to the “particular needs of consumers in the best possible way”. López states that all countries are a different challenge, the common strategy for all is “first to make ourselves known and then focus on specific actions according to the particularities of each territory.”
In the portfolio of products that they have, the main categories have strollers, high chairs, cribs and armchairs.
López maintains that the main challenge is to consolidate the work teams in order to achieve “sustained growth” and gain a foothold “in each of the different markets in the same way that we do it today in Argentina.” He admits that it is a difficulty be able to maintain the same quality standards and “even improve them as the structure and scope of the brand develops in new markets.”
At the national level, they continue to expand and open new stores in provinces and regions where the brand currently does not have a physical presence, while deepening consolidation in those locations where they already operate.