Internationalization conclusions from our SMEs Frontrunners analysis

Submitted by Chris Moscardi on 07 July 2021


The project run an analysis of its ecosytems and identified 10 frontrunners companies & SMEs from the sustainable fashion industry, who shared their lessons learned and are giving through this report recommendations based on their experience and strategy in internationalization, considering the specificity of selling their products to markets outside EU.

The internationalization process should incorporate distinct types of approach, adjusted to the company objective and country reality, which can include participating in trade fairs as exhibitor (when already know the market to gain new clients) or as a visitor (as first approach to assess the interest of that new market), participating in missions (to address specific market niches) and visiting clients or receive clients in company facilities (to keep clients engaged and increase trust);

For any type of internationalization activity, a good preparation is a key element, not only in logistic and communication terms, but especially in terms of contacts to obtain a good match between what the company has to offer, and what the client wants to buy (do not offer pears to those ones looking for apples) - including type of product, target price, market segment, etc.

  • Make a market research in order to have information about the market demand for the company type of products.
  • The internationalization strategy must be focused on results, specially what the consumer wants (consume movements) and adjust the product to that market (deliver what the client needs).
  • The support of relevant partners to the internationalization process is a key factor.
  • Important to stablish connexion with associations, technology centres, etc. that can promote the contact with the adequate clients in the target market.
  • Cooperate with local designer who knows the need of the market.
  • Use the services of legal professional of international law, specialist in the target market.
  • The presence in trade fairs does not result in business immediately. The main direct result is the development of contacts as potential clients and give visibility to the company. Be aware that clients start to recognize the brand/ company after 3 years.
  • The “From Portugal” model, from ASM, is a good example of a positive presence of the companies as exhibitors in trade fairs, because allows an integrated and imposing booth, supporting all the technical and logistic needs of the companies (especially to SME).
  • Be consistent, maintain high quality and offer innovative design.
  • Be aware that the best results are reached by doing differently.
  • Quick communication is especially important. Be ready to follow the country time zone.
  • The internationalization process requires resources investment (human and financial).
  • Have good knowledge of incoterms and of the tariffs to which the goods are subject.

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