Portuguese Footwear Factories Bet on Quality

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Portuguese Footwear Factories Bet on Quality

When Portugal accepted an international bailout a few years ago, its rescue lenders pushed an orthodox strategy for digging out of recession. Cut wages and prices, they instructed, and exports will become more competitive. Shoes factories, here in Felgueiras the Portuguese footwear capital, did just the opposite—and they are thriving.

We have boosted wages to keep our workers motivated and, on the other hand, we have invested in technology and brand promotion. The bet on quality is paying off with an export boom that is helping Portugal’s recovery.

The secret of our success is very simple. We invest in quality, comfort and a product that is different from others out there. And, besides this, we add an aggressive brand marketing that have helped our industry to draw VIP clients such as Michelle Obama, Penélope Cruz, Naomi Watts and Spain’s Princess Letizia.

And now, the 400 shoe companies based in Felgueiras, a city of 60.000 inhabitants have an unusual problem: They can’t find enough skilled workers to meet demand for their shoes…