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PROCOLOMBIA Tourism, Foreign Investment and Exports promotion

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Baptisms and First Communions Are Some of the Children's Clothing Exporting Options

Baptisms and First Communions Are Some of the Children's Clothing Exporting Opti Baptisms and First Communions Are Some of the Children's Clothing Exporting Options
Ceremonies and special dates have become a market niche for exporters. They are also one of the trends at the EIMI fair in Bucaramanga

For different seasons, religions and age groups. Children's clothing for special dates and ceremonies has become a market niche and one of the preferred options for Colombian business owners when exporting apparel.

"You have the bris for 8-day-old Jewish baby boys; baptisms of different religions, and there are people that baptize their children as late as the age of 10. Then there's communion and confirmation; First year birthdays are very big; for Mexicans it's the third birthday when they introduce their girls. "Quinceañeras" are very popular as well as sweet sixteens. There are several graduations: daycare, kindergarten, first grade, fifth grade, eighth grade, and senior year," explained Lupe Jusino, a buyer from the United States. He came to Bucaramanga to participate in the event along with 61 international buyers brought by PROCOLOMBIA to the International Children's Fashion Exposition (EIMI, in Spanish) in that Colombian city.

"In total, we've identified 14 potential markets for Colombian children and junior apparel, of which three are very specific for the celebrations and special dates segment: the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain," indicated María Claudia Lacouture, President of PROCOLOMBIA.

Specifically in the U.S. market, according to American business owners, they are in a transition from Asia to Latin America in terms of suppliers. "We want more direct contact with Colombia because we know its quality, and because we don't want to work with other suppliers, like the Chinese or Thai," insisted Jusino.

Another American buyer, Caletha Crawford, added that "everything related to special occasions is a good sector, because the parents, grandparents, and others who give these type of gifts are willing to spend more on these garments. They may buy cheaper clothes for everyday wear, but when it comes to a baptism or something like that, they are more interested in quality."

According to a PROCOLOMBIA analysis, the added value of things like hand-embroidering plus the free trade agreement are two important factors when it comes to selling in the United States. Additionally, the major trends that impact the apparel market are marked by diverse marketing strategies, constant markdowns to keep the customers, and more efforts by brand names to offer lower prices to consumers.

Particularly in Spain, gift-giving occasions multiply around Christmas, Easter and birthdays. In the United Kingdom, organic cotton is highly desired because it is free of chemical residues that may be bad for your health, and hand-embroidered garments are also popular.

Colombian Business Owners Are Betting on Added-value

Creaciones Bordino Limitada is an example of how Colombian business owners are taking advantage of the ceremonies and special dates niche by giving their products added value.

Born in 1982 as a family initiative in Bucaramanga, the company now exports to the United Kingdom, the United States, Panama, the Caribbean, Venezuela, and Ecuador. "I think Colombia produces very nice designs; these handicrafts are disappearing abroad and have a very high value," explained Martha Lucia Serrano.

The company's garments dress children up to the age of six for baptisms, first communions and for weddings as flower girls and ring bearers, are made by 200 artisans from several municipalities near Bucaramanga. "This is really a totally classic niche, because it has a lot to do with family traditions. Because these garments are hand-made and embroidered, they are kept for life as souvenirs."

Segundo Rivera, assistant manager at Infantiles Ingaparuca Limitada, also exports to the U.K. and the U.S. "More than anything, we deal with boutiques. They are the ones who buy this line of products," he commented.

Bolivia is another export market. Diana Tellez of Ceremonia Kids made her first visit to last year's EIMI. "This year we bought baptism outfits, and although we have only been in business 3 years, we already offer a wide range of products, including dresses, guayaberas, girls underwear, skirts, party dresses, boys' suits and ties, vest combinations and tuxedos."

According to Tellez, the dream is that "when someone thinks about a dress for a ceremony or special date, Colombia will be the country of reference."

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