World Footwear


New Generation: meet João Monteiro

Aug 6, 2018 Portugal
New Generation: meet João Monteiro
With a background in Political Science and International Relations João Monteiro has been working in the Kyaia Group since 2012
João Monteiro works at the Kyaia Group, one of hte largest footwear players in Portugal, owner of the brands Fly London and Softinos. He has a background in Political Science and International Relations but the footwear call was stronger in the end.

Working in the footwear industry was a natural choice for you?
It was natural but also unexpected. When I was in Lisbon finishing my Degree, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, whether I should proceed studying or enter the job market and later go back to studying and get a higher qualification. At the same time I was finishing the degree, I already had a part-time job for the company, which allowed me to already have contact with this field. When I finished my exams, the challenge of being responsible for Softinos, which was starting at the time, aroused in a conversation with my father. That’s how my adventure within the world of footwear became more serious.

In the Kyaia Group, you have embraced a project from the very beginning: Softinos. Which were the main difficulties of that process?
I had some struggles with finding the right direction for the brand, always trying to assure that I was respecting the core characteristics of soft leather, colors and materials, at the same time I was thinking of ways to modernize Softinos. We had two seasons of learning experience until we were where we wanted to. From there everything became easier and, nowadays, designing our collection is perfectly aligned between all players within the company.

In your opinion, what does the new generation of entrepreneurs has to offer to the sector?
The new generation has a huge opportunity to make a difference because right now we’re going through significant changes, which have the potential to completely turn the way how the footwear production and sales are made. Keeping up with the latest technologies and embrace these opportunities is up to the youngsters. It’s a tough process on a typically traditional sector but at this point it’s inevitable. Who doesn’t do it correctly will fall behind and lose the race.

In what way will the footwear industry evolve in the coming years?
I think I already started to enter this topic in the last question. The technologies that are being developed will allow the footwear sector to completely redesign itself and will offer a huge range of opportunities, both at production and distribution levels. The online world is other thing that’s already a reality but will grow even more within the coming years. We can easily conclude this if we look to what the major footwear and clothing players worldwide are currently doing. For instances, adidas is selling annualy 1.6 thousand million euros through its ecommerce segment and is closing stores to dedicate itself with even more determination to online sales, expecting to reach to the value of 4 billion years per year by 2020.

What piece of advice would you give to a youngster who is entering the industry?
If I may, I’ll give two advices because of the two realities I experience and that, in my humble opinion, are not correct. I see a lot of concept ideas that are very interesting at its origin but quickly devalued by given in to the pressure of what is “fashionable at the moment”. If you have an interesting idea and believe in it, you should follow it without bowing to the pressures. It was an effort I had to make a lot because in Softinos we have core values that have always to be respected regardless of what is fashionable. The second one is almost in line with the first. Things take their time. We see a lot of brands that are created and no longer exist in the next year. To build a brand takes a lot of time and investments, especially in these troubled times for the business sector. It takes patience, persistence and hard work.

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