sexta-feira, 23 de março de 2012

Soap opera

A revista Monocle veio conhecer os bastidores dos sabonetes portugueses afamados no mundo inteiro, que é como quem diz a fábrica onde se produzem também os exclusivos Ach. Brito / A Vida Portuguesa (uma parceria de sucesso que se estendeu à sociedade na loja do Porto):

"Ach. Brito soaps are instantly recognisable by their vintage-inspired packaging and Claus Porto label. This family-run company dates back to 1887 but still continues to innovate and appeal to new markets. (...)

"We've been through the Great Depression, World Wars, the (Carnation) Revolution with customers," says Brito, dipping his nose into a mixer to sniff the lemony notes wafting out of the machine. "It's an intimate relationship - after all, our products end up in people's bathrooms." (...)

Tradition is taken serously at the company, with several mechanical machines from the 1940s still favoured over fancy automation. "There are no computer viruses to worry about with these," explains Brito, pointing to a sorting machine with its engine hissing and thumping as it guides slender, rectangular-cut bars along at a pedestrian pace for packaging. "We aren't after 24/7 production. Most of the soaps are still wrapped one-by-one by staff. It goes from their hands to the customers' hands."

Operating in a sector dominated by multinational conglomerates, Ach. brito's vegetable-based soaps still manage to attract the eye of shoppers with its focus on traditional wrapping. Its extensive archive of labels - some 500 at last count, many with cute Art deco references - are designs that were drawn up in-house in the early years of the business. "Sometimes we reintroduce in a limited edition a certain image for a year. They become collector's items for clients," says general manger José Fernandes, who has also worked with shops to develop exclusive lines, most notably Portuguese retailer A Vida Portuguesa." Ivan Carvalho

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