quarta-feira, 5 de novembro de 2014

A Ach Brito é um modelo inspirador para quem queira abrir um novo negócio em qualquer parte do mundo. É a Monocle quem diz.



Company: Ach Brito
Location: Vila do Conde, Portugal
Founded: 1918
NUmber of employees: 50
Number of premises: 2
Family members involved: fourth-generation Aquiles Brito
Bestselling product: Citron Verbena Claus Porto bath soap

Quote: "It's important to start the next generation on the lowest rung of the ladder"

For Aquiles Brito (bottom, on right), the sweet smell of success is a daily occurrence. As the owner of family-run Portuguese soap maker Ach Brito, his typical workday sees him surrounded with the aromas of almond, honey suckle and wild orchid, a few of the scents offered in his brand's line of toiltries that well-groomed locals have used for generations.
"We've been through the Great Depression, World Wars and 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 relashionship - after all, our products end up in people's bathrooms."
Founded in 1918 by Brito's great-grandfather, the company's range includes bathing and laundry soaps, a popular lavender fragrance first sold in the 1920s and even a speciality soap made with pine tar for people who suffer from eczema. Tradition is taken seriously at the company, with several mechanical machines from the 1940s favoured over fancier automated production.
"There are no computer viruses to worry about," says Brito, pointing to a sorting machine with its engine hissing and thumping as it guides rectangular-cut bars along at a pedestrian pace for packaging. "We aren't after 24/7 production. Most soaps are still wrapped by staff. It goes from their hands to the customer's hands."
This approach has been a safe bet for the company's bottom line - revenues top €5m a year with the brand expanding overseas in recent years with its premium collection of Claus Porto bars made from natural ingredients, individually wrapped and sealed with wax.
Operating in a sector dominated by multinational conglomerates, Ach Brito's philosophy (and future) is grounded in its family set-up. "To prepare the next generation you need to be careful - they can be used tio having too much money," says Brito. "It's important to start them on the lowest rung of the ladder - they need to work at the warehouse and then move up."
With two sons it would seem that the future of brito's company is in good hands but the fourth-generation soapmaker doesn't have expectations. "I don't want to put any pressure on them to run the business; they have to decide. It's a company that was founded in 1918 and as the owner you feel an obligation to carry on this tradition. The family name is the company and consumers treat your products differently because behind it is a story and a family."

Family affair:
"Staying in the same family's hands has been a success for us. But while it's important to acknowledge our heritage as a strength, looking back on the past is not the way a business continues to be successful. Success is built on hard work, which requires us to constantly look for ways to improve." Aquiles Brito

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