Arezzo is a Brazilian shoe brand.
It was founded in 1972 by two brothers in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. At the time, brothers Jefferson and Anderson Birman were 21 and 18 years old respectively. With the help of their father, Henrique Lemos Birman, they set up a shoe factory in their garage. Their production was of around 50 pairs a week. The name of the company was chosen at random, the brothers decided to take a map of Italy (which had a lot of influence in the world of footwear) and randomly point at it, so that the brand would be named according to the chosen place. The city of Arezzo, located in the Tuscan region, was selected.
The brothers started selling men’s shoes to multi-brand stores. The success was so big that, at the request of shopkeepers, in 1974, they started selling women’s shoes as well. Soon after, in 1976, they opened the brand’s first store, which sold shoes of both sexes.
The brand’s first success was the Anabela sandal, covered with jute. It was a summer release that, in 1979, became a national sensation. In the 1980s, the brand, which had started in a garage, was producing two million pairs a year.
In 1986, they opened their first store in the franchise system, and in 1990, the first concept store on Rua Oscar Freire, in São Paulo, was opened. At that same time, because of costs, the brothers closed the Belo Horizonte factory, where the brand was created, and took it to Vale dos Sinos, in Rio Grande do Sul. They also transferred the main office to the city of Campo Grande, also in Rio Grande do Sul, where the largest footwear center in Brazil is located.
It was then that Arezzo transformed itself, going from a simple shoe factory to a large chain in the shoe retail sector. The brand started to invest in itself and in its various points of sale, which strengthened its franchise system and allowed Arezzo to reach all of Brazil.
In 2002, the company started to participate in international fairs, thus being able to go global. In 2004, to become a fashion brand once and for all, Arezzo hired model Eletra Rossellini as a poster girl. At the time, Arezzo already had a large rotation of products within its stores, and was launching four models per day.
The recognition of best franchise in Brazil came in 2005 through a survey carried out by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
In 2007, Anderson Birman bought his brother Jefferson’s part of the company. Soon after, he bought from his son, Alexandre Birman, the Schultz brand, another brand of women’s shoes founded in 1995.
That way, Anderson created the AREZZO GROUP. He sold 25% of it to the group Tarcon for R$ 76.3 million. From then on, they started to cover all segments, and created a luxury brand called Alexandre Birman, which parades on red carpets and dresses celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Amanda Seyfried and Jennifer Lawrence.
Thus Arezzo & CO (the AREZZO GROUP) became present in every market in the shoe sector. For the luxury market, there is the Alexandre Birman brand which focuses on handmade shoes and costs from R$ 400 to R$ 800. Schutz has a more fashion appeal and serves a niche that can spend around R$ 230 for a pair and, finally , Arezzo, the original, caters to the public who can pay around R$ 160 for a product. There are also the Uomo lines, for men’s shoes, and the Bambini line for children.
In 2008, Arezzo opened four stores in Shanghai, targeting the upper middle class audience. The brand also launched a collection of sunglasses and some cosmetics, such as suntan lotions, moisturizers and exfoliants.
In 2009, the brand launched a collection of nail polishes in eight colors. The collection was so successful that Arezzo & CO decided to launch a line of beauty cosmetics, the Arezzo Beauty, which has products such as lip gloss, lipsticks, powder eyeshadows, eyeshadow kits and eyeliners.
Today, Arezzo, in addition to being a group, is also an international shoe brand that has consolidated itself as a fashion brand, it has a profit of more than R$ 100 million and more than 300 stores throughout Brazil It’s the world.
Bibliography: Allan, Georgina O’Hara; Fashion Encyclopedia: From 1840 to the 1990s: Companhia das Letras, 2010.