Advance Indústria Textil was founded in 1960 as a small weaving company whose main business was to manufacture knitwear and fabrics using nylon as the main material. Its first line was called Volta ao Mundo, and it helped open new opportunities in the local market. From the start, Advance Textil supplied its production to clients in Brazil and once the company established itself as an important producer the management looked for new opportunities to expand the operation. At the time, the president intended to use Lycra to start diversifying the company’s production, however, the opposition of a small group of companies to allow Advance to have access to Lycra from DuPont, prompted him to import the Lycra from outside Brazil. The initial limitation was probably a plus more than a drawback for Advance Textil, because the price of the imported Lycra was less expensive than the one available locally. “We were able to produce with lower costs, and that allowed us to pass on the savings to our customers,” says Eliane Waetge, manager of the marketing department. As a consequence of the lower prices, Advance Textil improved its position as a producer and supplier and gained more of a name against its competitors.
In the 1970s the company experienced its first period of strong investment, during which Advance Textil expanded its factory in the city of Várzea Paulista. Most of the investments were directed to enlarging the locale, but also to acquire more equipment that allowed the company to increase its production capacity. The low prices offered by Advance Textil more than doubled the demand for its products, so the company had to hire and train more workers. “The 1990s was when we turned the corner,” asserts Waetge. The entrepreneurial spirit and determination of the founder, who never recoiled from the difficulties, was a key component for success. Equally important was a series of partnerships that began not too long after the company’s daring expansion. Advance Textil began producing sweaters with Lycra, and the company didn’t stop growing since then. Another important part of this expansion was the creation of Advance’s own brand. After a while, Advance Textil left behind its Lycra based products and focused on a new line dedicated to beach and lingerie garments. This opened the doors for Advance Textil’s incursion into the fashion business and the company wasn’t only able to create its own products, but also to design clothing for brand names that began looking at Advance Textil as a trustworthy partner.
“At this point we were clear that we had reached our goal to make a name and consolidate our position,” remembers Waetge. Today Advance Textil acts in the beach, lingerie, fashion, fitness, surf and footwear segments, with one of the biggest factories in Latin America.
A MODERN ENTERPRISE
Advance Textil’s success isn’t only reflected in its sales volume or renowned name, but also in the way the company takes advantage of technology and materials to manufacture clothing that is considered to be of the highest quality. “The result of our work is seen in the way we have captured a considerable share of the market,” says President Jose Zajac. Advance Textil uses today the most advanced equipment and technology, complemented by an expertly trained workforce. The result is a line of products that is sought after by an ever growing list of customers around the country. “We pay equal attention to the needs our clients have,” indicates Zajac. “With competitive prices and an incomparable service we have been able to surpass everyone’s expectations, and we are not stopping.”
Advance Textil works on what its president calls a “vertical process” led by its own knitting department, a printing line and a dyeing segment. Advance Textil also supports its business with a team of salesmen spread all over Brazil. Doubtlessly, Advance Textil is today a model company that goes beyond its role as a supplier of quality products and whose goal is to maintain that respect from its clients. The company spends much of its time and resources in the development of goods based on fashion trends and adapts its activities to any client’s vision. “Our team of developers is always on top of the latest trends and materials which they later combine with their talent to manufacture a finished product that has no match,” indicates Fernanda Nobre, one of the company’s manufacturing managers.
Advance Textil invests around US$6 million a year in its processes and has a production capacity that reaches 1,000 tons a month, with room to grow. A key component in Advance Textil’s operation is the endless search for alternatives that allow the company to provide more and better options to clients. In fact, the company recently presented its new collection for the 2008-2009 summer season – among its models was the graceful Sabrina Sato. “The clothing lines attracted a lot of attention due to the unconventional styles,” says Nobre.
AN “ADVANCED” DIFFERENCE
Several departments work in cohesion at the company’s 100,000- square-foot facility to help the company maintain its position. Research and Development employs top-of-the-line equipment complemented by a group of qualified fashion coordinators, designers, color artists and designers. The knitting department is also state of the art; in fact, Advance Textil has the biggest factory of Kettenstuhl knitting in Latin America. Its superior production capacity enables the company to put out some of the most exclusive pieces made of microfiber, Lycra and nylon.
Advance Textil’s print department is one of the most modern in the country and the region. In fact, it was the first in the country to use digital cylinder printing. To save energy, Advance Textil uses its own power sources to generate electricity and natural gas. Furthermore, Advance Textil recycles 100 percent of the water it uses in the manufacturing of its fabrics and clothing.
To show off all of this production, Advance Textil has its own showroom equipped with the latest technology to accommodate clients’ visits with enhanced presentations of the company’s production processes and products. “Our products are distinctive because besides being fashionable, they satisfy the client’s goal of comfort, moisture absorbency and retention, elasticity, colorfulness, and sex appeal,” says Nobre.
Finally, Advance Textil invests heavily in marketing and customer service “because it is the only way potential customers will be able to make the difference between what we offer and the rest out there,” says Waetge. “Once a client sees what we offer and the way we try to adapt our services to their needs, the meeting usually ends with a hand shake and a closed deal.” Although Advance Textil sells most of its production in Brazil, the company also exports to Latin America, the United States and Europe. Advance Textil clients include distributors, wholesalers, other manufacturers, retailers like Wal-Mart and Renner as well as brand name clothing stores. Today, Advance Textil covers 80 to 90 percent of the Brazilian market in products designed for lines such as lingerie, fitness and beach. The company also supplies 20 percent of the demand in the wholesale sector of the industry.