History and Profile
Arezzo&Co is a leader in the women’s footwear, handbags and accessories market in Brazil. Founded 45 years ago, the company now sells more than 10 million pairs of shoes a year, as well as handbags and accessories. There are six brands – Arezzo, Schutz, Anacapri, Alexandre Birman, Fiever and Owme – with products that are noted for their quality, design, comfort and innovation.
The Arezzo&Co brands are the sign of a different and desirable lifestyle. There are many different product lines, appealing to specific markets and suitable for all occasions.
Over the years, the company has won dozens of awards in the areas of production, technology, innovation, management, marketing and e-commerce. It has been recognized year after year as the best franchise for women’s footwear, handbags and accessories in Brazil. It has taken first place in the rankings in a range of sectors, such as footwear, textiles and leather artifacts in the Exame magazine Melhores e Maiores (Best and Biggest).
Arezzo&Co was incorporated in 1972 by Anderson Birman, in the city of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. The company was born of Birman’s entrepreneurial dream of creating products to delight women, and of his inspired desire that the production of footwear in Brazil, which in the 1970s was highly influenced by European fashion, should follow trends in Italy. The company started making shoes for men, but soon shifted its attention to women and launched the brand which would become a household name for women’s footwear and handbags in Brazil: Arezzo.
The Arezzo name became established in the Brazilian market for women’s footwear in 1979, with the launch of the Anabela line of jute sandals. This distinctive model soon became the brand’s first major sales success.
The 1980s saw verticalization of production in the region of Minas Gerais, and this allowed for greater quality control throughout the production chain, from the raw material to the finished product. During this period some 1.5 million pairs of shoes were produced annually, and the company had a staff of 2000.
During the 1990s the focus was on retailing. In 1990, the first Arezzo brand flagship store opened on Rua Oscar Freire in São Paulo, which was already one of the city’s major hubs for Brazilian and international fashion houses.
The company then started investing more in events at outlets, and built up its franchising business, thus successfully creating a countrywide market for its products. Owned stores were also opened in strategic consumer centers.
It was at this time that the company closed down its own manufacturing facilities in Minas Gerais and started outsourcing production in the region of Vale do Sinos, in Rio Grande do Sul, which specialized in making footwear.
Another development in the 1990s was that the concept of fast fashion started taking hold, and the sales operation was centralized in São Paulo. During this time, Arezzo started focusing on R&D and brand management, investing in new types of marketing and communication. New models and trends followed in quick succession.
At 18 years of age, Alexandre Birman founded the Schutz brand. Initially it was independent of Arezzo, and was intended to be a brand of footwear for outdoor sports; later it was transformed into a line of women’s shoes, and became known for fashion products.
In 1999, Schutz also moved production to the city of Campo Bom, in Rio Grande do Sul, and in 2002 its operations began to expand overseas, with footwear being exported and exhibited at the major international fairs.
This year saw the private equity fund Tarpon taking a stake in the company, and at the same time the Schutz business was merged into the group. The alliance between Arezzo, Schutz and Tarpon led to major synergies for the family business, and a portfolio of complementary brands came into being.
he Anacapri brand was launched in November 2008, taking its name from a city on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. The objective of the brand is to take the hassle out of women’s daily lives. Quality, price, personality and, above all, comfort are essential features of each new collection. Around a thousand new models and colors are offered each year, featuring in three main collections and limited editions.
Alexandre Birman, who also founded the Schutz brand, launched his own designer label in 2009, with a view to setting up luxury retail outlets worldwide. In the same year he was selected as “Revelation of the Year” and was awarded the “Vivian Infantino – Emerging Talent” award by Footwear News, at an event sponsored by FFANY, the Fashion Footwear Association of New York. He was the first Brazilian to be recognized by the magazine’s Achievement Awards. As a global brand, Alexandre Birman shoes adorn the feet of celebrities and fashion icons worldwide; they are stocked on the shelves of major multibrand outlets, such as Net a Porter, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks and Harvey Nichols, in addition to their owned stores in the Iguatemi, JK Iguatemi and Cidade Jardim shopping malls in São Paulo and the Village Mall in Rio de Janeiro.
Another step in the institutional development of the group was taken in February 2011, when Arezzo&Co went public. Its shares are listed under ticker ARZZ3 on the Novo Mercado segment of the São Paulo Stock Exchange.
The Schutz flagship store opened in September 2012 on Madison Avenue in New York. This was the group’s first store outside Brazil. The opening of the store reinforced the branding and brought the Schutz name to the attention of a range of local and international shoppers. The US market is the world’s biggest for women’s shoes – and we have a competitive advantage in affordability and the quality of fashion content which is on a par with the major players in the international luxury market.
Fiever, an allusion to FIVE (the fifth brand in the group) and FEVER, was born in 2015 as a cool, unpretentious urban brand aimed at a young audience. The brand is always innovating, matching the pace of this generation. The icon product, the white sole trainers, distils the essence of the brand: practical, cool and versatile.
The pilot operation in the USA in 2016 took a further step forward with the opening of a second flagship store in Los Angeles. The Schutz brand also achieved further significant recognition in the US market: the Footwear News “Brand of the Year” award. FN is one of the sector’s leading communication vehicles.
In May, Schutz opened its third store in the United States, a pop-up store in Soho – New York City.
In May, the brand reached a significant milestone in its by history opening its first international store on Madison Avenue in New York.
In 2018, Arezzo&Co launched its 6th brand – Owme (“Own” + “Me”). With timeless style, OWME seeks to meet a demand from women who want comfortable but beautiful shoes for every occasion of the day. In May, the brand’s first flagship store was opened at Oscar Freire street in São Paulo.
By dint of hard work, passion and a constant search for new ideas and the creation of long-term value for its stakeholders, Arezzo&Co expects by 2154 to be stronger still, recognized for its development of innovative products and as a trend-setter, thus perpetuating the dream of the Birman family: creating products to delight women.
Road to 2154!!