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How Lipsio Carvalho Expanded His Business From Brazil to Canada

Lipsio Carvalho recently moved to Canada to expand his business. For him, social responsibility is not just a way to promote a company, but the only way to be sustainable: both environmentally and economically. Check our interview with Lipsio from Beatnik and Sons.

“I sell backpacks. That’s it. But there’s much more behind that. We were growing in Brazil, very aggressively and we were willing to expand globally. And then we started to flirting with the North American market, specifically the USA. USA seems to be too big for us.

We manufacture handcrafted handbags and backpacks. They take a while to be manufactured. Since the US market is about eight to nine times bigger than the Brazilian market, which is already big enough, we found that it might be a step too big to take.

Then we started really considering Canada. And found that Canada is smaller market, is a much more complex. They are much more cash cautious. If we were able to do it here, crossing the border and starting, and tackling the US market will be a consequence.

If I’m building a company, I will build a company that I am proud of. This is why we started to hire and to talk and to involving and giving opportunities to people in need of assistance in Brazil. Either refugees in Curitiba from Siria and Haiti, or people that live below poverty line that really need opportunity to improve their lives.

At that point, we found that now we have a company and also we have a mission. It was never a marketing stunt. It was just because we found that it was the way it was supposed to be. I think we are in a very critical point for companies. It’s either do or die. Or you go high volume, and you wear those shoes “OK. I’m manufacturing at low cost, and I just don’t care about the process. I care about volumes” or you really commit with the mission of creating impact beyond sales. Beyond branding. 81% of Gen Zs and Millennials are willing to buy from companies that have some sort of positive impact in the world. So, is not only about our mindset. Is the mindset of the future.

Of course I have a beautiful team there. The foundation of the move was having a team in Brazil that I trust. And that I know that they will deliver, even when I’m here.

The challenges are bigger we expected. The biggest challenge is to manage those immigration issues, and at the same time you have to grow the company in a place that basically, you don’t know anyone. In Brazil, I always relied on my networking. By the time you get here, you basically being born again. But you have to be ready to go for it. Go after support. Consider connecting with institutions that can really support you and can really expand your network fast enough.

Counting with the support of these institutions, make our job faster. We can learn faster, we can move faster, we can react faster. If it’s not like that, basically you have to learn by your own. It will be much tougher. They make the path so much easier because from the legal side, from the accounting side, from sales side, they’re just much more aware and used to everything that it’s happening here. It’s a short cut. But there’s somethings you should consider before deciding to move. The first thing is lower your expectations and be ready to react. Second, it’s tougher than you can even imagine. Not having all the connections, not having all the privileges that we have just for being born in Brazil, and for being there for quite a while. It’s not a business decision or personal life decision. It’s both. It’s a very intense experience. If you are used to rollercoasters, this is the biggest one. So you should be ready for that.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of the FCBB.