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Mexican Bathing Suits that are a hit in Canada

Mexican Bathing Suits that are a hit in Canada

Posted by Alejandra Romo on April 16, 2014

Mexican company ORVAR has become one of the main references in the swimsuit international market with its brand Qswimwear. In the last years, its share has grown exponentially thanks to a strategy based on quality and on an absolutely original and innovative design development. Its striking penetration in the United States and Canada, taking advantages of Free Trade Agreements (FTA), has been the last stage in a process of an expansion that doesn't seem to have limits.

Many Canadian teams such as University of Sherbrooke, Club Aquatic de la Point de I'ile (CAPI), Drayton Valley Lifesavers or Manitoba Marlins wear Qswimwear, probably without knowing that the brand is Mexican. Gabriela Basurto, ORVAR's General Manager, highlights in this interview with PanamericanWorld how important it is for a brand which is 100% Mexican to have ventured into such competitive and exclusive markets as the American and Canadian ones. What is the key for a growth of 200% in the last few years? Corporate planning and the ambition to expand are the keys in the history of success of the company based in Mexico city.

What exactly is ORVAR?

It's a completely Mexican company of swimming products that has been in the market for more than 25 years and that has different price levels brands in Mexico such as Blast, Aqua-zone and Qswimwear. The latter is only of swimsuits and it is the one we are working with in the American and Canadian markets through team dealers, our webpage and different distributors.

What differentiates Qswimwear and what are the features that make it compete with the leading brands?

The special thing about Qswimwear is that its swimsuits are made of high quality PBT, and they can be 100% customized with sublimation. You can send us the design of your own team or you can tell us ''you know what? Our mascot is a polar bear, we're the Toronto bears and our institutional colours are blue and white'' Then, our designers will make a design proposal in five different styles only for you, and you'll have a unique design that no one else will.

How does Qswimwear compete with the leading brands that already have a consolidated position in this market?

Our swimsuits cannot yet be worn in FINA's official competitions but that doesn't really affect us because the uniforms that universities or teams wear when they train are not usually the same as when they compete.

The market is quickly moving forward to a purchase experience, and as part of this experience there's customization in products, that's something that the consumer is giving value to because you can choose the colours in your car seats or if you buy sunglasses, you are free to choose the colour of the lenses; so we do all this, taking advantage of this trend, but without additional cost in comparison to those that are already made; it could be said that we put a tailor at your service, and this tailor makes risky proposals, that are trendy in terms of fashion and texture. In Qswimswuit there are no limits, unlike the leading brands that already have their own team colours, so if your institutional colours are different from those or if they aren't made in the kind of swimsuit you want, then you're done!

Who are Qswimwear's competitors?

There are companies that sublimate, but they don't have Qswimwear's strength, that's why the growth of our brand has been so huge in the last years, we grew 200% when we were expecting 12%, because swimmers are tired of wearing something they don't like just because they have no other option. There are some small companies in Canada and in the United States, there are a few in Australia as well, but what differentiate us is not only the excellent job done by our Mexican designers, we also don't set conditions in terms of international minimum purchasing requirements; you can ask for only one piece registered in your name and we'll have no problems in making it and sending it to you. In the same way, if you're in a team and you ask for 100 swimsuits, you'll have something that no one else in the market can offer.

Why hasn't Qswimwear been as successful in Mexico as it has been in the United States and Canada?

Our swimsuits can be found in Mexican high-end stores in ORVAR's other brands such as Blast and Aqua-zone; but Qswimwear focused its sales on Universities' swimming teams, that's why Canada and the United States were considered as our main markets. In Mexico there wasn't much sales-potential through team dealers. On the other hand, unfortunately, many people have the perception that local brands won't have the quality of foreign brands, and this doesn't happen only with swimsuits, it's a general phenomenon. So now that Qswimswear is a successful brand in other countries and our swimsuits have been worn by professional triathlete Jenna Parker - who reached the third position in the International Triathlon of Beijing 2013 - and by Canadian teams such as University of Sherbrooke, Club Aquatic de la Point de I'ile (CAPI), Drayton Valley Lifesavers, Manitoba Marlins and many others, many people here (in Mexico) will give more value to the brand and will also feel proud of the work all these people are making, since 99% of us are Mexican who work at the offices in the United Stated and at the plant and store here in Mexico.

Have you had limits in the export of your product?

It was quite the opposite, actually, due to Free Trade Agreements no taxes are paid in the textile industry and this has allowed us to keep a price that aren't above other brands. Our price range is from 98 to 120 dollars. All our products are made in Mexico and they are packed in the stores to be sent to their final destination, everywhere in the world.

OVAR sponsors more than 400 Mexican athletes and trainers every year and it plans to start conversations with distributors in Ontario in order to present its brand Aqua-zone in Canada and it also plans to keep boosting Qswimwear internationally.

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