A new talent’s generation is emerging within the Portuguese footwear industry. They’re young, ambitious and are facing the biggest challenge of their lives: to succeed on a sector that has been treading new worlds, over the past few decades.
Maria João Lima, Jóia Calçado
Maria João has a law degree and dreamt of being a lawyer. However, she has been giving proof of her maturity in the footwear industry, since 2009. In May 2017, she assumed presidency of APICCAPS’ General Assembly.
Why did you choose to work on the footwear sector?
The fact that the company has family roots definitely had an influence upon my choice. Although this is a captivating area, even if one doesn’t have roots on this field.
What changes do you feel are happening within the industry?
I realize that I’m part of a generation that is living those changes. And I believe I’m also part and add to the transition. It’s interesting to be in the position to adaptat, with balance, new management paradigms in the view of the still present heritage that we witness through the previous generation that entrusts us that mission. It’s s daily challenge and a huge responsibility. However, our determination to do good or do even better is an undertaken challenge. As in all sectors, the changes are constant. 20 years from now, what I’m saying now may not make sense at all. The technological evolution and resources at our disposal are, by one hand, determinant and facilitators, but also create problems and challenges. Will we be capable of incorporating the innovation and creativity components in the development of our traditional activity, as a differentiation from our competition, by gaining competitiveness? The current customer has requests and demands greatly complex. The article’s personalization and detail, the high quality, an almost immediate responsiveness and the increasing trend of looking for something differentiated.
Regarding the positive image that the sector has been gaining, we have to give special credit to APICCAPS’ contribution. Its impulse trough the creative campaign “The sexiest industry in Europe” has clear results. Associating that image, that since always has attracted feminine and masculine public, seems to bring out the good taste for shoes, fashion and comfort. This world is, indeed, seductive. And we, who are involved in the creation process of the footwear, naturally assume this passion.
What piece of advice would you give to a youngster who is entering the industry?
I would say that, despite the greyer idea of the industrial context related to production, nowadays the sector is surprisingly pleasant and has a constant and increasing social responsibility. The vast range of specialized professional categories is certainly a way of encouraging youngsters, which with talent, commitment, creativity and proper training, can count on a career where they can grow and feel fulfilled.