Enrique Bretos is the CEO and co-founder of Pisamonas, the brand of children’s shoes that, in practically no time at all, has become a reference point in the e-commerce sector. An aeronautical engineer with 14 years’ experience in a management position in the aviation and tourist industry, he made the move to the shoe business to lead the growth and professionalisation of the online children’s shoe start-up Pisamonas.es. In just a few years it has become one of the leading Spanish brands of children’s shoes, focusing on the online business with a single philosophy of quality, price and level of service. This has led them to receive a number of acknowledgements and strong national and international expansion, operating in 6 countries.
All Pisamonas shoes are manufactured in Spain with quality materials and finishes, using traditional processes. Is this an advantage for you in terms of competition?
Without a doubt! At Pisamonas we support 100% manufacturing in Spain, supporting national industry and employment and it is a key element of our brand. I think that the recent economic crisis has helped people to be more aware of how important it is to support local shoe production as much as possible in the face of Asian imports. Furthermore, manufacturing shoes here allows us to follow the processes and quality of our finishes more closely, as well as responding more flexibly to any needs.
And what is your strategy for differentiating yourselves from the competition?
When we founded the children’s shoe business Pisamonas we did it because we saw a niche that wasn’t covered. It was very difficult to find a brand of children’s shoes that offered good quality, good prices and the option of online purchasing. You could find cheap shoes, but imported and of low quality, or high-quality shoes that cost a fortune or were available on foreign websites.
That is why we decided to launch Pisamonas, following a strategy that differentiates us from the competition by manufacturing all our shoes in Spain with good materials and finishes, with designs based on classical lines but adapted to current trends and fashions, and at a good price thanks to a commitment to a high volume of production via selling online.
In a very short time, your online store has become one of the benchmark sites for purchasing children’s shoes online. What factors do you think have influenced this success?
It is probably a combination of many things. It is not about one or two single key elements. The first, proposing value in terms of product and price. I think that our brand has managed to build up a catalogue of shoes of good quality, with attractive designs and at affordable prices, something that was not easy to find. The next thing I would say is that a lot of training, a commitment to technology, passion things well done, having a good team and being patient as in the online world you need consistency and patience to meet your objectives.
Then there is variety. We have more formal, classical lines, as well as more casual designs, babies’ shoes, children’s shoes and even shoes for men and women. From first communion and school shoes, to footwear for the beach, slippers or moccasins as well as Mary Janes. Traditional models adapted to modern times, such as espadrilles, Menorcan slip-ons or desert boots, as well as modern designs in boots and sandals. There is a Pisamonas model for every occasion. If the service is also efficient and friendly – as seen by our recent award for the best e-commerce customer service, thanks to our great team that is always willing to help – and you have policies intended for online purchasing that do away with customer concerns – we have enough to worry about as it is – well, these are additional ingredients for the model to work.
In recent years you have also worked hard on internationalisation and Pisamonas’ sales abroad now counts for around 25% of sales. What export model do you use, and why?
That’s right, today one in every four pairs of Pisamonas shoes is sold outside Spain, and this is increasing. Our sales model on international markets is the same as here. In other words, we sell online – on a website set up for each country – directly to the end user, with highly e-commerce orientated policies, free shipping, free exchanges and returns to the customer’s door, and first class customer service.
We believe that this is the formula that best suits the Pisamonas model. It allows us to keep our prices low through direct marketing, and we are better aligned with our customers’ tastes and preferences thanks to our direct contact with them. We learn a lot from customer feedback from our followers on social media and the opinions and suggestions that they give us. This helps us to improve and adapt our designs and collections each season.
What criteria does the company use to select its export markets?
For the time being we have started on markets that are close by where online sales are an increasing reality and where our types of shoe are already well-received. Fortunately, Made in Spain fashion and footwear is already well recognised abroad as synonymous with design and quality of the same prestige as Italian or French shoes. So, for Pisamonas international expansion is a good opportunity for growth.
What are your short- to mid-term goals?
For the short and mid term we are focusing on consolidating the growth we have had over the past few years, increasing our workforce and adding new processes to the company for greater efficiency, while at the same time working on investment in both new technology and the overseas markets where we operate. Next year we will probably exceed 30% in international sales and in two to three years we will open in new markets to continue our growth and work to make Pisamonas one of the best brands of Spanish children’s footwear.