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Niazzi Chohfi -- Brazilian Importer Hits the Contract Market

September 5, 1999

S‹o Paulo, Brazil -- Sixty-five-year-old Cia Textil Niazzi Chohfi has most recently found success in the contract market. In only two years in the market, the company has earned a reputation as a respected supplier.
"There are so many new hotels, chains and companies coming to Brazil. It is important for these companies to work with companies like our own. We have good relations with the best fabric suppliers and we have the best prices," said Solange Chohfi, director and daughter-in-law of the founder, Niazzi Chofhi.
Thanks to this new market, the company began manufacturing bed and linen articles as well as bedspreads for hotel clients like Melia, Rennaissance, Caesar Park, Transamerica and Mercur. The company also supplies Brazil's contract market with uniforms and fabrics for upholstery and walls.
Since the company serves a wide variety of clients, Chohfi said, it must be prepared to offer whatever clients or final consumers may request.
"Our main concern has always been to offer quality and price," said Chohfi. "We always find what our clients need. Unlike a few years ago, the Brazilian consumer has become much more demanding; he knows quality and price and he wants options," she added.
When clients began demanding product options, Niazzi Chohfi entered the field of imports. The company has been selling imported goods since its beginning, but it was not until 1990, as consumer demands increased, that the company's import activities became a major business.
"This increased the company's variety and options
of quality," said Chohfi. Presently the company represents a large number of national and international textile companies in order to offer the greatest variety.
"A few years ago, when imports were a luxury, we were able to offer these products. There is still this idea that imported products are better, and many of our final consumers will spend any price as long as the product is imported," she said.
Today, approximately 60 percent of Niazzi Chohfi"s products are imported, from England, the U.S., Portugal, Mexico, and Spain. The company also sells apparel fabrics many of which are imported from China.
But Chohfi believes that the combination of the sinking Real, import restrictions and the economic uncertainty at home, the public will have to opt for the national products over imports in the near future. Because her company works as a wholesaler and retailer of both national and imported textile and bedding articles, this change should mean only a redirection of sales efforts. In fact, Chohfi believes the current import problems may help people see the quality of some of the national products.
Although Chohfi currently sells only to the domestic market, the company plans to use the burgeoning contract industry to begin exporting to the Mercosur countries. The company also intends to continue its import activities, always looking out for new options, despite the economic uncertainty in Brazil at the moment. Solange believes that participating and visiting trade shows is essential to this type of business.
"It is the best way to understand the market and to become familiar with potential buyers and suppliers, especially for a company like ours, dealing with imported products," she said.

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