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Article: Adversity into Success: A Family Business Journey from Bankruptcy to Global Belts Export

Etali Belt — Van Velze & Smith

Adversity into Success: A Family Business Journey from Bankruptcy to Global Belts Export

At the end of June, Catriona and I had the pleasure of meeting with the sales team from the company who manufacture our belts. Alex and Jesus were visiting their clients in the UK and took the time to visit us and share more about their family business. We learned a lot from their journey, from bankruptcy to now exporting belts and wallets to 35 countries.

The meeting was a great opportunity for us to connect with a company that shares our values and commitment to quality. As a family-owned business ourselves, we appreciated the time and care that Alex and Jesus took to see us and tell us a bit more about who they are and what they do. It was particularly inspiring to hear about their history as a third-generation family business and to swap stories about our failures and successes.

We were particularly impressed by their journey from bankruptcy, where the grandfather had to impound his watch, to now exporting belts and wallets to 35 countries. Their resilience and hard work are a testament to the power of family and the importance of never giving up on your dreams. It was a reminder that, even in the toughest of times, success is always possible with determination and a willingness to embrace change.

During our meeting, we picked up a lot of valuable insights and learnings from Alex and Jesus. One key takeaway was the importance of expanding our product range gradually and without overreaching ourselves. They shared their own experience of establishing themselves in new markets and encouraged us to consider selling with retailers. This was good food for thought, as we had initially been hesitant to explore this avenue, but now see the benefits of doing so.

We also had the opportunity to discuss their new range of belts and the emerging trends in belt fashion post-Covid. It was fascinating to hear their take on the difference between a chino “smart” belt and a jean belt, with the width emerging as the most decisive factor. Buckles were also a key point in what we agreed made a great belt. Alex and Jesus were generous in sharing their expertise and knowledge, and we left the meeting feeling inspired and energised.

Although we firmly believe that there is no substitute for a good belt and boots, it’s also important to remain open-minded and adaptable. We are excited about the potential for collaboration with a “well known” rugby club to launch blue, black, and white woven belt. It’s a testament to the power of creativity and collaboration, and we can’t wait to see where this project takes us.

Overall, our meeting with Alex and Jesus was a true highlight of our summer. We left feeling inspired and energised, with a renewed sense of purpose and direction for our business. We’re grateful for their generosity and willingness to share their knowledge, and look forward to continuing our partnership with them in the future.

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