“COMMITMENT, DEDICATION AND STRATEGY ”
Jorge Antunes, director of the company Damaceno & Antunes reveals, in an interview, the basis of an innovative company, always focused on the future. Being a company since 2002, but which has existed since 1996, it specializes in textile decoration and represents, exclusively, on the Portuguese market, some of the most prestigious international brands, while having developed and published its own brand “ Evo Fabrics” which is currently present in more than 40 countries.
What is the history of the company? How was the initial phase?
It all started because for a long time I was linked to the sector decorative fabrics. I started by working in a warehouse in this sector and I do not hide it. I ended up getting excited and I became a fanatic of this world. I’ve done all the way, in all sectors, in a company that, unfortunately, no longer exists and where most of today’s good players came from of the market. I also worked for another company, of which I was a salesperson, until I decided to be the exclusive representative of a Spanish brand in Portugal. At the beginning, I started as an autoentrepreneur, we were in 1996, then, with the evolution of the market, the team has increased, as well as the number brands we represent. Currently, the company Damaceno & Antunes is the exclusive representative of international brands for the national market, having a showroom in Lisbon and Porto and a representative in the Algarve region.
And how did the company Damaceno & Antunes appear?
The first big step was in 2002, when accounting advised me to no longer be self-employed and to set up the company and this because of the increase in invoicing. This is how the company with the current name appeared. At the time, we even changed facilities and we already had a pre-brand, “Ambientex”, which we operated nationally, but it was not possible to register it globally. . Some time later, we decided to create a new branding that we could exploit in Portugal, and which later could also be internationalized, and this is how the EVO FABRICS brand was born. This brand is the result of several years of learning. EVO comes from evolution and it is an easy term that allows us to work in the external market. The first exports of the brand were made for Spain, but the big step was in 2006 when the “Maison et Objet” fair opened the doors to us and it was at this time that the big boom at the level of the export occurred.
So you consider that the Maison et Objet fair was essential for internationalization?
Yes. In a first phase, not with regard to the sales, but rather the internal development of the company, we we had to have a different rhythm of work to be able to be competitive on the external market and, compared to that, this fair was very important for our own development. In the following years, we have begun to operate in a more consolidated way the International market. In 2011/2013, when the crisis took hold in Portugal and in the world, we have managed to overcome the difficulties that existed within the internal market, given that we already had a strong presence abroad and because we we have always had an increase in the volume of exports.
Which foreign brands do you represent in Portugal?
Morris, Harlequin, Sanderson, Kobe, Scion, Agena, Decobel and Fardis. As far as our brand is concerned, EVO is represented in more than 40 countries, through distributors and representatives. When we started expanding to the external market, the idea was to start with Europe, because we thought that it would be easier, but we came to the conclusion that This was not the case. Currently, the continent to which we export the largest volume, by zone, is Asia, to our great surprise, and it is our best zone of deployment.
And this, in your opinion, what is the reason?
There is a great deal of interest from this area regarding everything what is European. It is a market that is developing and therefore, every day, new players who want to enter it, arise. International fairs have also contributed to this.
What are the next fairs you are going to attend?
In January, we will, for the first time, try a competition different and we decided so after the fair “House and Purpose” to have withdrawn from the “publishers” sector. We will participateat the “Heimtextil” fair in Frankfurt, which at the moment already has a large number of publishers, and which will take place from January 9 to 12, then we will be present at the “Intergift” fairs in Madrid and “ Interdecoração” in Portugal and we are completing the first phase of the year at the “IFFS” fair in Singapore.
Finally, how do you envision the future of the company? Damaceno & Antunes?
I hope this is a future of evolution and development, as it has been until now. Currently one of my son, Fábio Antunes, already works with me in the company, the future may be in his hands, but we plan to follow this journey of growth, development and expansion.