They were in a salon in the big city. Ninita was doing the Doctor’s wife’s nails while talking. And talked, talked. That day, Ninita was prettier with new clothes.
- Ninita, where did you buy that fancy branded blouse and wallet. Is it really original Louis Vuitton?
- Yes, Madam. I bought it at the Inclina Boutique!
- Boutique Inclina?
- Yes, at Boutique Inclina.
- Ninita, you must give me the address of that boutique. I want to go there today. – Madam, Boutique Inclina is everywhere.
- What do you mean, Ninita?
- You just have to walk, go on the street, on the sidewalk, stop and tilt. That way you’ll see the clothes there on the floor.
You didn’t understand well.
Ninita continued to explain.
- There are others who call them calamities. But it’s all Dzudza at the Tilt Boutique. – Dzudza?
- Yes. Dzudza means to rummage. So the Lady has to dzudzar, tilt, rummage through the bales and pick up what she wants in the Incline Boutique.
Ninita continued to tell. And the conversation kept getting more and more interesting. The nails were almost done and the Doctor’s Wife was already, tooth and nail, ready to go to the Incline Boutique.
Which way the market is leaning.
The informal market grows faster and is the big market in Mozambique. It all started with the natural calamities like floods and cyclones. The dramatic images appear in the global media. And the so-called first world countries send donations. They still do.
One of the ways to help is to send clothes because the frequent floods in the country leave hundreds of thousands of people with nothing.
Over the years, the expression “calamities” has become a trademark. When you ask someone where they bought such a thing, the common response is, “I bought it in the calamities.”
Meanwhile that market has grown by leaps and bounds given the demand. And the shrewdest ones didn’t let that go. They have leaned in.
Today large containers arrive in Mozambique with bales of clothing from Asia and elsewhere. Local merchants import these clothes for Boutique Inclina. And the bales come compacted. Each bale can weigh more than 30 kilos and is sold for more than five thousand meticais.
After that there is a chain action. The bales are bought and resold as garments in the informal markets.
These markets are complete. An ecosystem of sales. They even have street advertisers. They are called Modjeiros. They are the ones who do everything to catch the attention of the customers who come to the Incline Boutique. “Buyane, buyane, dzudza, Incline Boutique!”. Which means, come, come, come, rummage through the Incline Boutique.
But you have to lean in. And dig deep to find the best pieces. Ninita is one of the most frequent customers of Boutique Inclina.
She leans so much that she is already a tenant. She spends her life there. She doesn’t just buy for herself. She resells and makes margin. She makes a profit.
Because the best clothes are selected and treated, washed, and arrive in town as if they were new. Wrapped. Nicely presented. A form of packaging. Even boutiques in the prime city center sell these clothes.
Ninita explained that the guevanço is to buy to resell in the big companies in Maputo through the back door. Or even in the stores.
Those ladies and doctors often come to the Incline Boutique. But other times the Inclina Boutique goes to them. And there, in the companies, the bundles arrive and the clothes are bought.
Because it’s not always good for a Doctor to go there.
But one always buys. Because what sells is what comes from… They are brand-name clothes.
But they also have some piri-piri. Which means “pirated” or counterfeit. In other words, a calamity within a calamity.
There is everything in the Inclina Boutique.
It’s not marketing. It is bazaarketing.
There is a lot to learn about the local market from Boutique Inclina. Do you really think the market is inclined to grow in the form of malls and shopping centers? Or in a simpler, more organic way?
Every year big marketing professionals arrive in Mozambique from more advanced economies and with plenty of experience. They try to apply here the same sales techniques of those markets. But you have to understand where the market is leaning.
The local advertiser has to be a Modjeiro. To speak the language of the people. And so do global and local brands. If they want to communicate with the mass-market.
More than 70% of the Mozambican population is young. With an average of 17 years old. It is these generations that will manage and generate results in the economy and define the true local middle class.
But you have to understand Boutique Inclina and the other stores in this huge mall that is called the informal market.
And depending on which way you lean in your marketing strategies you will get better or worse results. Even because a tilt can be downward or upward.
Imported opinions can easily change the slope of your sales graph. The case of the Incline Boutique is just one of many.
And, in fact, all brands are leaning into that market. But not all are leaning.
Whatever your company and brand’s business is, if you want to grow you need to have a certain tilt towards the local market.