Soul Determination: Presentes Rodriguez

Presentes Rodriguez from Brazil was one of five retail stores in the world to become a Global Honoree at the 2015 IHA Global Innovation Awards (gia) in Chicago. Michelle Hespe looks into what makes this South American business so exceptional.

So what was said about Presentes Rodriguez? The gia jury thought the Brazilian homewares store really stood out from the rest of the entrants because of its utilization of fresh technology, and the passion, dedication and innovation that two brothers, Murilo Rodriguez and Diego Rodriguez, demonstrate in their approach to business, and indeed, life.

Their project was inspired by two main principles, family and home, because that is what their European parents taught them – that these two things are the pillars of life. The men have also both been involved in home construction, and always strived to make every home they built the best example of how they would create their own homes – with products in them that made life not only easier, but more enjoyable. They gave their homes soul.

“The creation of the store was an evolution of our experience in the home building sector,” explains Murilo. “The pillars of ‘family and home’ were implemented in our lives and work right from the beginning, but then later, we also built up a great track record and expertise, having worked in several businesses related to the home and family. And because the homes we built were designed and completed as though they were for our own personal use, this created a special bond with our customers.”

This holistic approach allowed the brothers to understand homebuyers’ needs when it came to practical, innovative and modern products, and it created an opportunity for the men to cross-promote and sell properties fully equipped with household appliances.

And so Presentes Rodriguez opened in 2011. The concept took shape a year before that, in the form of a drawing by a Brazilian architect who incorporated the brothers’ ideas into a space that would offer the best possible purchasing experience for customers. “Every detail in the store layout is a result of a broadly planned design: from the entrance to the product disposition, the lighting and the furniture design, all created to highlight the best attributes of our products,” explains Murilo.

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There was no slowing down and every detail was considered, including the store’s rise to fame. So while the store was being designed, the brothers were setting their sights on gaining a prestigious award in the retail industry to put their store on the map. They were aware of gia – considering it the best award in the industry, and so set themselves the goal of winning the national segment. “We knew that there was a high road ahead of us – with many of the world’s top players competing for the prize, but with a lot of hard work, love and faith, we were recognized as the best store in Brazil,” Murilo says. “So what had seemed a distant dream – to represent our country on the international round, competing with the largest retailers in the world – became a reality. And so then it was our will to win, dedication, perseverance, and the desire to achieve the goal that filled us all with energy and focus, not just to compete with the best retailers in the world, but to tell our story and to present to the world who we are.”

That’s how this four-year-old store made it to the top, with the brothers finding themselves on stage accepting an award as a gia Global Honoree in Chicago in March 2015.

The win led to a great experience for the Brazilian duo, and they loved the many experiences that the International Home + Housewares Show offered, especially dealing with the gia expert jury who are there to mentor all national gia winners. “It’s a dynamic and interactive fair that successfully manages to gather multiple events in one place without losing the quality of any of them,” says Murilo. “We were very well received by the entire gia Award team throughout our stay, especially by the gia expert jurors who were great mentors to us, sharing their precious teachings and kindly hosting us at this moment of great importance in our company’s timeline.”

There’s no doubt that this impressive timeline will carry on, with the business flourishing over the coming years, and the brothers learning still more as they forge ahead. However after their experience so far, they already have some sound advice for anyone starting out in the industry as they did. “Keep dreaming and building upon your dream,” they say. “Our quest for innovation and perfection has motivated us, but it’s believing in our quest and capabilities that has brought us to where we are now. Follow your dreams in a well-structured manner, dedicating attention to the following things: initiative, persistence, calculated risk-taking, efficiency, commitment, a constant thirst and ability to seek new information and opportunities, goal-setting, systemic planning and monitoring, persuasion, networking and self-confidence.”

That’s great advice coming from a business based on a culture of innovation that can be found in the store’s online tools, which make it very easy to search, access, and purchase through the site. The brothers’ innovation can also be seen in the gourmet events at the bricks and mortar store, in which customers have the opportunity to be a part of a differentiated experience, with access to new market trends. “Such focuses are always provided with the highest quality in mind, matched with a welcoming, cozy service executed by highly skilled and trained staff,” says Murilo. “Our challenge is to keep this culture, which has always been our engine, running. We can never let our ideas become obsolete and we need to maintain the soul and spirit that was envisioned at the project’s conception.”

A mixture of utilizing and improving upon on technology, keeping abreast of new research, putting customers’ needs first, and being on trend with products that make their clients lives more enjoyable has propelled Presentes Rodriguez forward – placing them firmly in the Brazilian spotlight and on to the global retail stage. Murilo sums it up perfectly: “Presentes Rodriguez has the gift of making the home – a place that houses the soul and body – beautiful.”

For more information about the gia (IHA Global Innovation Awards) program, the co-sponsors, or participating in 2015-2016, contact Piritta Törrö at piritta.torro@inspiredconnection.fi. Additional information on the IHA’s gia Awards program is also available online at www.housewares.org/gia.

For more information about the International Home + Housewares Show and to pre-register for the 2016 Show, taking place in Chicago on March 5-8, 2016, please visit www.housewares.org.

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