Away from the teeming halls of FIMEC, we were given an all-access tour of the Minuano tannery in Lindolfo Collor, about 20 minutes from the fair itself.
This 42-year-old company doesn't have a stand at the fair, which is a deliberate move on its part. As export manager Jose Marques says, ¨the door is always open here¨, so exhibitors and visitors are welcome to see for themselves the expansive operation of this tannery from raw to finished. How this will translate into increased business once people are inside, however, remains to be seen as the Brazilian economic crisis and protests in light of rampant political corruption grab headlines.
But longevity has its place and Minuano holds a particularly coveted position in the market. Among the 1,000 employees, the company is able to produce about 5,000 hides a day, mostly for furniture but also a percentage for shoe linings. But what makes Minuano unique is its position as the world's largest producer of hair-on hides.
Although quite hot now in early autumnal Brazil, they run a tight ship here, with daily in-house audits of every drum to make sure regulations are adhered to; independent audits occur about once a month. And although the word - sustainability - gets thrown around a lot, they have a strict culture of clean processing, down to the trimmings that get mulched, which then go through chrome extraction before being exported for fertilizer.
Next stop on the tannery tour is Soubach, so check in with leathermag.com for further updates.