All sectors are seriously experiencing the economic crisis. The small fashion store is a clear example, but also affected by another facet of the pandemic, that of suspended social uses. And is that with the cancellation of social events with massive attendance like weddings, communions, baptisms, gadgets and others, the orders of suits has almost disappeared, the Toledo designer Felix Ramiro, With fashion stores in various Spanish cities, it is a clear example of those affected by this crisis.
We have been talking during this long and hard time of the crisis in all sectors, specifically in fashion, how has this crisis influenced?
On an economic level it has influenced us a lot because in the case of Félix Ramiro it is men’s clothing but above all very focused on events such as a wedding, baptism, communion, a graduation or going to work with an impeccable suit. Therefore, being specialized, like others, in suits, clothing and designs for those events that have logically been suspended has greatly influenced us and brought great losses. That is why we are quite concerned, since it is also many months without aid. In other countries such as Germany the hotel industry and commerce have closed but have been paid sixty percent of the turnover of the previous year. I was satisfied with 50 percent. It is not about making money, but about being able to survive, about paying rent, loans or payroll. ERTEs are fine for three to five months, but they won’t last a lifetime. What we want is not to have people in Ertes, but to have them working with us.
It is a sector, therefore, very attentive to the social measures that the different administrations are taking regarding the opening of economic and social activity, what prospects does the sector have in this regard?
We hope that whatever they have to decide they do as soon as possible. For us it is very important that people are calm and if, for example, you plan to hold events in 2021, if there is a more secure environment and if there is not so much uncertainty, people can already reserve their suit many months in advance. We have stores in Albacete, Toledo, Talavera de la Reina, Valencia, Coruña, Madrid and Malaga, and the store that goes above all is Madrid, because there health is combined with what it is to be able to work and move, logically with all security measures. In the others, as there is a change in conditions and people get scared, because they do not leave their house.
Has fashion been one of the sectors that have suffered the most because of not being basic, such as food, for example?
Of course. In Madrid I go to many restaurants and each one is operating at a certain percentage, but clothing stores, small businesses, we are at zero. There are days when we make zero euros. Félix Ramiro and many other businesses. If you have that income and instead the receipts of all kinds keep coming, that’s impossible. It would have to be: zero income, zero taxes.
Have you missed a more incentive policy in local commerce?
I think that the self-employed and small businesses lack help. Virtually nothing reaches us. The only good thing we have is the Erte, but if they don’t help us who ultimately create jobs, nothing is solved. If I have 40 workers among all the companies and in the end they go to the streets … I think that those responsible for the government should take into account that without entrepreneurs and small businesses this will go to hell.
Online sales have grown a lot. Is this type of sale suitable for the fashion sector, closely related to trying on clothes in the store?
We are starting with online sales, but we are aware that although sales will be generated, they will be minimal, because logically people who are going to buy clothes for an event want, even if they buy online, to go to a tailor to get it. enhance, adapt or fix to improve your image, and that cannot be substituted. But there are many people, both men and women, who buy online and then go to have it fixed. In any case, I insist that what is needed here is aid for small businesses, that they have things clear and that everything is planned with more time. If not, you can’t go anywhere.
Has this crisis increased the competition, possibly uneven, between large multinational companies, such as Amazon, and small businesses?
I think so. The distance is now much greater, but it is also true that Amazon has what it has, but fortunately it does not have other qualities that a trade does have, such as personalized attention and advice, an experience as if it were your family doctor, If you go to your tailor or to your hairdresser, to your neighborhood store or to your doctor, nobody is going to cure you and understand you better. I think that fortunately for the moment they cannot handle it. But in times of crisis such as this pandemic we cannot have this melee because, among other things, all events are practically suspended. It is true that since we know the good news about vaccines, people are already starting to go to our stores by appointment, because we have always had people who may have gone to our stores a year in advance to order a suit for a certain event. That confidence gives us that, for example, the client who gets married in the month of September, October or November of next year already has his suit reserved and commissioned, and we already have many, by the way.