José Alejandro Flores, founder of DeFlores, LLC International, manufactures colorful slide-on sandals made from natural rubber.
VOS, as his brand is called, combines business and unique social entrepreneurship strategy. For every pair of the sandals sold, the company does the following:
• gives away a pair of sandals to someone in need, through a partnership with Soles4Souls,
• gives healthcare and education services to natural rubber plantation communities in Guatemala, in partnership with Gremial de Huleros and AgroSalud, and
• recycles their natural rubber sandals.
Established in 2008, the San Antonio-based company is growing and gaining recognition both for its products and for Flores’ vision that ties the product to its Give+Give+Recycle" social mission. In late 2011, the company’s video was a winner in the Google and American Express project called My Business Story. Their website, vosflips.com, is filled with short videos illustrating the sandals eco-friendly, durable, and casual appeal.
José Alejandro has worked with the UTSA International Trade Center by participating in workshops that provided in-depth training on import-related topics, such as supplier management and quality control, import process, understanding U.S. customs, and payment issues.
Senior International Trade Consultant Berenice Carmona has provided José Alejandro with in-depth market information, import regulations, assistance with locating distributors, manufacturer contracts, and helped him to select the most appropriate trade shows for his products. Carmona also provided assistance in product marketing.
"We believe that it’s important to have short and long term goals in our business activities and social efforts if we want to operate successfully in the international business realm," said Flores. "The unparalleled support and counsel provided by the UTSA International Trade Center has surpassed our expectations and is an undeniable pillar supporting the foundation of our organization".
Flores plans for both his eco-friendly products and his global social initiative to expand throughout all of Latin America and then into other regions of the world. "You may not be able to change the entire world, but you definitely can change the world around you," he said.
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