Founded in Barcelos Impetus produces annually about five million items with its more than 880 employees. With a value chain based entirely in Portugal, Impetus is now a European reference in the production of underwear.
Impetus reached its recognition from the production of underwear, but in 1990 when it was born, the textile line was more diversified. When did specialization and a own brand start to become part of the company’s plans?
Impetus began its activity, though by another name, in 1973 and with 6 workers. Its production was diversified, the company was growing slowly until 1987. The emergence of specialized machines for certain operations, led us to think about whether we specialized our production or if it was not justified to buy these machines, because we could not monetize them.Then came the idea of dedicating ourselves to the production of men’s underwear, an area that was not new to us. With the specialization we started to think about a brand of our own and at that time the idea of registering the IMPETUS brand came up. We started to produce our own collection, turned to the foreign market and, little by little, we have been growing until the present day. It was the effort and perseverance that guaranteed the success of Impetus.
How is IMPETUS exploring online sales channels? Do they already have a considerable representation in sales volume?
Impetus has always explored online sales channels, currently representing more than 10% of the brand’s revenue. Due to the demand of the channel, our evolution in the last years has taken place in two senses: if on one hand we bet on the creation of Impetus Retail, a company that manages the digital business by hiring experts in the area; on the other hand we have a pillar that is based on the support of our customers who have digital platforms, because our business model requires it.
We believe that offline and online intersect and depend on one another, so our focus is not on forcing the sale of products, but rather on placing the most visible brand on the various digital platforms. Whether in our own store or in the stores which our retailers have created, in the marketplaces or Amazon where we are with prime service in the USA, in France where the digital has always had a lot of strength and we have a very strong presence in several sites. Also in Spain we will enter in weeks in the new great project of the “El corte Inglés”.
We have, in the short term, several objectives namely the consolidation of these players and simultaneously we will enter the physical channel in Germany. Obviously the digital will also follow this process.
Impetus products stand out for innovation and customer satisfaction, but this is more and more demanding. Has the digital economy helped the company realize what the market wants and speed up the response?
The digital economy gives us a closer approximation of the final customer and thus we have a greater vision of what this one intends. This information is not as reliable as it is obtained through retail customers, as these do not always express the desire of the final customer. The digital economy is closer and gives better information about what customers want.
Impetus is one of the oldest partners of Fibrenamics, what advantages do you find in this collaborative work?
The approach to the scientific system, such as universities and technological centers, allows the business community to be more connected to the knowledge and technological trends, narrowing the business and scientific relations and keeping the focus on the common good. In this sense, the Impetus Group has this proximity as essential and strategic, in order to respond to the rapid change in international markets and the evolution of their needs.
The long partnership with Fibrenamics has allowed the creation of innovative products, which are in the market so far, one of them is Protechdry. This relationship allowed us to consolidate knowledge, development methodologies, research and innovation in the industrial environment, fostering our critical view on innovative developments. In addition, it allowed the sharing and confrontation of business and business vision with that of innovation, which are not always in tune.
Interviewed: Anabela Queirós, Admnistrative Assistant - Impetus