Becoming a Fashion Designer

It seems like everyone is jumping on the designer bandwagon these days. And why not? The fashion industry is sexy – fashion shows, parties, celebrities, recognition, and even fame go along with a career in fashion.

Now herein lies the question: do you go to design school or go straight to starting a business? Not all fashion designers go the traditional route to design school, instead drawing on an entrepreneurial spirit, some “designers” turn their head for business into a thriving fashion enterprise.

Ralph Lauren is an example of a fashion designer who bypassed the sewing machine and headed straight for the marketplace. Which path you take depends on your personal motivation. If you love sewing and pattern making, the traditional route is going to bring the most satisfaction. If you love the fashion world but don’t have the patience for needle and thread, a career in the fast-paced and exciting fashion biz is still possible … read on.

So you want to go out on your own, what’s first?

You’ve always admired fashion designers and their ability to design trendy, unique and wearable fashions season after season, as if by magic. But it’s not magic; it’s a business. And to succeed in business, nobody is an island (meaning that everyone needs a little help to accomplish his or her dreams). And it’s not all glitz and glamour. Being a fashion designer means you have to actually run a business.

Before you print up those business cards, ask yourself if you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves and tackle the not-so fun aspects of fashion.

At first, running a fashion business could mean fulfilling orders yourself (i.e., packing boxes until the wee hours of the morning), steaming clothes repeatedly during fashion shows, and bookkeeping. You could spend only a small percentage of your time actually designing; instead you’re networking, schmoozing and negotiating with suppliers and vendors.

If you’re planning to take the direct-to-consumer path, you’ll have to create a website and maintain it (and most likely have to pay someone to handle these tasks), get a merchant account to process credit card transactions and manage charge back cycles. If you’re not interested in learning what these things mean, then you may decide to work for a large fashion house to learn the ropes.

But if you have the endurance and enough friends with skills or services you can trade for, you could go out on your own and succeed. Today is the age of entrepreneurship, why shouldn’t you get a piece of the pie?

The fashion biz: a reality check

Exciting industries are rife with competition-some that will fade away and others that will give you a run for your money. You have to compete against the big names out there and trendy emerging designers fresh out of the best design schools or veterans of big fashion houses-not to mention all the celebrities popping up with their own labels.

Running your own fashion biz may require you to reach out to suppliers and potential customers all over the world, which means you better be organized. Are you prepared to coordinate the procurement of raw materials like fabric, trim and hardware, so that your manufacturer gets what they need at the right time to deliver a finished product on deadline?

Think of yourself as a business person first and a fashion designer second. If your fashion business fails, you’re the one that suffers. Always keep the business aspect in the forefront of your mind. Some people find this prospect exhilarating, while others can’t think of anything more horrifying. Still interested in starting your own fashion business?

I’m not a designer, can I still work in the fashion industry?

Yes … and no. If you have the design vision, you can pay people to take your idea and turn it into a tangible pattern or design. This is sort of like what a creative director does. If this fits your situation, then you’d better have the business chops to get your business off the ground and you’d better have a solid Core Value Proposition.

What this means is that you must have a strong business proposal and offer a product that’s valuable and in demand. That doesn’t mean you have to sell high-end couture clothing to rich people. Clothiers H&M and Zara focus on fast ready-to-wear fashion at affordable pricepoints.

There is more than one path to becoming a fashion designer. You can learn to sew and go to design school to learn the ins-and-outs of the business. But not everyone learns to draw patterns and stitch together garments. The keys to succeeding in the fashion business are creativity, a good business sense and determination.

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Women’s Clothing For A Business Trip

Going away on business?

Image counts.

Especially if you are meeting existing clients or prospects.

Looking professional means grooming is paramount. Look immaculate. Clothes should be well pressed and fall flatteringly when you move. Nails should be well kept and makeup should not be overdone.

First impressions count. The way you look, the way you carry yourself and the image you project makes a difference in the direction the meetings might take. You want to impress you contacts, don’t you?

Showing up in a crumpled outfit, no matter how expensive it might be, will not make a good impression. So unless there will be an iron in the hotel room you will be staying in, or you intend to lug along an iron to press your clothing, or the hotel offers laundry services you can count on to get you in well pressed clothes before the meetings, avoid clothes that crease easily.

For your jacket, skirt and pants, avoid 100% linen or 100% silk clothing as although they look and feel fabulous when well pressed, they wrinkle easily. Instead, pack in jackets, skirts and pants that travel well.

By the way, the most important piece of clothing you can pack into your suitcase for your business trip is a great jacket. That one jacket can smarten up anything, be it a dress, tank top and pants or camisole and skirt.

For this all-important jacket, go for one made of wool or at least a wool blend which falls flatteringly on your figure, yet travels well. At least it wouldn’t crinkle like 100% linen or silk. Even artificial fibers like polyester and rayon travel well as they don’t crinkle easily. A blend that of wool and synthetic fibers would travel well and may be just what you need for that business trip.

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Investment Dressing for Business: Save Money With Better Quality

Like any other investment, investment dressing relates to how the item performs over time. The longer you are able to wear the garment, the more wears you get, the better the investment. This strategy can work especially well for your business wardrobe. Although it may seem that you are paying more money for your clothing, you are going to be getting a better return on your investment over time. The trick is to spot these smart buys that will help you build an investment wardrobe that you can wear to work for years to come.

Go for Quality Fabrics
Paying more for clothing that is made of better fabric is a smart business decision. In fact, the type of fabric used in your clothes can make all the difference in how good you look and how the garment holds up over time. A cheap polyester suit will look far worse than the exact same design in a light-weight wool. Choose the better fabric and you won´t regret it. Real silk, linen and wool are all fabrics that look terrific and will add quality to your investment wardrobe. Blends with a high level content of natural fibers can work well too. Wool blends will be less itchy, linen blends will wrinkle less, and silk blends will usually breathe more.

Look for Timeless Pieces
Although it is great to wear the latest fashions and trends, there is something to be said for the little black dress or the tailored trousers that is appropriate for all occasions. If you look for clothing that has shapes, lines, patterns and colours that aren’t trendy, and details that are minimal – but always look good – you have a winner. This includes pencil skirts, sheath dresses and simple blouses. These are items of clothing that could hold their own in any decade; not for being at the height of fashion, but for their simplicity and quiet class.

Make It All Work Together
The best way to build your investment wardrobe is to plan your entire wardrobe for versatility. With a little planning, a wardrobe capsules consisting of two or three pairs of pants, three to five shirts/blouses, a suit, a nice tailored jacket and for women a couple of skirts, can actually work as a complete business wardrobe. Choose just two or three classic colors in fabrics and styles that all complement each other, and you will be able to mix and match your entire wardrobe, creating dozens of different outfits. Throw in an accessory like a scarf or tie, incorporate some coordinating belts and quality shoes, and you can have even more looks – all with just a few select items.

Investment dressing is smart business dressing. Take a few minutes to plan out your basic business wardrobe and choose a couple of colors to base it on. Then it’s time to go shopping. Stick to the plan, choose high quality items in timeless styles, and at the end of your day you will have a wardrobe that will last you a long time and suit every business occasion.

Kimberly Law, AICI CIP is a certified professional image consultant and founder of Personal Impact Image Management since 1999. She works with companies, men and women helping them refine their look from head to toe and enhancing professional communication, increasing confidence and personal effectiveness. In other words she shows you how to look and act your very best… always!

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Fashion Marketing Internships: What It’s Like

A fashion marketing internship is one of the quickest ways to break into the ultra-competitive fashion industry It’s a giant industry that is completely dependent on the professional fashion-designers, marketers and retail merchandisers. What is created as a masterpiece by its expert wardrobe designers remains a far-fetched dream for the customers unless it is made available on the floor of showrooms. But it needs team work especially of the dexterous marketers, who are responsible for the extreme success. It is extensive training imparted to the selected individuals, which creates an army of skilled marketing executives, and this training begins with a fashion marketing internship.

These executives attend the lectures and learn all the strategies to promote business. To join the apparel industry, the new entrants need a degree or they have to undergo short-term fashion marketing internship program. Also known as merchandising professionals, these fashion-apparel-promoting marketers, conduct marketing research to identify new trends of fashion so that stylish wardrobes can be introduced in the market. They dwell on the mood of fashion-loving people, especially the young generation, for stylish fashion-dresses. Such kind of extensive survey helps the expert-designers read the psychology of customers and thus help the fashion-designing specialists create superbly developed fashion wardrobes.

The Retail Merchandisers Serve As Both Retailers & Wholesalers

Before embarking on a career in fashion marketing, one must understand what it they would be doing and why fashion marketers are so important. Creation of a stylish wardrobe is only half done if the items are not supplied in the market for sales. The marketing is shouldered by the retail merchandisers, who look for a market. Flooding the market with attractive fashion products can not yield any result unless immense curiosity is aroused among the people. This is the job which indispensably is accomplished by the retail merchandisers in order to promote sales of attire. These marketers popularize the exquisitely-designed fashions through internet. In order to attract the customers, these merchandisers highlight the outstanding features of latest wardrobes that in turn blooms the business unbelievably. And as part of a fashion marketing internship, the intern will be mirroring the professional performing these tasks, and possibly taking part in them.

The retail merchandisers inspect the market and make sure that the demand for a trendy wardrobe is met at every cost. Another important issue which the marketers focus their attention on is the price. The retailers often charge arbitrarily and this affects the business in an unfavorable way. Being aware of such acts going on in the market, the retail merchandisers can conduct raid at the blacklisted showrooms, and expect the fashion marketing intern to monitor their actions. If they find any defiance of ‘legal & fair trade practices’ norms, then they impose heavy fines and take legal action against the culprit.

Plenty of Information is Posted Online

In order to let the fashion fans keep in touch with the newly introduced fashion line, the fashion marketing internship team is expected to keep updating the website regularly, highlighting the code of dress, price and discount as well. To redress grievances of the dissatisfied-customers the fashion- companies mention on their sites their E-mail address and phone numbers also so that customers can communicate their problems.

Fashion Industry Provides Employment

If you are a fresh off your first fashion marketing internship or right out of fashion school and curiously looking for a lucrative job, do submit your resume to fashion houses, fashion pr firms, and the lke. As retail merchandisers are the backbone of fashion industry, you can be considered for respective posts with great honor. If you hold a degree in fashion design and are courteous, have an eye for style and a keen knack for business, the fashion marketing has got to be your destination. If you have no certificate or degree in the fashion-designing then you should go for 2 to 4 years course in respective field to herald a career in fashion industry, or at least take on a fashion marketing internship while you are studying another line of work.

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Plus Sized Clothing – Fashion Business Vs Fashion Fantasy

The Plus Sized clothing market is a booming industry. And there is finally some evidence that the Fashion Industry is finally embracing this growing market rather hiding it at the back of the store.

Mintel, a leading market research company, has recently released a study highlighting the importance of this segment. According to Mintel:

Nearly 25% of UK women now wear a size 18 plus
Over 33% of UK men are squeezing into XL or larger.
The women’s plus-sized clothing market has grown 45% over the past five years, compared to a 15% increase for total womenswear.

But, while the plus size is a tremendous opportunity, it also presents retailers with a conundrum; how to promote plus sizes next to regular sizes.

Over 50% of women who are size 18 find that not enough shops offer a range of choices to cater for different sizes.
More than 40% of women wearing size 18 and over believe that plus-size clothes tend to be less fashionable than smaller sizes.

For example, we’ve seen Macy’s open and close Plus Sized boutiques, as it struggles to find the right tone to appeal to the plus sized woman (without making here feel uncomfortable) while not damaging the brand’s fashion forward image.But there seems to be hope. The popularity of certain models/body types is the best leading indicator of fashion direction (remember Twiggy and Kate Moss). And, the latest news from the runway suggests that the designer attitudes are finally getting their head’s around the idea of a fashionable plus sized woman.

The emergence of Super Plus Models (e.g., Ashley Graham).
For the first time, NY’s Fashion Week will have a Plus Sized runway show.

This suggests that over the next few years we’ll finally see Plus Sized womenswear emerging from the racks at the back of the store. You can expect to see greater integration of Plus Sizes and regular sizing, as well as the emergence of more Plus Sized designer boutiques. This also suggests that ad agency’s will soon start putting more Plus Sized models in ads for unrelated products and services; as the stigma attached to a larger body size diminishes.

In-Depth Research,, is a full service market research firm providing strategic research services to global market leaders in many industries.

Jacob Brown Principal In-Depth Research.

Technology, Healthcare, Boomers and Seniors, Website Usability, International Research. These are In-Depth Research’s five principal practice areas. Over the years we have built extensive experience in these five areas, as well as helping companies in many other industries and market segments.

A full service research firm, we employ the full range of qualitative and quantitative techniques, and advanced analytic solutions. Our clients value us for our strategic thinking, insightful analysis, skilled moderating, and flawless project management.

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Making the Most of Your Business Trip: Fashion Forward Packing Tips

When you’re traveling for business, be it your own or for a company, you want to put your best face forward. It’s important to get there on time and for you to appear put-together and professional. If you follow these tips for packing for your next business trip, you’ll not only make life easier for yourself, but you’ll impress your clients and colleagues with your professional style.

1. Choosing the Right Luggage

Having the right suitcase can make or break you when you’re traveling, especially by plane. In most cases, business trips aren’t more than a few days. It isn’t necessary or desirable to take more than a good carry-on size suitcase.

Before purchasing carry-on luggage, consider the following:

• Does bag match the size criteria that the airline gives for carry-on bags?

• It the bag sturdy enough to survive the round trip?

• Are there enough pockets to keep everything safe and organized?

• Does the bag stand out so that you can spot it easily?

In addition to the ideal carry-on suitcase, you want to select the right laptop travel case, the best travel case for your make-up and toiletries and the perfect travel case for your jewelry. You’ll want to keep both durability and size in mind, but don’t forget style!

2. Selecting the Perfect Wardrobe

You want to look effortlessly professional, but garment bags are a hassle, and due to size, you must waste time checking them. You’re smart and saving time by only taking a carry-on, but it limits your space. Your best solution is to shop for convertible clothing.

Convertible clothing is no longer just frumpy looking sweaters or simple, reversible sides. It has come a long way over the years. Search for convertible bandeau dresses, perfect for your meeting and dinner afterwards. If you purchase one that converts to a skirt as well, pair it with a simple but classy shell top and a thin jacket.

If you’re afraid that your outfits will look too similar each day, all you need to do is accessorize well. Find a couple of elegant scarves to wear with it that are easy to pack and don’t take up too much space. Make sure you have a variety of jewelry tucked into your travel jewelry box, and you’re set.

3. Packing the Proper Way

Organization is your best friend when packing your suitcase. You’ve chosen the perfect clothes for your trip; you’re set with a toiletry bag and a jewelry box. You don’t want everything to go down the drain because you don’t pack properly.

Organizing your suitcase will save you time both once you reach your destination and when you’re ready to return home. If you are organized, you won’t have to waste time searching for what you need.

1. Make sure that the inside of your suitcase is clean.

2. Item by item; lay your clothing on a hard, flat surface and smooth out the fabric. Roll each article of clothing tightly, keeping the fabric smooth as you roll.

3. Starting with the larger rolls of clothing (like pants), then dresses and shirts, place your rolled clothing into the bottom of your suitcase. Fill in small spaces with rolled socks and undergarments.

4. Place any liquid toiletries into small, sealed plastic bags-remember, you are only allowed to take 3.4 oz. or smaller bottles that can fit into a quart-sized plastic bag. Make sure that you do not exceed what is allowed by law.

5. Place your bagged toiletries into your travel bag. Then place your toiletry bag and your travel jewelry box on top of your clothes.

If you want to be extra safe, you can always put a layer of plastic wrap between your clothing and your toiletries to provide an extra barrier against leaks and spills.

If you follow these three easy steps before your next business trip, you will save yourself both time and hassles. When you’re able to concentrate on the meetings and tasks at hand rather than worrying about your luggage or wardrobe, everyone wins.

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The Unintended Consequences of Globalism

Globalism might be good for the world economy as a whole, but does not necessarily mean it has been good for the American worker. Whether intentional or unintended, the American worker has suffered through the philosophy of free trade. Do not miss quote me, Globalism has a lot of positives. Now more than ever the people of earth are connected through the internet and can communicate information faster than any other time in history. People are exposed to different cultures and ideas, and the free flow of information is exponentially evolving our society. “Free trade” plays a big part in globalism, which is why there has been a “backlash” from non-college educated workers in wealthy countries in direct response to the effects of free trade policies. When wealthy counties openly trade with developing countries it can overvalue the wealthy countries currency, which in turn makes imports cheaper while exports become more expensive. However, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the real culprit is not the valuation of the dollar and the increasing trade deficit. (Bivens, Economic Policy Institute)

The USA has increasingly shifted its economy from manufacturing to services like banking and investing. It is cheaper to import products of manufacturing from a country that has extremely cheap labor than it is to employ American workers in the United States. This in turn means there now is a premium on college educated Americans who are filling job openings within the service industry. On the other side of the coin, manufacturing jobs are leaving the country and lowering wages of workers without a college degree. This fact coupled with increasing technology that replaces workers and a trade policy that out prices “expensive” American workers is leading to decreased wages. As the US trades more with developing countries as a percentage of GDP, the wages of unskilled workers continue to decrease. (Slaughter and Swagle, International Monetary Fund)

Though Globalism has a net increase in GDP and employment for countries involved, most of the gains from free trade is disproportionately received by the top 1% of Americans. Policies that protect corporations and their interest at the expense of the American worker exacerbate the problem. Trade policies like NAFTA and others have little protections for workers and heavily favor the multinational corporations that seek to benefit from free trade. This only adds fuel to income inequality, which for poor countries can increase economic growth while having a negative effect on rich countries. Rich countries are also at higher risk of financial crisis when they have high levels of income inequality. (Malinen, Huffington Post)

Globalism and free trade are linked very close together, which is why there is a stigma attributed to the word. There has been growing resentment within the US and other wealthy nations of globalism as a whole. They do not just condemn free trade, but openly blame minorities and marginalized groups for their decrease in wages and “eroding” their cultural dominance that they claim dominion over. This is a deadly cycle, as income inequality only feeds this type of behavior. In a country that is not adequately educating its people, more of the workers within its country will become more ignorant. With free trade putting a premium on college educated workers and decreasing wages of unskilled labor, we are now almost at a tipping point, socially and economically.

Globalism has many unintended consequences that inadvertently caused huge social and economic problems within the US. The problems that globalism is causing is not a hard fix. Reducing the income inequality will eradicate more of the negative effects of globalism. Universal Education, Universal healthcare, and a rewrite of our tax code are just a few ways to reduce income inequality. All of these possibilities are well within our means. We have to take care of these problems swiftly, before globalism becomes an integral part of our own decline. (Mason, Post-Gazette)

Bivens, Josh. “Using Standard Models to Benchmark the Costs of Globalization for American Workers without a College Degree.” Economic Policy Institute. N.p., 22 Mar. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Malinen, Tuomas. “The Economic Consequences of Income Inequality.” The Huffington Post., 17 Dec. 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Mason, Bob. “Single-payer Health Care Would Help to Treat Three Separate Threats.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. N.p., 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Slaughter, Matthew, and Phillip Swagel. “Economic Issues 11–Does Globalization Lower Wages and Export Jobs?” International Monetary Fund., Sept. 1997. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

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Global Trends in the Cosmetic Industry

Cosmetic dyes and colours: Explained

Cosmetic colours are also known as cosmetic lakes. These colours are produced by taking the help of absorption of dyes that are water-soluble onto a substrate. It makes the colour insoluble in water. Cosmetic lake colours are made by making use of unique technology. The technology helps in attaining extremely fine particles. These particles help in achieving shade consistency. In comparison water soluble colours, cosmetic lakes are much more stable & safe. They also generate vivacious and brighter colours. It has been seen that cosmetic pigments and lakes are more suitable for food products that contain fats and oils. They are also suitable for those products that do not contain enough moisture for dissolving colours.

Cosmetic dyes, on the other hand are used for making cosmetic colours & products. These dyes are widely used by the cosmetic manufacturing industries and businesses all over the world. They are primarily used for manufacturing hair dyes, lipsticks, nail polishes, shampoo as well as other personal care products. It has been seen that generally water soluble & food dyes are very easy and safe to use. These dyes are mostly used for a wide variety of applications. They include cleaning chemicals, soaps, medicine, cosmetic products etc.

Know which ones are safe for use

Be it the use of any type of cosmetic dyes or cosmetic colorants safety of use is a primary consideration. Cosmetic colours and cosmetic dyes often make use of a wide range of synthetic colours. These are often referred to as FD&C colours. They are mainly extracted through coal tar and are basically a by-product of petroleum. Research shows that some particular coal tar based dyes lead to different types of cancer. This is why the FDA regulates them. They also determine the arsenic or lead amount they contain. Thus there are many restrictions in the use of such colours.

Some global trends in Cosmetic dyes and cosmetic colours

Worldwide it is seen that North America, followed by Europe, has the largest market for colour cosmetics. This is due to innovations in colour cosmetics. Other factors also include high consumer disposable income and frequent new product launches in colour cosmetic market in the region. However Asia too is expected to show high growth rate in the colour cosmetics market in next few years. This is on account of the increasing consumer incomes and rising in awareness about personal care products in the region.

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Economic Turmoil and the Future of Brazil

For many years, Brazil has been an emerging economic hub, attracting investors from all over the world. The Brazilian economy saw an 368% increase in Gross Domestic Product growth from 2003 to 2011. In addition, Brazil took in almost half of Foreign Direct Investment flowing into South America during 2015. This doesn’t come as a surprise since it reigns as one of the major emerging national economies. However, Brazil has seen a recent economic downturn with increasing unemployment and a contracting GDP. In fact, the Brazilian government cut 2017 GDP expectations from 1.6% to 1% growth. Having been one the most lucrative foreign investments for governments to individual investors, what happened to the so-called “Country of the Future” and can Brazil regain its momentum?

Back in 2015, recession hit Brazil hard and the country is still struggling to get back on track. According to the CIA World Factbook, the economy contracted 32% from its peak in 2011 and unemployment reached a new high at 12.6% in 2016. Being based mostly on services, agriculture and oil, Brazil’s economy has a direct correlation with global demand. With global recession looming, Brazil is feeling the effects of a slow world economy.

Brazil is a top tourist destination offering beautiful beaches, a diverse culture and exciting festivals. However, with the world economy slowing down, people are less likely to travel abroad. Since the majority of the country’s GDP derives from the service industry, Brazil will not be able to rebound any time soon unless there is a major boost in consumer confidence.

The demand for Brazilian exports was slashed when its largest trading partner, China, entered into an economic slowdown of their own. The decrease in exports caused massive layoffs throughout the nation. The notorious economic downward spiral began by wary consumer spending as unemployment rose. Companies that tried to gain capital by borrowing in U.S. dollars found it difficult to pay back those loans as the Brazilian Real crashed 25% in the span of a year in 2015.

One of the major hits came from low oil prices and the corruption of Petrobras, a large oil company and Brazil’s largest source of investment. Brazil is major producer of oil, exporting $11.8 billion worth in 2015, according to the Observatory for Economic Complexity. OPEC delivered a major blow when the cartel decided not to cut oil production, causing oil futures prices to plunge. In order to cope with heavy losses, Petrobras was forced to sell off assets and halt future research and expansion plans.

As if things weren’t going poorly, Petrobras was also caught in a scandal with former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and other high office executives. From 2004 to 2012, the company had spent over $2 billion on bribes to politicians whom would allow the company to charge inflated prices for construction contracts. Now that the scandal has unfolded, Petrobras executives face jail time and the company as a whole is forced to pay billions in fines.

So what does the future hold for Brazil?

Although at the moment the future looks dim, there are still signs of hope Brazil can turn itself around. The Real has seemed to stabilize in 2016 and heads into 2017 with an upward trend. Moreover, experts’ GDP projections for 2018 through 2020 show promising figures that Brazil can restore pre-recession level growth.

Even more promising, U.S. companies are still showing faith in Brazil’s future. American Airlines plans to invest $100 million in an aircraft maintenance center in Sao Paulo. Brazilian Investment Partnership Minister Wellington Moreira Franco and many countries like the United States, United Kingdom, France and Japan agree there are still reasons to invest in Brazil. This should be seen as a sign of confidence that the Brazilian market will grow soundly with the support of both national and international investment.

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The Effects Of The Global Trade Agreement

We live in a world that is increasingly getting connected. In such a world, trade agreements are bound to expand internationally, and to think and act otherwise would be downright stupid.

These global trade agreements, as such, are either bilateral or multilateral understanding between two or multiple countries and govern the trade policies between them. These agreements have a massive impact on worldwide trade and investments and are one of the major causes responsible for shaping business relationships across the globe. And while such agreements might not affect directly affect the place where you live or operate, being aware of the current trade agreements can definitely uncover numerous opportunities.

Forming up opinions is up to you; we do not intend to initiate an argument over how good or how bad these global trade agreements are. This article aims to get you familiarized with such agreements and tell if your supply chain could be affected or not.

While a few countries have settled upon free trade agreements and are in the process of widening them, a number of other nations have formed common markets and unions; this form of development can a have a thorough effect on small-scale businesses.

Two of the most common agreements are the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Brunei, Peru, Mexico, Chile, Malaysia and Japan, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, United States and Mexico.

Now, how such agreements impact your local business’s supply chain depends on a simple fact; whether your business is an importer, exporter or neither.

Scenario 1: You neither import nor export

It’s fairly easy to decide whether you are an importer or not, right? I understand that you do not directly source products from a foreign supplier, and technically speaking, that doesn’t make you an importer. However, trade agreements can still impact you. Your suppliers are directly affected by such regulations, and this vulnerability can affect your supply chain.

Keep the distinction in mind.

Scenario 2: You identify yourself as an importer

Owing to the low cost manufacturing in some countries, many small scale suppliers are able to compete with global giants.

With a trade agreement between two countries, most of the times, the country with lower labour costs benefits when the trade tariffs are lowered or eliminated. With trade agreements, importers usually get to source low-cost goods and it allows for the unrestricted movement of such low-cost goods through higher cost partner nation.

In case, such an agreement is dissolved, an importer would inevitably face a higher cost of goods and thus look for cheaper sourcing options, decrease their operational costs, and ultimately increase the prices, which would be borne by the customers, of course.

Scenario 3: You are an exporter

This even counts if you sell products that another firm exports because at some point or other, taxes would be levied on your sold goods. So how does it affect you? Your customers end up paying higher amounts for your products.

With a trade agreement in place between the country where the product originates and the receiving country, the very same products would move through the receiving nation freely. In such cases, you’d definitely want to keep such an agreement intact and leverage this competitive advantage you have in this particular country bound by trade regulations.

As a small or a medium sized business, it is therefore important for you to identify where your business lies with respect to global trade agreements.

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