Federico Machabanski On the Ins and Outs of Doing Business In Mexico

Federico Machabanski, CCO and Founder en PARDES / CCO and Founder en Selectio / Sales expert / Retail / Toys / Baby items.

MEXICO HAS CONSISTENTLY EMERGED AS MY PREFERRED DESTINATION since I have had the incredible opportunity to travel there for work. It has served as the backdrop for countless meetings, remarkable achievements, confronting fears, and a few setbacks. I have traversed its diverse cities, weathered cold, and heat, and endured earthquakes and rainstorms, all while indulging in the tantalizing flavors of its cuisine, from chelas to micheladas. Mexico has become a place that feels like home, a familiar and welcoming haven.

My connection with Mexico dates back to when esteemed individuals like Antonio Gomez Escandon, Claudia Gonzalez, Alma, and David Zugasti were buyers at Walmart. I vividly remember engaging with Ramon Urzua Zuniga, the discerning buyer from Chedraui, and Ricardo de la Garza, who played a pivotal role at Gigante. These encounters merely scratch the surface of the many industry figures with whom I have crossed paths. The Expo Disney at Centro Banamex stands as a testament to my commitment, as I proudly exhibited there. However, I have also encountered challenges, such as navigating unfamiliar routes to reach clients, grappling with the spiciness of local dishes, and countless other anecdotes that would require volumes to narrate.
For those of us engaged in business across South America, Central America, and Mexico, this land, alongside Brazil, stands as a veritable “land of opportunities.” Capturing the interest of Mexican customers initiates the year with a promising smile.

Undoubtedly, working in Mexico presents its share of challenges, yet the innate kindness of Mexicans creates a conducive environment. Whether managing 300, 500, or even a thousand points of sale, buyers treat you with the same warmth and respect that a store owner in a secluded corner of the country can give you.
Premium buyers go to Palacio de Hierro, Liverpool, and/or Sears, while Chedraui, Woolworth, Walmart, and other retail giants attract middle-class consumers. Additionally, millions of bargain hunters flock to Tianguis markets or Aurrera stores. On the other hand, toy enthusiasts frequent specialty stores like Juguetron, Juguetibici, or the esteemed Julio Cepeda are very important to the toy market. And then, you have the specialty collectibles stores; this particular segment has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years. While gaining entry into retail chains boasting thousands of branches, such as Oxxo, or pharmacy chains like Farmacias del Ahorro, might prove more challenging for toy manufacturers, the prospects remain enticing.

Mexico abounds with opportunities, but venturing into this market necessitates a comprehensive understanding of its intricacies. Local manufacturers of toys wield substantial influence, while distributors handle renowned international brands or embark on their own product development endeavors in China. Furthermore, global industry titans establish offices in Mexico annually, drawn by the immense potential for business growth.

To succeed in Mexico, one must delve deep into the market dynamics, comprehending the target customers of each buyer, analyzing direct and indirect competitors, and deftly navigating the labyrinthine bureaucracy that characterizes many large enterprises. One must also brace oneself for unforeseen obstacles. Even with a confirmed order secured months in advance, new suppliers may face unexpected hurdles, ranging from incomplete Supplier Registration due to missing signatures or delayed documents.
Consequently, overnight success becomes a rarity. My personal experiences exemplify this reality, as I diligently visited certain clients three times a year for five or more years before ultimately securing a sale. Nevertheless, there might be cases where such breakthroughs remain elusive.

However, the rewards awaiting those who triumph in the Mexican market are beyond measure. Seeing your product embraced by Mexican consumers, witnessing your business’s exponential growth and expansion, and forging lasting relationships make every endeavor worthwhile.

The Mexican toy market is a vibrant and dynamic landscape. It offers boundless opportunities for those willing to grasp its subtleties, adapt to its challenges, and resonate with its diverse customer base. Embrace the spirit of adventure, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Mexican culture, and allow the enchantment of this market to unfold before you.

Lastly, let us recognize the vivacity of Mexico’s cultural events and festivities, which contribute to its uniqueness. From the amazing celebrations of Dia de los Muertos, infused with vibrant colors and lively traditions, including exclusive areas in the retailers for this celebration, to the joyous piñata-filled parties and also the Halloween celebration that gained attention this last year, these cherished customs deeply resonate with the hearts of the Mexican people. By incorporating and understanding these cultural elements, you can forge a meaningful connection with Mexican consumers, becoming an integral part of their cherished traditions.

In conclusion, Mexico offers possibilities for those venturing into the toy market. It is a country with vibrant culture, warm-hearted people, and a diverse consumer landscape. By understanding the market dynamics, building solid relationships, and embracing the rich traditions of this enchanting land, you can unlock the door to success. So, seize the opportunity, immerse yourself in the Mexican market, and let your toy business thrive in this dynamic and ever-evolving landscape.

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