The footwear company, founded by Federico González Obregón in Guadalajara, 67 years ago, is still on a firm footing and aims to penetrate international markets.
Sixty seven years ago Dione took its first steps in the Mexican footwear industry. It has continued its progress confidently, but never in a rush. Dione walks, it doesn’t run.
The company, founded by Federico González Obregón in Guadalajara in 1944, with 35 employees, has since expanded ten-fold. It now has over 350 employees and 25 stores in 10 states across Mexico, including Mexico City.
“The factory was founded with the idea of manufacturing high-quality ladies’ shoes, always respecting two core principles, which continue as part of the company’s philosophy to this day: top-quality natural materials and specialized workforce with an eye for detail,” explains Rodrigo González Martínez de Velasco, commercial director of the company and member of the third generation of the company’s founders.
Shoes made by Dione –a name taken from Greek mythology, the wife of Zeus and mother of Aphrodite– aim to stand out through their comfort, design and quality of materials, explains González Martínez de Velasco. After consolidating its position in this segment, the company began manufacturing handbags, scarves, hats, key-rings, belts and other leather goods.
Despite competition, especially from countries such as China, and the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, Dione has taken the right steps to continue growing.
In 2010 the company grew by 29% and expects to grow by 15% in 2011. “The competition is stronger than ever in our market and it’s increasingly difficult to achieve growth. We have succeeded by improving our manufacturing and retail processes. We’ve begun using lean manufacturing processes and we have changed our sales and other methods in our own stores,” explains González Martínez de Velasco.
“With our clients such as department stores and shoe stores around the country, we have benefitted by focusing increasingly on fashion which, combined with the comfort of our products and the use of exclusive materials, has given us continued strength. The short distance between manufacturer and client enables a fast response time which also helps,” he adds.
Toward the end of 2009, Dione decided to halt its exports. However, the company is currently developing plans to market its shoes in the US, Canada and South America.
A Modern App roach
Dione seeks to distinguish itself with fashion products of genuine value. To this end a team of designers based in Guadalajara work together with the production department that sources the finest materials and uses the latest techniques.
The company recently invested in technology that modernizes its processes and increases its production by 20%.
According to Pablo González, the company’s manufacturing director, at the close of 2009, when the footwear industry was reeling from the financial crisis and the AH1N1 public health scare, Dione was producing 9,000 pairs of shoes per month but now, thanks to the modernization of its manufacturing plant and with more personnel, it is producing up to 12,000 pairs per month.
But this increased production has not come at the expense of quality. Dione’s challenge is to keep its promise of value and to offer fine and wellmade products, explains its Commercial Director. “The difference between us and our competition is that our most important asset is our brand. We use every means necessary and go into great detail to ensure each of our products is fashionable and comfortable. Dione is a semiluxury product whose value often exceeds its price,” says González Martínez de Velasco.
Mexico’s geographic location and its trade agreements with several countries give its footwear industry an advantage. “The next step is to strengthen brands and the operation of Mexican companies,” states González Martínez de Velasco.
He considers that for the Mexican footwear ndustry to consolidate its position it must build up clients’ trust in Mexican brands and fashion. Dione is making great strides in that direction.