WITH With the advent of the pandemic and the ban announced on March 17, 2020, many companies had to take different strategies not to close Some companies decanters, others who were devoted to elaboration perfumes and cosmetic products they were adapting and looking for new opportunities. This newspaper spoke to representatives of some of them who told his stories.

For example, Cristian Donoso, CEO of René Chardón, remember that like many other companies, they didn’t know how to handle the situation at first. “It was a very difficult time”, he claims and explains that at that time the company, located in the industrial zone in the south of Quito, produced cosmetic products and, for example, beauty salons, which were an important sales channel, closed down. Instead, other channels remained open, such as dry cleaners and supermarket chains. So for at least three months, sales fell and even had to stop for a few weeks, but then they focused more on the line of cleaning products. Between them shampoos, liquid soaps that were marketed in supermarkets. They also created a product that they did not have in their portfolio until now: an antibacterial gel, but it did not achieve a large turnover, so they gave it away to their clients, asking for support in terms of care and biosecurity measures. “We’re trying to adapt,” he says.

In it labor issue, One of the first measures the company implemented was to ask employees to take accrued vacations because production had to stop. Based on the Law on Humanitarian Law, they concluded contracts with their workers on the percentage of salary payments. Remote work was also applied, in areas that were possible. On the other hand, the people who remained in the facility had the necessary support in terms of transportation, food and biosecurity. He explains that there were no major cases of COVID-19 among his employees. The big lesson, he says, was the issue of trying to cut spending.

The company also managed to survive by opening new markets. Thus, in the pandemic, new businesses materialized and now they started to venture into the export of products that come from quinoa (Kinoa). Sales have already exceeded pre-pandemic levels. The lesson that the pandemic left behind was the need to take care of nature, and René Chardón, in accordance with these same guidelines, created an ecological plan, treating waste water and striving to be a company with a low environmental impact.

In the meantime, Francisco Negrón, Beautik International Sales Manager, Remember that as a company in the line of perfumery and personal care products, they strongly felt the drop in their sales, by at least 25%, because at that time these products were no longer a priority for consumers, people He prioritized their costs, remember. At that time, the company, which has its factory through Durán Tambo, was looking to adapt to the moment and abandoned the perfume line to switch to alcohol, antibacterial gel and cleaning products.

The Beautik factory currently produces a range of cleaning products and even a maquila for outdoor spaces. During the pandemic, he changed his activity. Courtesy: Beauty Photo: Beauty

The situation encouraged them and they started exporting products to Chile and Peru. “We were able to capitalize on supermarket clients in both countries. That was the starting point, not only did we change the subject of production but also the commercial strategy”, he assures. Therefore, Beautik changes its activity and produces cleaning products even as a maquiladora for Unilever.

Negrón believes that although the pandemic was a very strong phase in terms of the human side, as a company they had to take advantage of opportunities, identify trends and capitalize on clients who at first saw them as an emerging option, but then stayed. Permanently. Now they also work with Tottus hair products, which is part of the Falabella group. This growth has also served to create more jobs and ensures that more job opportunities are created with each new project.

Francisco Negrón says that currently the alcohol item is maintained because the habit is maintained. However, no longer in the quantities that occurred in the pandemic. The company continues to think about expansion and is currently working on lines of hair products, mouthwash and intimate soaps.

The production processes of alcoholic beverages at Embotelladora Azuaya (EASA) have for some time switched to antiseptic alcohol processes. But now the work has resumed. Taken by Azuaya Bottling Photo: EASA

The need for adaptation was also felt in the alcoholic beverage industry sector in Ecuador. Many companies that produce alcoholic beverages had to change their activity to antiseptic alcohol. Jorge Talbot, manager Azuaya Bottling Company (EASA), which used to produce the widely known brandy Cristal, let us remind you that three years ago, during the pandemic, the government banned the sale of alcoholic beverages. In his case, he tried to venture into a new line, antiseptic alcohol.

“We turned to the disinfection area. It was an opportunity to support the country at a time when it was needed. Not only was there an effort to give sustainability to the business, but also to maintain jobs with the new product.”

This activity was maintained, albeit in a smaller amount until December 2022. Now the company has returned to its original activity. Talbot says that demand for antiseptic rubbing alcohol is currently down. “Now people hardly wear masks, nor do they disinfect themselves,” he says.