Subject area: Corporate Strategy of Extension
Region: Republic of Colombia
Industry: Retail & Ecommerce
Company: Vici Mare
Challenge: In early 2021, Sofia Mora and Maria Vernaza, founders of Vici Mare, a sustainable women’s swimsuit company based in Colombia, faced the challenge of finding ways to grow domestically. With this challenge, they had to decide whether to invest their full-time into the company, how to manage their small but growing budget, how to source alternative suppliers, how to improve their channels to reach out to more customers, and how to maintain their sustainable vision. The stakes for finding the most effective and efficient way to implement this project were high. If the company decision failed to be implemented within the given parameters, Vici Mare could risk the loss of potential customers, miss the opportunity to gain a sustainable competitive advantage domestically, lose current customers who identify with their sustainability and holistic mantra, and lose brand credibility.
Investment in Personal Capital: Elucidating Professional CORE
Our focus as a team was to apply consulting tactics, improve our analytical skills, and practice strategy-making through working with a real client project. We care to consult with Vici Mare because each of our personal interests and goals aligns with the company. We are keen to support and assist a small business, focused on sustainability, that is B2C. The opportunity to learn what it takes to run a small business and use what we learn in school to this case, is something we look forward to. Our goal is to ultimately come up with a business strategy that aligns with the brand of Vici Mare and how they will best grow and expand domestically within the market of Colombia.
Coming from different professional backgrounds, we all successfully utilized our knowledge and skills to analyze the current situation, thereby formulating feasible strategic guidelines and recommendations for Vici Mare to follow and implement.
- Chiyono Donahue – BS in Finance and History used financial experience to conduct extensive external analysis and writing skills to help compose a straightforward case.
- Jian Ding – BS in Supply Chain Management and Management Information System, utilized the knowledge of supplier relationship management and global supply chain logistics in order to increase Vici Mare’s sustainable material sourcing efficiency.
- Yufen (Sophie) Liu – BS in Marketing and Marketing Analytics, utilized creative and critical thinking to construct external analysis for Vici Mare and ensure the aesthetic of the documents.
- Camila Teodoro – BS in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Management and Marketing Management, utilized local contacts and strategic thinking to formally communicate with our client and implement support on our recommendations and background.
- Xinyi (Kay) Zhang – BS in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Management and Finance, utilized business model design to help derive proposed vertical integration for Vici Mare, and financial analytics to access the feasibility of recommended strategy implementation.
- Juan Dib – BS in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Management and Finance, utilized past work experience in Colombia to help the team make decisions based on trends, culture, and local facts.
Investments in Social Capital: Building Trust within the Company and Industry
- In order to place the company’s challenge into the domestic expansion, the founders Sofia Mora and Maria Verneza decided to create pieces that fit all ages and all body types, together with a donation from a % of purchases to non-profit sustainable organizations to incentivize purchases and make an impact. The founders saw a gap in the Colombian bathing suit market where brands were only selling unique and eccentric pieces while Vici Mare was looking for the same uniqueness but with the special taste of making them wearable for every occasion.
- To assess and resolve the company’s problem with domestic expansion and growth, the consulting team conducted primary interviews with the founders, collected data and research on Vici Mare’s current industry, market, supply chain, and competitive advantage through frameworks such as PESTLE, VRIO and Porter’s Five Forces for both internal and external analysis.
Investments in Professional Capital: Analysing Market Needs, Crating an Industry Map
- Our findings concluded a strong match between domestic expansion and a localized supply chain; therefore, the team recommended backward vertical integration with a local sustainable Colombian supplier to replace Vici Mare’s original foreign supplier. To successfully implement the strategy, the team also recommended a structural change in the organization and a change in operations below:
- Human Resources: Dedicated to marketing and design. The website design, product description, product pictures, and online chat customer service are important to maintaining customer volume in the e-commerce business
- Company capital: Dedicated to product development and supplier relationship management to advance the technology and increase the quality and performance of swimsuits with sustainable materials.
- Vertical Integration: Vertical integration with a local Colombian supplier. Switch to a local supplier which helps to reduce lead time, transportation costs, eliminate tariffs, and better manage the potential bull-wipe-effect risks.
- Eliminate the production and sale of accessories and exclusively sell swimsuits so that Vici Mare could pursue a dominant business diversification with a single core for swimsuits, prioritize the swimsuits SBU in the company’s efforts as the “star” of their portfolio.
- Organic Functional Structure: Vici Mare could increase the level of regulation and delegation, implement higher degrees of specialization, centralization, and formalization, and remain flat for hierarchy through the organic functional structure.
Capital Utilization: What’s next?
- During the course of the consultation stage, our team employed a set of business matrices as well as internal and external analysis framework to access and evaluate the current status of the business. Our analysis indicated a strong and positive correlation between its strengths and opportunities, suggesting a viable motive for action following the objective.
- Our team’s capability and qualifications to make analysis and evidence-based suggestions while taking into account the client’s desired goals and outcomes led us to make a reasonable and informed choice.
- Our dedication to the project made us turn into innovative people on addressing the challenges that put together an action plan for Vici Mare to implement the proposed solution by putting the spirit of environmental protection while spreading the beauty of nature of the institution and becoming a swimsuit industry benchmark.
- Feedback: “We want to thank the team for building this consulting case for us, we are looking forward to looking into the recommendations for a potential implementation! Thank you!!” – Sofia Mora, Co-Founder, 04/19/2021