At the age of 23, Mariana Lutfi moved to southern Brazil and was quickly captivated by the beauty of the local forests. When her father, Jorge, who worked in the eyewear industry, came to visit, a business idea came into focus for the father-daughter duo.
Pairing Mariana's passion for the forests of the south with Jorge's optical expertise, in 2014 they began Allwood, a brand of wooden and bamboo sunglass and spectacle frames known for its style, quality, and ethical, eco-friendly production method.
"We were united by the same dream," says Mariana.
With Mariana living in Porto Alegre, Brazil's southern-most major city, and Jorge in São Paulo, 700 miles away, the long-distance relationship was a challenge — especially as the company took off. So they turned to WhatsApp to connect all facets of their operations.
With the help of a dependable and easy-to-use communication system, Allwood also expanded its reach beyond Brazil and amassed a growing customer base in the United States, Sweden and Italy.
With the WhatsApp Business app, Mariana uses the labels feature to stay on top of messages by categorizing them as from clients, suppliers or retailers. And when the business is closed, Allwood uses the quick replies and away messages features to sustain a company policy that all queries be answered as swiftly as possible.
"[WhatsApp] is all about the instant response," says Jorge, who estimates that the majority of their communication with new customers is done via the WhatsApp Business app.
"On your mobile it is so much easier to use WhatsApp than navigate the website"
Allwood customer Monica Manetti first discovered the brand at an artisan fair. A year after buying her first pair of Allwood's, Monica wanted her mother to have a pair, too. However, she had doubts about buying online. Monica explains, "So I got in touch [with Allwood] via WhatsApp. I wanted to know more about the delivery time and pricing. They responded very quickly and it was all sorted."
Vivian da Silva, another customer, reached out to Allwood to buy a last-minute birthday gift. "On your mobile it is so much easier to use WhatsApp than navigate the website," she says, adding, “My boyfriend thought the glasses were stunning.”
WhatsApp has solved the challenge of communication for this father-daughter duo, freeing them up to make fashionable, eco-conscious products their customers love, while drawing attention to the forests of southern Brazil in the process.