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Náferson Cruz – From Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – Exotic and sophisticated, the skin of the pirarucu – a giant Amazonian fish – has been used exponentially by the fashion industry in products such as boots, shoes, and bags. The innovative raw material with low environmental impact and unique aesthetics caught the attention of Denise Gerassi, a specialist in accessories made of pirarucu leather.

Over the phone, the businesswoman of Italian descent, talked to REVISTA CENARIUM, about the rise and acceptance in the handbag market. Seven years ago, Gerassi asked himself: what famous brand with a Brazilian concept would a woman like to have? The answer was inspired by several ideas, but it was with the design of the ‘Lenda da Vitória-Régia’ collection, that the ‘river fish’ line was created and, later, its remarkable pirarucu leather bags originated.

“It was a challenge to look for a typical Brazilian concept to transform it into a national product with international characteristics”, commented the businesswoman.

Currently, “Empresa Denise Gerassi” has the greatest demand in the pirarucu leather bag trade, with 90% of sales. In the showcase there are 20 models exposed of the product, considering the opening of colors, the options reach 40 items. Offers come from customers in Japan, South Korea, Canada, the United States, and Portugal. The average ticket for a scholarship costs R$ 1,000.

“The bags and accessories are always inspired by Brazilian themes, genuine and based on rich handicraft processes that it develops with artisans and specialized cooperatives, located in different regions of the country”, he explains.

Gerassi destaca que a marca possui um e-commerce próprio onde suas peças podem ser adquiridas. Contudo seu foco é exportar para outros países e, para isso, conta com o apoio da Apex (Agência de Promoção e Exportações e Investimentos), participando em grandes feiras em locais como Colômbia, Milão, Las Vegas, Paris, e também de evento na Casa Pau-Brasil em Lisboa.

Sustainable fisheries

In the past, the pirarucu was collected only for food and its skin became ecological waste that was discarded. After a decade of research carried out by Kaeru (a company that buys pirarucu skin to be reused), pirarucu is fished following the most rigorous practices of sustainable fishing standards required by the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources ( Ibama) and international bodies such as Cities (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Brazil).

According to Denise Gerassi, their products are unique, exclusive models, one of the few in the country that have an Ibama certificate. She also points out that riverside communities in the Amazon are also benefited by the acquisitions of the pirarucu skin. “It is a product chain that generates jobs and income from those people who work in the management of Amazonian fish to those people who are in the factory”, added the businesswoman.

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