Generation 4.0: Marta Lopes & Cristiano Lopes

They are brother and sister and work side by side at the family business, Jovan. Meet Marta and Cristiano Lopes.

Why did you decide to work at Jovan? Was it a natural choice?
Actually, it was a natural decision. We already kept track of the business even when we were studying. This was always a present topic in our lives, so it’s like we were always part of it… and we didn’t even try to work anywhere else!

What changes do you feel are happening in the shoe industry?
We have witnessed many changes in the last few years. These changes are mostly related to the increasingly concern of the company’s image, at the same time that there’s a greater attention to certification and for people. Besides, it should also be noted the sector’s development of a more cooperative attitude. We believe this changes are connected to the rejuvenation of the administrations, namely with the entrance of young work teams, who have training, new skills and a global perspective without company or market’s limits.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges in this succession process, in which you most certainly can include yourself (and is becoming ever more common within the sector)?
Naturally, our parents are always our main models. They have the know-how acquired for many years of experience and priceless learning processes based on their personal practice, not on scientific or theorical studies...
Our main challenge is to be able to incorporate our knowledge on the wisdom and experience of the older ones, who saw the companies appear and grow and did it with humility and an eternal apprenticeship attitude. But isn’t this the challenge that every young person who enters a company feels, no matter which? Of learning from the seniors without losing its main virtues as “junior”, of persistence, willingness to work and optimism.

In your opinion, what does the new generation of entrepreneurs has to offer to the sector?
A new vision, new ideas, new perspectives. But, ideally, reconcile all of that with what has been done before, the “old” visions, ideas and perspectives.

In what way do you believe it’s possible to evolve the footwear industry in the coming years?

The evolution that is being felt is related to the human resources and the further approximation to more ambitious quality patterns, considering the demands of the clients that chose Portugal to manufacture their products.