The Many Lives of a ShoemakerBUILDING ON HIS PROFESSIONAL PAST RANGING FROM NGOS TO THE FASHION INDUSTRY, RODRIGO DOXANDABARAT HAS NOW LAUNCHED DOTZ, AN ENTREPRENEURIAL IDEA THAT SUMMARIZES HIS ECLECTICISM
He calls himself a shoemaker, because shoes are his business at the moment. But Rodrigo Doxandabarat, a 41 year-old from Argentina who earned his Global Executive MBA from SDA Bocconi School of Management in 2016, is a lot more than that. His multifaceted career and his personal life say as much.
When he was a young undergrad, he moved from Spain to China, in order “to find myself," he says. Then came his commitment to humanitarian aid, "first in India in 1997 where I worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta during the last year if her life, then working for a French NGO in Iraq in 2003, during the Second Gulf War". But he was also socially engaged at home, working in the Argentinian favelas on behalf of the Institute of International Economic Cooperation (ICEI).
Leaving NGOs behind, at least for the moment, Rodrigo has started a successful business in the industry where he first worked after graduating from college: «When I was 23 years old, I worked as a fashion model, and in 2008 I returned to Milan, because Giorgio Armani appointed me as commercial director for Asia and Africa, before moving to Brazil, which was then considered an emerging market. After I left Armani, I joined Dolce & Gabbana as retail manager for Central America. Then, after D&G, my third life has begun, which is a bit of a hybrid of the first two."
Rodrigo’s home base is now São Paulo, Brazil, where he has started Dotz, a shoe manufacture based on sustainable raw materials, "in particular organic cotton, whose production requires local small farmers to follow a complex procedure, but also recycled inputs from household waste and industrial waste. The vamps of shoes are designed by local artists, while the manufacturing workforce includes several Brazilian women who were at risk of social exclusion," says Rodrigo, who started building the business in 2016 and began sales, both online and with Brazilian multibrand retailers, only nine months ago. Several institutions like the Fundação Instituto de Administração (FIA), University of São Paulo (USP), Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA), and the state government of Paraiba, in the Brazilian Northeast, provide support. Right now, the Dotz brand has a staff of five full-time employees, not considering production and manufacturing. "We want to enter major markets like Italy, France, and the United States", concludes Rodrigo in a flash of ambition, as he looks at the product range of his shoes, which is now 60-model strong, all unisex.
by Davide Ripamonti
Translated by Alex Foti