Aloe Plus Lanzarote takes another step towards its internationalization
Aloe Plus Lanzarote is a company with 10 years of experience that has been committed to turn Canary natural products into health since its origins. Nowadays they commercialize more than 110 products, being aloe vera the basis for them.
This year they have strengthened their position as a regional company with 19 outlets in the Canary Islands and as an international company with its recent expansion into Agadir, a Moroccan city.
"...we believe that going overseas is essential to make our islands better known and to diversify its economy. We must remember that if the Canarian business sector is successful abroad, it will have a positive impact in job creation."
What is the main activity of the company at the present?
"The main activity of Aloe Plus Lanzarote is the sale of cosmetic products made from Canarian natural resources. We use Aloe vera as the basis for most of our products, but we also use other resources as Canarian sea salt, cochineals, volcanic ash, wine, and the argan tree.
Besides, the aloe we use comes from our own farms. We started in 2007 working in a small field that hardly reached two hectares, because we wanted to exercise the full control over the whole process so we could obtain and tend properly the raw material when turning the plant into juice. Currently, we have 6 hectares of farming land certified as organic farming land. "
Why do you find interesting looking into foreign markets for business development?
"The Canary Islands need to look overseas to develop and raise the awareness of its products. That is the logical direction for any company who wishes to expand its horizons and also wishes to be able to further investigate and work in a field that offers great opportunities for expansion.
In Aloe Plus Lanzarote we believe that internationalization plays an important role in job creations, in tourism diversification and also in opening up the Canary Islands. That is why we look overseas, and it is logical we set the focus on the closest continent, with which we have great air and sea connections."
What projects are you currently carrying out overseas? In which countries and why?
"We have opened and outlet of Aloe Plus Lanzarote in Agadir, 500 km from Rabat, Morocco capital city. This city is similar to Canary Islands in that tourism is also its economic driving force. It is a lively location open to the sea with a growing economic activity. Besides, our outlet is established in one on the main shopping avenues of the city.
This opening is something we celebrate but at the same time it is a great responsibility. We are taking with us the image of the Canary Islands and we hope this is just the first step towards our internationalization. We see countries as Senegal or The Gambia as very interesting options for the expansion of Ale Plus Lanzarote, but for the time being our goal is to consolidate the outlet Cosmétique de l'Atlantique de Agadir.
What products or services you find more attractive for internationalization?
"Overall, all of them. The aloe vera cosmetic products we commercialize are committed to the health of our clients. Obviously we have some flagship products which are the most sold, as our lines on health products and corporal care products, and among them the dermatological gels, the aloe vera juices, or the handmade soaps for personal care. But there is no doubt that some specific products as our aloe vera gel relax frio (cold relax gel) or our gel forte, both specifically designed for relieving muscular aches, are enjoying a great acceptance. The high quality of our products helps them to be international."
What problems have you encountered when trying to expand abroad? How did you solve them? Have you got any support?
"In any process of these characteristics there are issues that must be addressed as they rise. During the opening of our outlet in Agadir we had some problems finding the right premises four our needs. Once we solved that issue we had to get all our products certified by the Ministry of Health, which was quite an arduous process, but we also dealt with it.
After that, we encountered an issue that ended up delaying the opening for a month. Although we see it now as nothing but an anecdote at the time it was quite a challenge. We were carrying out our first shipment to Morocco just when the shipping line Maersk suffered a cyber attack. The result was that the delivery was delayed for a month and so was the opening of Cosmetique de l’Atlantique.
We dealt with all these issues by hiring a local export manager so we could get all the information related with the processes of homologations and carry out all the necessary formalities in Rabat.
Besides, we had the support of the Proexa office in Agadir. They helped us to solve all our doubts as they rose. And of course, we got some financial assistance thanks to PROEXCA through the subsidiary program “Canarias Aporta” of the Canary Government."
Have you accomplished any international achievement?
"Our main achievement is to be present in Agadir. But we must not forget that the internationalization started with the opening of our online shop, which opened the doors for selling our products in Europe, and helped us to foster customer loyalty with the visitors than could demand our products once they were abroad again."
Was it easy to become internationalized? How did your experience begin?
"Every internationalization process is difficult. Our experience started by visiting the target location. At first we went there just to know the city and check possible locations. The next step was the visit to Proexca. From the very begging we felt that the synergy we demanded was present and we realized that the internationalization was a real possibility, one we are very proud about nowadays."
Why would you recommend internationalization?
"The internationalization is the logical step for any company who wishes to expand its business activity. We believe in what we do. We care about the quality of the cosmetic products we sell from the very begging of the process: the farming of the aloe vera. That farming is done in organic fields under close monitoring so we get the best specimens which will end up being the basis of our products.
For those reasons we believe that going overseas is essential to make our islands better known and to diversify its economy. We must remember that if the Canarian business sector is successful abroad, it will have a positive impact in job creation. Aloe Plus Lanzarote is currently employing 70 people; most of them are women, so we are helping to create stable employment in the islands."
Raquel Caraballo Valdivia
CEO ALOE PLUS LANZAROTE, S.L.
Tel: +34 928 597 321
Translated by Daniel Palacios Martínez, February 28 th 2018