"Competing with a Goliath" by Jill Avery, Mark Rampolla & Tomas Pando, 2016, HBR Case Discussion
Tela, a Lima-based company that uses local, sustainable materials to make fashionable ponchos, has a formidable competitor--a large U.S. firm with a globally recognized brand that markets its ponchos as "of Peruvian design" (although they are made in Bangladesh). Alejandra Chirinos, Tela's founder, has gathered her team to decide how Tela can best position itself against the U.S. company. She believes in Tela's social mission of employing and teaching weaving skills to underprivileged women, but her competitor has a simpler story to tell: Like TOMS with shoes and Warby Parker with glasses, it has a "buy one, give one" model whereby purchases support donations to people in need. In this context, can Tela successfully market its social mission? Or should it emphasize the authenticity of its products or its lower prices? Mark Rampolla (founder and former CEO of Zico coconut water) and Tomas Pando (cofounder and president of the Argentine footwear company Paez) offer expert commentary on Chirinos's dilemma. This HBR Case Study includes both the case and the commentary. For teaching purposes, this reprint is also available in two other versions: case study-only, reprint R1610X, and commentary-only, R1610Z.
SDG Topics: No Poverty / Gender Equality / Decent Work & Economic Growth / Sustainable Cities & Communities / Responsible Consumption & Production.