Lucia Paula Ferreira Albanez is the owner of the “Princesas e Heróis” (princesses and heroes) costume shop in Guarulhos, Brazil. Here Lucia shares her Cashless Pioneers story with MasterCard and the role card payments play in keeping her small business safe and secure.
My name is Lucia Albanez, and I’m a small business owner from Guarulhos, Brazil. Even though I went to school to be a lawyer, I always knew that my true dream was to have my own store, and several years ago, when I was expecting my daughter Alice, I decided to finally make it happen. The idea came to me during a visit to an amusement park abroad, when I noticed that they offered costume services for children, allowing them to transform into characters for a day through colorful clothes and accessories. This concept didn’t exist in the Sao Paulo metro area back then, so I decided to start my own costume shop called “Princesas e Heróis”.
The online store of Princesas e Heróis came first to introduce the brand to the market and build the foundation for the brick and mortar store. We opened our doors in mid-2014, but did not have a payment terminal at hand during the first month, which was a drawback for the parents who visited us and fell in love with the clothes.The store sold many products payable by bank slip back then and we were often afraid of not being paid.
That problem is now a thing of the past. Ever since we started accepting card payments, they account for 90% of sales, which has helped us increase customer service and loyalty. Our average ticket also duplicated to R$ 200. I am always surprised to see that mothers of boys are the ones that visit us the most. They usually buy at least a costume per month!
Because many kids visit the store every day, I also have to ensure it is a safe place. Accepting cards has proven essential to reducing the risk of robbery, in addition to reducing visits to the bank. I can also keep tighter control of the money coming into my account, which is handy for me as a mother and as an entrepreneur.
At Princesas e Heróis, we don’t only sell costumes. We also host children’s parties at the store and help transform visiting children into princesses and heroes, including hairdressing and make up services. Currently, we work with about 30 children per month and expect to raise this number to 100, as well as the number of parties that we host on the weekend thanks to card acceptance!