With the shows canceled due to the covid-19 pandemic, the trio of Portuguese-American comedians ‘The Portuguese Kids’ bet on their online store of Portuguese products, whose sales have increased 300% since the beginning of the confinement.
“I went from being a comedian to selling a sausage,” Derrick DeMelo, one of the group’s members, told Lusa, who saw all the 2020 shows canceled due to the pandemic.
“When we noticed that sales were going up, in March, we decided to focus on this and promote the business,” said the artist.
The revenue from the store allowed the group to compensate for the cancellation of humorous activities.
According to the Luso-American, who makes up the trio of comedians with Brian Martins and Al Sardinha, “without ‘Shop Portuguese’ at this moment, ‘The Portuguese Kids’ would not continue to exist”.
“I am very grateful, because without it we would probably have to close doors and go bankrupt,” he said.
The best-selling portuguese products at this time are yoghurt cakes, chorizo and sausage and frozen custard tarts, and the ‘Shop Portuguese’ catalog includes several other categories, from ‘t-shirts’ and aprons to mugs, books and roosters from Barcelos.
Derrick DeMelo considered that the confinement led people to buy more products online and find the store. “It has become a trend and I don’t think it will slow down much,” he said, stressing the importance of offering free shipping, something that other stores in the same segment do not do.
April and May were the months with the highest increases. As an example, DeMelo revealed that the store is selling about 250 to 350 kilos of chorizo a month and 100 to 200 packages of six quick-drying cakes a week.
“We are not Amazon and we are proud of it, everything we sell is authentic,” he said.
“It is not comedy, but it is also in the lexicon of being Portuguese. It is all to promote Portugal as a brand and Portuguese pride,” he guaranteed.
California and Florida are two of the states from which the store receives the most orders, but DeMelo explained that orders are coming in from everywhere, even from distant locations in the country’s midwest. “It is incredible to see the places where the Portuguese end up,” he commented.
However, it is not just Portuguese descendants who seek the food and typical products offered by the store: “The funny thing is that we are receiving a lot of orders from people who are not Portuguese. They buy because they went to Portugal, which has become a tremendous tourist destination”, said the artist.
“Portugal’s popularity is helping us on this side,” he said.
The trio, originally from Massachusetts, is also maintaining a connection with the community through videos that are released every Thursday and live broadcasts on Wednesdays and Fridays. “It is the best we can do for our fans now,” said the comedian.
Although the process of deflation is ongoing in the United States, the return of live shows with an audience is still unknown. “I prefer to wait until it is completely safe to do so. It may not be possible for a long time,” admitted Derrick DeMelo.
With the increase in the number of infections in several states of the country and the prospect of new vacancies in the fall, the view is cautious. “We don’t know what will happen in 2021, it may be a long time before we get back on the road.”
Until that happens, the focus of the comedians will be on videos and the online store, which they launched as a separate business to promote the Portuguese identity.
“What started as a joke has grown into something that I think will continue even after ‘The Portuguese Kids’ disappear,” said DeMelo.
The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 431,000 deaths and infected more than 7.8 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report by the French agency AFP.
The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.
This post is also available in: Português