In 1976, while at the Cabo Frio fair (a region in the state of Rio de Janeiro) Sobral saw polyester resin for the first time. It was being used by Argentine artisans to make jewelry. Interested in finding out about this material, Sobral asked the artisans for the name of the product. He was given some vague information followed by the word "breu." It is not known if the word "breu" was used by the artisans as a strategy to keep the use of resin a secret or if it was due to the fact that resin is a by-product of petroleum.
Through his own sources, Sobral was able to find polyester resin. In 1978 he established a small factory to work with the material and the company Genesis was born. Despite its size, Genesis made a splash in the fashion world. The pieces created by Sobral, different in shape and color, gained media attention. This success lead to the establishment of Memphis in 1981.
In 1982, Sobral, then 31 years old, traveled to Paris to seek new customers. Inexperienced and unable to speak French, he arrived in Paris during the Bastille Day celebrations. With a portable showcase and the will to win, Sobral came up against the natural difficulties of doing business in Paris during the months of July and August. The following year Sobral returned to Europe with nearly 120 kg of merchandise. Sold in Paris through a quick distribution system, the Sobral jewelry won European admiration and opened up export markets for Memphis, making it famous in Brazil and abroad.
Starting in 1993, the sales of Memphis decreased in Brazil and abroad due to Chinese imitations. The jewelry made by Memphis could not compete with the Chinese products sold at much lower prices which lead to a period of difficulties and administrative changes. In 1994, Memphis was closed, a new facility was built and the Sobral brand was created.
Today, Sobral continues to invest in the brand and create new jewelry and other objects in resin. Over the years, Sobral has become a student of the polishing process, searching the globe for the materials that will yield the most exquisite surface to perfectly showcase his brilliant colors. In recognition of his sense of design and attention to quality, Sobral has received the famous "Etoile de Mode" award on five different occasions at the famed BIJORHCA designer jewelry show in Paris.
In addition to creating stunning jewelry and home accessories that are themselves a work of art, Sobral leads a company with a conscience. As a "green" company, Sobral uses recycled materials in his most popular collections. He employs 160 people and provides them with meals, health benefits and a retirement plan. He also collaborates with the Museum of the Republic to train the younger generation in the art of jewelry making.