Welcome to this e-commerce business success story! In this profile, we interviewed Nicolas, the owner of Vivalatina. Our hope is that you find this interview to be enlightening and inspiring as you seek to start and grow your very own online brand!
How did you come to own your business?
By accident. I placed love above my engineering career.
Long story short, I was living in France with my Mexican wife while working as a full time engineer in the Aerospace industry (Ratier Figeac and then Liebherr in Toulouse). My wife is a Doctor but was not allowed to work in France, being Mexican, she got fed up with that and decided to go back to Mexico in 2012.
I decided to follow her and we settled in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in July 2012. We already had the idea in France to set up a business to resell Mexican silver jewelry online, but the project never really took up, as I was busy and this was not the dreamed job for my wife.
After moving to Mexico, while my wife was working full-time as a medic, I decided to make the big leap, start my own business and focus 100% on this jewelry boutique project. I have never given up since then and could grow the business to get my own jewelry workshop now, leading a team of 4.
Now, this article is about profiling successful e-commerce businesses.
So – can you share your top 3 keys to running a successful online brand?
Three essential tips have helped me to succeed:
- I focus on products and services that my target clients are already looking for. I do not innovate, this would be too complex to handle for my small business.
- I produce content aimed at the best keywords my clients are looking for online, each product page is an asset to sale and each blog post is an asset to transform a prospect into a lead for a custom jewelry inquiry
- I try to read as much as I can about marketing to improve my sales process
Excellent. Now, I’m sure it hasn’t always been that easy.
Can you tell a story about one challenge, setback, or mistake that you’ve had to overcome on the road to success? How can others learn from your mistakes?
Back in December 2013, I was reselling silver jewelry and just starting to make custom jewelry on my own. For Christmas I had several orders that got “lost” on their way from Mexico to France during 8 weeks because the postal service was saturated. This was a new crisis for me difficult to handle as the postal service is cheap and inefficient and I was unable to get a clear picture of what was going on with those packages. It was difficult to deal with the clients while having no answer for them.
I could see this was not a winning option for my business to be dependent from the postal service.
So I decided to switch to UPS delivery (or other private package service if required). My problem was the shipping price. The cheap postal service was 7 dollars and UPS cost 65 dollars, while my average sale price was 70 dollars.
So I decided to sell more expensive jewelry to make the shipping price diluted in the jewelry price. I decided to focus on gold and diamond jewelry for my new products and to sale jewelry not from real picture but from CAD models rendering.I bought a 3D printer to print the jewelry master and started to work on new virtual products priced between 200 and 1000 dollars.
I had to change and adapt my marketing but I could make the change in less than 10 months and 2015 turned to be a much better year than 2014, validating the change in stategy. Since then, I do not depend anymore from the postal service.
Sometimes, a setback is a very good oportunity to see the flaws of your business idea and see it from another point of view, leading you to take action to change and adapt your business to be more efficient.
Thanks for that. Now – we want to know what’s next! What new initiatives are you rolling out at your business and what results are you hoping to see?
I am duplicating my French website (www.vivalatina.fr) responsible of 95% of my sales in English (www.vivalatina-shop.com) with the objective of doubling my sales by the end of 2023.
As I have run my business alone up to now, it results I am the bottleneck of the growth, so I have hired an assitant to delegate all the low value tasks and focus my mind on marketing and sales.
I have also bought and automatic casting machine to improve our quality process and production lead time, then we will start to offer our casting service to local jewelers in our town and create a new stream of income from our productive tools.
Sounds exciting! Any final words of advice for our readers?
None of the products I sale or the service I propose online was planned when I started my business.
Being able to market my business, interact with my customers and adapt to their requests has been fundamental to my success.
Brilliant! We want to thank you for participating in today’s interview. Hopefully our readers agree that there is a lot to be learned from your brand’s story. What links can our readers use to follow along with your journey?
Our business website in English: https://vivalatina-shop.com/
On Instagram: @vivalatinajewelry