Finding the Entreprenurial Spirit in Spain

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

I’ve made some good friends while living abroad this summer. But there’s one in particular who stands out. She happens to be the person I’m renting my room from, though she’s become so much more than just that. She’s a kindred spirit, and understands the trials and triumphs that I face while running my own business. After all, she runs two businesses with her parents, and can relate.

Meet my friend, Agostina de Castillo Berladinelli. To me, she is the quintessential young entrepreneur, embracing her penchant to dabble in a little bit of this, and little bit of that. At 28 years old, Agostina is wise beyond her years, and has 6 years of business owner experience. She is originally from Argentina, but her family settled here in Spain 13 years ago.

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On a busy Thursday afternoon, Agostina and I went for tapas and cañas—typical Spanish food—and sat down for a more organic-type of interview. I was very interested to learn more about her background and her business endeavors. Plus, it was a good opportunity for me to continue to practice my Spanish. But I digress.

The first business in which Agostina is involved is called Puroaroma Ambientadores. Puroaroma is a line of products that, in the words of Agostina, “gives clients the complete experience by making sure their place of business and/or home has the perfect scent.” There are “aparatos de ambientador,” or what I deem them: aroma machines. This is the main product, but there are other products as well—like small squares that give off a generous amount of good-smelling waves of the scent of your choosing. Sounds like a great product, right? Right. However, it can be hard to sell something like this, especially here in Alicante, Spain.

“In Alicante, it can be hard to sell someone on a new idea. People can be close-minded at times,” Agostina explained to me when I asked her about the difficulty of running such a business. And especially since “La Crisis,” people have become more skeptical and cautious—which is how things can be in the US, more so because of the Recession.

So, like any good marketer and business owner, Agostina finds ways to get people to buy in to her product. She told me, “I tell prospective clients: You can try the product for two days. If you like it, let’s talk.” She further went on to say that people in general don’t always appreciate a good product, and you must be confident so that people believe in YOU first, and then they’ll believe in the product.

“If you believe in the product, it basically sells itself. You must present it with confidence.” –Agostina Berladinelli

She’s done a great job of presenting her product with said confidence, but also uses effective marketing techniques like placing ads in elevators, wearing t-shirts that advertise Puroaroma, and making personal visits to stores to build relationships with clientele.

Agostina also runs a business with her mother: Frida & Co. Through Frida & Co., they sell jewelry and accessories. They distribute their products to stores, at house meetings/parties (similar to a Stella & Dot kind of party), and through the Internet. Like myself, Agostina likes to keep her hands in more than one cookie jar, and likes to be innovative and creative.

So, just what does the future hold for this bright and very talented young woman? For starters, she has her mind set on business expansion, especially in regards to Puroaroma. She and her business partners have plans to keep expanding sales to other regions in Spain, and would like to sell all the way up to Valencia—and beyond. Agostina also plans to grow Frida & Co. She is currently working on bettering the websites for both companies, continuing to network, and increase her clientele. And you know something? I think she’ll do just fine.

Agostina and me, getting ready to go to lunch.

Agostina and me, getting ready to go to lunch.

To find Agostina’s companies on social media, check out the links below:

Puroaroma Abientadores

Facebook

Website/Blog

Frida & Co.

Facebook

Website/Blog

Twitter

Interview with Sergio López: A Quick Look at the Spanish Market

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

A few weeks back, one of my friends in Spain let me write a guest post on his blog. (Click HERE to view.) I was only too happy to return the favor by interviewing him. Plus, since I am in Spain for the summer and have been immersing myself in the culture, I was eager to gain some perspective on business and marketing practices in Spain. And who better to answer my questions than a native Spaniard?

Without further ado, here is my interview with Sergio López Llobregat:

Coaching - Sergio Lopez Llobregat - Coach Ejecutivo y Profesional de AECOP

Interview

TH: What do you do for a living? What is your job here in Spain?

SL: I work as a Sales Rep in a pharmaceutical company; this is my primary job. And I try to help other professionals through Executive Coaching and through my blog.

TH: Where do you think the Spanish market/economy is now?

SL: The Spanish economy has had structural problems, and lately has remodeled its economic model. I think that the economy will grow this year; new companies have been created, and investors are regaining confidence in the Spanish market.

TH: I know Spain has “La Crisis,” but is there still growth in business and trade?

SL: Spain was growing in business and trade before “La Crisis” oriented itself, and now it is having the most important internationalization process. This is the main reason why we are growing in business and trade.  

TH: Are the numbers improving at all?

SL: Not really; we have very bad data in regards to youth unemployment, and there are no improvement expectations in that sense.

TH: What do you think is the future of business for Spain?

SL: Historically, Spain has been a country that has easily overcome even the biggest challenges. Our people’s talent, and the need for change, will produce new opportunities for our economy. Spain has now its focus in developing countries, in Latin America, where there are no language barriers, and in the Middle East, where Spanish construction and infrastructures companies have been moved.

TH: Is the manner/way of marketing in Spain comparable to the way the rest of Europe engages in marketing?

SL: Spanish marketing is now very similar to the rest of European marketing. In my opinion, most companies have the same problem, and it is this new situation which has made the marketing departments only focus on one of the four P’s: Promotion. This minimizes the possibilities of new strategies and tactics.

TH: If American companies want to market to Spain, what would they need to know? What would they need to do?

SL: Well, I think, and you know it too, that Spain is simply different, and what works in other countries doesn’t work here necessarily. One piece of advice that I would give to a foreign company is that they have to take into account that the Spanish market has special features, and it would be a good practice to hire advisors from here to help them adapt their strategies to our markets.

TH: What are your favorite business/marketing books?

SL: I have several favorite marketing books. If I had to recommend some of them, I would recommend:

The Power of Simplicity, by Jack Trout

Kotler on Marketing, by Philip Kotler

Marketing Permission, by Seth Godin

The Art of Enchantment, by Guy Kawasaky

TH: And finally, where can we follow/find you on social media?

SL: My twitter is @sergialc and my blog: www.sergialc.com

A HUGE thank you to Sergio for allowing me to interview him! Give him a follow on Twitter, and be sure to visit his blog. 🙂