Vivalatina Jewelry – jewelry workshop and boutique selling gold & diamond jewelry online
Business Name and what it does
My business name is Vivalatina Jewelry. I run a jewelry workshop and boutique focusing on selling gold & diamond jewelry online. We are a 100% pure player selling jewelry online and managing our own workshop with no physical boutiques, all our sales are made online to be shipped to France (as I am French) or to the US.
We create our own jewelry collections and make custom jewelry projects for our clients. We use traditional workmanship and modern tools to make our jewelry 100% in-house with no logistic exposure (except for the gemstones, but we have a large array of international gemstones providers).
We use cad modeling for jewelry design, 3D printing, and the lost-wax casting process to make our jewelry. We can adapt our designs and services to the needs or our clients, which makes a big difference with large online jewelry businesses selling standardized jewelry.
One characteristic of our business is that we produce our jewelry on-demand, be it a piece of jewelry from our design or custom-made, we produce only the jewelry that we have already sold.
In 2023, we started a showroom in our town, Puerto Vallarta, to test the market as a projection to maybe open a brick-and-mortar jewelry downtown in the future. For this showroom, we do produce our jewelry before so we can sell it in the showroom.
Our business strategy is articulated on three points:
Low cost of operations
- Free and simple marketing
- On-demand making
Low cost of operations
I try to keep our costs low as we produce our high-end jewelry in Mexico and we sell online directly to our customer with strong purchasing power. So we have the minimum logistical infrastructure and labour cost possible to make our products.
As I had no money when I started my business, I got used to always find the cheapest way to reach my goals. I made my own workshop furniture, I rented the most affordable places for my business and found the best providers for my business. I build my own jewelry 3D printer and saved dozen of thousands of dollars on this move.
All this added on, I have a low cost of operation and makes my business more easily profitable.
Simple and cheap marketing
Our marketing strategy is 100% focused on Search Engine Optimization done in-house so we have no fees involved. In my opinion, the Search Engine Optimization done by freelancers can be very expensive while they do not know very well our business and results can be not as good as expected.
As the business owner, I focused early on in SEO marketing and became specialized in such a marketing channel. Achieving good results, I aim to still focus on the marketing channel I know the best and that is the most profitable in the long run.
With my experience, I discovered that it is better to be an expert in one marketing channel than being average is two or three different marketing channels.
This means that we make the jewelry pieces that we have already sold, so we have no jewelry stock to pay for or unsold items affecting our profitability. This also means that we have to be flexible to produce every week new jewelry designs just in time.
Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business
I started this business because I was in love, no joke.
After finishing my studies as a mechanical engineer, I decided to travel the world for a few months, which became a few years.
While traveling and working in Mexico in 2007, I met a Mexican girl that became my girlfriend. This did not stop me from traveling to South America and Brazil, but in 2008, we decided to come together to live in France and finally got married in 2011.
Back then, I was working as a mechanical engineer in the Aerospace industry in Toulouse, France. However, my wife, who was graduated as a doctor in Mexico was not allowed to work as a doctor in France because of legal restrictions typical of France. She finally got tired of this situation and decided to go back to Mexico, with or without me, and I decided to follow her, as I was in love.
So, in spring 2012, I resigned from my job and quit everything, selling my stuff to move to Mexico.
We settled in Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
With no industry at all in town, I could not expect to find a good job as an engineer. The plan was to set up a business as I already had this idea in mind for years. Meanwhile, my wife could work as a doctor here.
While we were living in France, we had already tried to set up an online jewelry business to resell silver jewelry before 2012. As I was working full-time while setting up the online boutique, this project never took off and failed by lacking of time and dedication on my part.
This time, I had the opportunity to focus 100% on this project, and this is what I did.
To make it short, I failed for almost three years to achieve profitability, before I finally achieved to find my market and grow my business with profitability.
While I started this business alone in a room of my rented house, I now managed a team of three employees in my own jewelry workshop and I switched from silver jewelry to 18k gold and diamond jewelry.
The challenges the business/market is facing
Working 10 years straight on my business and facing many difficult situations, I thought I had overcome any risk on my business, but 2022 showed me I was wrong.
My business challenges
The main challenge for my business in 2023 is that it depends at 90% from my sales to France and is very exposed to an economic recession that could occur in France in the near future. I have already seen the impact in 2022, from March to October and I could see how it hurts when the market gets slow. By chance I had wonderful months from November to February 2023.
On the other end, I had envisioned such a situation so I had already launched in 2018 an English version of my French online boutique to be able to grow my business in another market that the French speaking jewelry market.
Another challenge we are facing now is the amount of work that relies on my shoulders. As I started this business alone, I was able to set up the jewelry workshop to make it work smoothly. However, I am still in charge of all the work that is not about making jewelry. That means design, clients, SEO, sales, logistics, accountability, and I converted myself into the bottleneck of the business and the main obstacle to the future growth of my business.
So right now I am hiring an assistant to be able to delegate a lot of small tasks and focus on the most important tasks of my business: marketing and sales. This is a critical step for such a small business like mine as the efficiency of my assistant will have a big impact on my 2023 growth.
Jewelry Market Challenge
The main challenge of my market is the online competition, as there are thousands of jewelry brands online and only 10 spots on the first page of results of Google.
As I specialized myself with the years in Search Engine Optimization, I can handle it to keep growing my business. I manage to improve our visibility in the search result pages of Google, by choosing the right niche to offer our services. This niche of 24k gold jewelry is an example of such niche marketing with success.
Because of the ever-growing opportunities of sales appearing through social channels, it became complex to handle everything. So, I decided to keep it simple and focus on only one sale channel I could understand, measure and improve, which is Search Engine Optimization.
Having succeeded in making my business profitable on the French-speaking market, I plan to duplicate in English what worked in French. Then, I will replicate it again in Spanish to start selling in Mexico by the end of 2023.
The opportunities the business/market is facing
The main opportunity I can see for my business is that small jewelers doing unique and quality work are not much involved in online marketing. So, they are not very visible online. While big brands doing a lot of online marketing focus on a large volume of sales of generic products.
So, there is a niche where small jewelry businesses offering unique products and services can strive online, this is where I try to stand online.
On a larger view, the market of online jewelry is facing huge opportunities as more and more people worldwide are starting to buy online. Many of them are looking for expensive products to feed their needs. This means that the global demand for jewelry is almost certain to grow in the coming years for every jewelry business visible online.
Advice to others about business
With so much marketing channels available, it is easy to get lost trying to use them all. In my case, I decided to focus on only one marketing and sales channel and to master it sufficiently to generate my business growth. I find it to be much more efficient in time and money that chasing several sales channel at the same time.
Lessons learnt from running this business
When I started this business, I was just looking for a way to make a living and considered myself a failure as I failed during almost three years to be profitable.
It took me 18 months to understand that being an entrepreneur does not mean being successful in the business endeavor, but accepting to fail to step forward to reach one’s goal.
Now, with 10 years of experience, I have reached more than I could imagine when I started and my goals have grown X10 as I have discovered how fun it is to successfully run and grow my own business.
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