“We closed the Red Arena website. It has been a very difficult decision to make, but it is the most responsible thing we can do right now, ”explains Erika Romero (Barcelona, 25 years old) to the camera in a video published on TikTok, the social network that has put her company in the spotlight. of jewelry and in which he accumulates more than 350,000 followers. The project started six years ago, but after many bumps it reached its peak this April. Due to the high demand for orders and the impossibility of providing a good service, she decided to close her brand’s website for four days.
She is not the only entrepreneur who is going through this. Social networks, and specifically TikTok, have become a great showcase for small entrepreneurs to show the world their products and projects. Jordi San Ildefonso, Marketing Strategist at Metricool, a company that manages and analyzes social networks, explains the power that this platform has in commerce: “It is the social network of discovery. The algorithm quickly learns what you like and even if you don’t follow that account, videos of him appear repeatedly. If you like what you see, you stay longer. We live in a time when we don’t mind seeing advertisements or when a brand tells us about their products because they do it in such an original, fun and fast way that we feel that they are not taking our time”.
One of the first to notice the effect of TikTok was Andrea Garte with her brand My Agleet, specialized in selling shoes since 2021. Everything in her business revolves around social media: she posted on her Instagram account —when she didn’t even was known—a photo of him wearing shoes from his friend Lucas’s store, after seeing it, a company bought all the stock of her now partner and she saw the opportunity to launch into the world of entrepreneurship. “One day I decided to start taking the business more seriously and I uploaded videos to TikTok and Instagram showing what was behind the scenes, how we managed it, how we packaged. That was the boom”, explains Garte in a video call to EL PAÍS. He confesses that it was there when he discovered the power of social networks: “From one day to the next I went from having three orders, which for me was already a good day of sales, to having almost 200 ″.
The key to her success has been the closeness with her followers, as the entrepreneur defends: “That people get involved with the project and can feel part of it is essential. Now there are many stores that sell shoes and being one more would have been a failure. We wanted to be different and we got it”. The same thing happens to Romero with Arena Roja, where he publishes every detail of his jewelry: “When I see that everyone is doing something, I do the opposite. If you are the same as the rest, you do not get anywhere.
Creativity is essential to stand out from the rest, both at a business level and in social networks. Paula Rodríguez founded Carmelo Cotton more than a year ago, a business proposal based on the upcycling: transform second-hand clothes. “We go to the distributors to select the garments one by one, so we make sure that we will be able to take advantage of all of them. We wash, we make, we classify the clothes… And depending on the use, we cut them to make new products”, explains Rodríguez. In April of last year, Carmelo Cotton took off, but reaching a demand that, at first, they could not meet: “We had to hire more people and we increased production. They were a few months of maximum madness and that helped us, but there were a lot of people who got angry with us because we didn’t have enough clothes on the web. Everything was sold in three minutes”. Unique and special garments of which only one unit is put up for sale, but with which they reach more than 300 orders per month.
Karla Fortea united two of her passions to create Yummy Jewels: crafts and design. Her business is sustained thanks to the earrings that she creates by hand: wooden flowers, hearts, clouds… everything is valid for this entrepreneur. She started her business in 2021, but it was one of the collections that she designed for Halloween that gave her visibility and followers: “It was a before and after,” she assures her by telephone. Like Carmelo Cotton, Yummy Jewels is sustained by the stock that manufactures and does not work on demand: “You do not get to everything and it is better to sell only what you have. There were times when too many orders accumulated and I had to put a notice on the web that, if they bought, it would take a little longer to arrive ”. Thanks to the latest collection he designed, he has sold more than 200 units in recent months and he already plans to expand the team: “Until now, I was asking close relatives to help… but now I need a second person.”
Another example of success is that of Prado Rodríguez and Marta Durán, who founded Más 1 three years ago, a business based on handbags that began as a university degree project that they were both studying: Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “We decided it was a good idea to make bags out of alternative materials, like steel. We made a very basic prototype, but it had a pull”, remembers Durán. Their key moment was in November 2022, when they decided to open a TikTok account. “We upload videos of how wrong something has gone for us. That is not normal in a brand, which usually shows only the good. Now, even from the bad, you can get a video that engages users. Instagram is like a catalogue, but what really counts is the reality of the process”, explains Rodríguez.
Before getting fully involved in TikTok, they already had their audience, but the platform helped them to be known internationally. “In February we sold more to the rest of the world than within Spain. It is the power of TikTok, that you reach an audience that we otherwise could not have reached ”, emphasizes Durán. They take an hour to make each bag in the workshops they have in Asturias, so high demand makes it impossible for the times to be those previously established.
The power of TikTok has brought great benefits to all these brands, but it has also made them experience difficult months. “They have been the best-worst months of my life. At first it was difficult to manage because we were not prepared for what was coming our way. We woke up at six in the morning and left the office at twelve at night,” Garte reflects on the My Agleet requests. Now, his business receives an average of 70 orders a day, but they expect that figure to increase again in the summer.
Making the decision to close Arena Roja for a few days has not been easy for Romero either. “We had to do it because we didn’t arrive and, even so, we still haven’t arrived. Several friends are helping us. I have had a hard time thinking that I have not done the right thing or that I should have warned more people to be able to do everything. I didn’t know this could happen, ”he laments. Only in the last month, Arena Roja has sold more than 1,300 products.
With a very favorable forecast for the future, all of them are already thinking about new business ideas and even increasing staff: My Agleet wants to open up to other products beyond footwear; Arena Roja has just launched bags and silver jewelry; Carmelo Cotton wants to evolve and create his own clothes; Yummy Lewels wants to hire more staff; and Más 1 hopes to get more clients internationally. They are entrepreneurs who in their day opted to grow on social networks and who, thanks to the effort and the TikTok algorithm, now live off their dream.