Troppo, the story of two brothers who started sewing a fleece at home four years ago and today have a turnover of 700,000 euros
The Cotero brothers don’t have to leave home to run Troppo. The clothing brand that they founded by chance four years ago was born in the most traditional way possible. “Some friends got together because we needed a fleece. In the end we decided to make our own. People liked it and in the first weekend we sold about 30 fleeces. Then we designed a T-shirt, a sweatshirt… and until now”, explains Pablo Cotero (Santander, 23 years old) to EL PAÍS in, precisely, an office that they have set up in that same house in an urbanization of San Sebastián de los Reyes, north of the capital, where he and his sister Nela live with their parents and their big dog, Pepe.
Little by little, those friends with whom Pablo began to create the company began to disassociate themselves from it, at which time Andrea, called by all Nela (Santander, 21 years old), became part of the project. Since then, both of them—and even their family—have been fully involved in the creation process, from design to planning. “The initials were embroidered by Pablo with a machine that we had to buy, the flags (which some polar bears wore) were sewn by my mother… everything was left at home. Even our friends and cousins helped us”, emphasizes Nela.
Despite the growth of the brand, they maintain that familiar and somewhat homemade essence from the beginning, so much so that they have turned part of their home into the logistics center of the business. A firm created by and for young people who already have more ideas in mind to expand with new lines of business and who dream of dressing their same generation from head to toe.
Such was the success of Troppo that the two brothers decided to park their university studies and try new teachings. In the case of Pablo, he began the degree in Finance, Banking and Insurance, but ended up leaving it for Business Administration —in which he is currently. Nela started Entrepreneurship and is now studying Marketing. “In the end we are doing things that are useful for the business,” emphasizes the young woman, dressed, of course, in a wide sweatshirt from her own firm. As Troppo grew, they hired experts who took care of tasks that they had no knowledge of. “Now we have a person who travels to Portugal every week to control production; we have someone who edits our videos and who designs our clothes for us, ”specifies her older brother, who does not stop, and points to the managers of each of the business legs, who continue their work during the interview.
Social networks and sales on-line They have been essential for a business that does not have a physical store, but that only in 2021 had a turnover of 700,000 euros. In today’s world, where everything is made known thanks to advertising campaigns or marketing With the most followed faces on social networks, they prefer to grow on their own. “The theme of influencers It’s complicated… If they see you as a small brand, they’re kidding you. Not everything goes. Behind a sweatshirt there is a huge effort and a lot of people”, admits Nela. So far, everything they have achieved has been thanks to their Instagram account —in which they accumulate more than 37,000 followers—, but they are looking for a new audience that does not know them yet: TikTok. “We haven’t been there for a very long time… It got very complicated for us. It is a difficult algorithm, but right now it is what people consume the most and you have to be there ”, explains the young woman.
Troppo’s vision has changed a lot since its inception, when they focused on producing clothes they simply liked. Now, they want each product to have a story and a message that inspires them to go on adventures. Although the production was started from home, they have centralized it in Portugal, from where all the garments are exported to Spain. “There aren’t many factories here and Portugal is the closest place,” says Pablo, to which Nela states: “And with better quality.” They recognize that sending production to Turkey or Asia would lower costs, but proximity is key to their project.
But not everything has been pretty. Sometimes success drowns. The worst memory of its four years of existence is when the demand for its products exceeded all its expectations and they could not cope with everything. “We had to cancel many orders. In the end, getting a sale costs a lot and there were days when we had to cancel 100 or 150. We had more orders than the capacity to deliver them”, recalls Pablo, who adds: “We took turns to personalize the products 24 hours a day. One would go to bed, the other would wake up, friends would come to the house to embroider, my mother would help us… it was non-stop. We had a house full of polars”.
Despite the fact that they still do not have a physical location, Troppo has already exhibited his clothes in two ephemeral stores or pop up —one in Madrid and another in Santander. “You can always sell more and you will never be satisfied with what you sell. But opening a physical store is an important milestone, because it is a new challenge, the type of sale changes a lot. You can greatly improve the Troppo experience so that people really connect with what the brand stands for. right now, do it on-line It is very complicated”, explains Pablo. “People really like to see what’s behind it, see the products in person… With the pop up We have had a small experience of what it is to have a store”, emphasizes his sister. The goal for the future is to have their own space where buyers can get to know the products up close, but until that moment arrives they will continue with the pop up. This year they intend to do five or six. Another objective is to expand its products and create new textile lines: swimsuits, dresses, pants… until reaching the children’s collections. “We have a concept that we want to work on and not just focus on launching sweatshirts and t-shirts. We dream that people can dress completely in Troppo”, underlines the young entrepreneur.
During these years, they have achieved figures that they did not think they would reach, although there is always room for improvement, as Pablo defends: “From within you do not value numbers because you always want more. The key has been to reinvest everything back into the business and dedicate all the time to make it the best it can be.” They look back with nostalgia, for everything they have lived together, but also thinking about the projects to come and with which they hope to continue growing. “We want to inspire people with our clothes,” defends Pablo. “That they get out of the monotony of social networks and encourage them to live their own stories. That they do not stay only with what they see through them ”.