“When selecting the marketplaces, we make sure that they follow the same values ​​as we do.”

Donegal Collections is a young company, not only because of its long market presence, but also because of the essence, spirit and design it brings into the home. He was born in Ontinyent, capital of Vall de Albaida (Valencia) and has been for more than two years Its products are part of more than 11,000 households. We interviewed you CEO, Sergio Javaloyesto learn more about this textile company that stands out in the market.

EcN: Sergio, tell us how did the idea of ​​creating Donegal Collections come about? What are the brand values?

Sergio Jovaloyes (SJ): My parents weren’t keen on it, so I had to start from scratch and somehow jump in the pool. I have always liked the business world, I have lived it at home since childhood, and the sale of textiles, given the proximity to the production area where we are located, made me want to deal with it and it seemed to me one good time to be company. We were coming out of the pandemic and I wanted to get something like this.

Among other things, the most important value is youth. In fact, our team is very young compared to other types of companies. Of course, this also goes hand in hand with the values ​​of dynamism, agility and vocation for what we do and towards our customers.

ECN: You are a young company. How has the brand grown since its inception? What was the biggest challenge you faced as an entrepreneur?

SJ: The truth is, growth hasn’t been easy. As in any company. In addition, we started immediately after the pandemic and faced a rather delicate situation. With the help of my parents, I started placing orders until the order volume was already unsustainable.

One of the turning points that I will always remember was Black Friday of 2022, because at that moment the orders started to increase in a scandalous way and we couldn’t keep up. Now I see it in perspective and it’s nice to see how we’ve progressed, but there were moments when we just couldn’t handle everything. It might sound nice to say that we had a lot of work to do, the growth numbers and KPIs were amazing, but not knowing how to manage a very high volume of sales can lead to serious problems for the company. From problems with the platforms to distrust of customers.

The biggest challenge as an entrepreneur is to achieve all set goals with the available resources. My whole family, my friends, my partner and my partner’s family have been committed to Donegal Collections from the start and it has been a huge help. Of course, the most costly was offsetting investment and supporting growth with our own funds. One of the things I’ve tried to prioritize is self-funding. So far, we have neither external capital injections, nor do we work with bank loans.

EcN: Marketplaces have grown in popularity in recent years. How many marketplaces are you currently active on? Are future releases planned?

SJ: Currently we are present on almost all major national marketplaces such as Amazon, Carrefour, Venca, Miravia, Conforama, Leroy Merlin, Mano Mano, Makro, Piano 39 and others. The truth is that we are not bored! And right now we don’t plan to work on other national marketplaces, but we never say no. We like to listen and appreciate everything because we know we can learn from anything.

We’re at a stage where it’s time to lay the groundwork for the growth we’re delivering – we’re close to reaching full 2022 billing with Q3 and Q4 still to go . We focus our resources on cost optimization and creating internal automation processes.

ECN: What do you consider when choosing a marketplace? Amazon currently monopolizes the sector; But what percentage of sales does it represent for you?

SJ: When choosing the marketplaces on which we operate, we make sure that the platforms share the same values ​​as we do. Above all, that they place the same importance on home as we do. For us, Amazon is our first source of income. As you say, you have to take into account that it is a very visible platform that also allows you to reach more people. In Donegal, Amazon accounts for 45% of our sales. We try to diversify as much as possible, but it’s inevitable to limit growth in a market as powerful as Amazon when your products fit in very well.

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EcN: What strategies do you implement to differentiate yourself from other suppliers and to make your brand and products stand out? And what tools do you use to manage the different marketplaces you sell on?

SJ: Our main strategy is to get it right. Treat our suppliers and customers well so that the relationships we build with both one and the other last over time. For example, we place a lot of emphasis on the customer service area because we believe it’s important to be reliable and to keep in touch with anyone who buys from us if they have an issue. Sometimes a product doesn’t come out on time or didn’t arrive where it should have. That’s why we make a point of letting our customers know about it, so they can see that we care about these details.

We also invest a lot of time and resources in processing the images for the marketplaces and in optimizing the listings in order to better reach the end customer. At the moment we are in a process of growth, both because we have expanded the team and because we are already 4 people in Donegal, because for a few months we have been working with tools such as Sendcloud that make it easier for us to prepare orders. I remember the first Donegal orders having the labels removed by hand. Today it is unthinkable.

In the future, we plan to use other types of tools that allow us to optimize time to do more tasks. From optimal inventory control to uploading files. We have delegated most of the commercial and promotional marketing measures to our colleague Christian Antón. We invest a great deal of time and money every year to make our brand visible in each of the markets in which we operate.

ECN: What do you think are the main benefits of selling on marketplaces? And the challenges?

SJ: A big advantage is online sales: you can get anywhere with it more flexibly than with your own e-commerce. In our case, we must also add that we are in Ontinyent, a city in Valencia where the textile sector has always been very present. The proximity to our suppliers helps us to reduce the time factor in our work.

As for the challenges, the online sector is a very short-lived sector. You can suddenly get very high and go away after a short while. For this reason we believe that responsible and continuous growth is important.

ECN: Any tips/tricks to increase sales on marketplaces.

SJ: I don’t know if there are tricks. All I can say is that with work, dedication and sacrifice, anything is possible. My advice is that if you do a good job, both in choosing the product, uploading files, editing and shipping the product, and after customer service, the orders will go out.

ECN: Main challenges and goals for this year 2023? What is your vision for the future of Donegal?

SJ: One of our challenges is to grow the team. We are very happy because it means that the company is gradually growing and our needs are changing as we grow.

I don’t like to think too much about the future either, because I wouldn’t have imagined it a few years ago, but my long-term vision is to achieve something besides operating in the different markets we are in now We also have our own sales line that depends on us. One of the things that undoubtedly sticks in my mind is the ongoing training and the importance of being on the ground. So I can tell you that it is these two tasks that I have set myself for the near future.

ECN: Finally, what advice would you give to young people who want to start and launch their own brand?

SJ: Without a doubt they do. And that they surround themselves with people who help their project grow. Let them listen to everything they’re told, both good and bad, so they’ll know what they’re good at and what they need to improve on. That they are not afraid of injustice and follow their instincts. They shouldn’t think that they’re going to get rich in the medium term, that it’s not about making money first, it’s about much more. Daily and constant work, not giving up and living every moment as such. There are always bad moments and it is very important to live and accept them.

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