Have you ever received a jumper or jumper for Christmas? Probably yes, no one escapes these dreaded gifts, favorites of aunts and grandmothers around the world. Still, they were hardly as amazing as the ones the brand makes. That’s Merry Christmas.
Some time ago, Diego Roitman came up with the idea of turning sweaters into an object of desire, something fun to wear and see. The only problem is that Diego had no idea about textile design. Of course: After working at Tiendanube for a few years, I have had contact with many entrepreneurs, with their problems, their joys and their incredible experiences. This motivated him to want to start his own project.
So, around 2013, Diego decided to bet everything on this business and devoted himself fully to the task of making it work. From then to now, the brand has not stopped growing or making new customers and friends everywhere. For This Is Feliz Navidad, however, the journey has only just begun as they plan to continue investing and growing over the next few years. Learn more about the history of this company and don’t miss the surprise at the end!
How did This Is Merry Christmas start?
I had the idea in 2011 when the sweater card came to mind. I thought, “The sweater is like a drawing machine, a pixelated drawing picture. And there is no one taking advantage of that.” I looked around and found no one doing this, no one in the whole world, not in the United States, not in China, not in Japan. I thought it would be a great opportunity.
During my work at Tiendanube I was in contact with many entrepreneurs and I saw them grow, that’s when the virus caught me. I saw that it was doable, that it wasn’t an impossible idea. I had some savings, my dad taught me that, and it was like, “Well, I have my savings, if there’s one thing I’ve saved my whole life for, it’s for that.”
I studied computer science at ORT and business administration at ITBA, I didn’t know anything about clothing, I didn’t know anything about textiles, I didn’t know anything about commerce, I’ve never worked with selling physical goods. And so I started, without knowledge or contacts, to Google workshops, pick up the phone and call, grab the car and go here, go there, cross the whole conurbano. And so it was that I hit the wall with the bank account getting smaller and smaller until after six months of work I was finally able to find a person who did it and gave me the first prototype of the first sweater, what was it the intruder.
Everyone told me: “We can’t do this production, it’s too small”. I made thirty-six sweaters in all, in all sizes. Also, for me thirty-six sweaters was way, way more than I wanted, it meant spending a lot of my life savings. Until I found someone who came up with the idea and was like, “Well, I’ll make you thirty-six sweaters, just this once.”
Just before you have the product, I’ve already started uploading photos, I’ve created a Facebook page, I’ve registered the brand, I’ve opened the tiendanube and I’ve started generating hype With the launch of the sweater and from day one (I had already set up the whole sales process with Facebook ads and the online store with MercadoPago and OCA) I started receiving sales.
I expected the first customers to be my friends, and in fact they weren’t my friends or family; They were total strangers, people buying from all over the country. That was the beginning of the brand.
What was the biggest challenge when you started your company?
There were two things: First, not having had any contacts. It seems to me something crucial, if you have a good network of contacts, it helps you in most things: in production, in sales, in business contacts. On the other hand without local knowledge. But both things will be resolved over time, like everything.
I didn’t study apparel, but I have an apparel brand and today I can say that I know apparelof course I don’t even want to compare myself to someone who went to university, I’m not saying that, but I understand what I’m doing and I understand it with some depth. I learned many new things I had no idea about, you learn them by meeting. That’s the only way you can learn.
How is the production process of the sweaters?
First I do a poll (through all social networks and via email) where everyone, customers and non-customers, answers what will be the next model to be designed. Based on the winning designs, I create a leaderboard and then start designing the model that people voted for.
I do the design with Photoshop, I make each sweater point by point and there are many things to consider because with the sweater the stitch is not like a drawing on the computer that you can zoom in and out. One point difference turns a happy face into a sad face, so every point counts and you also have very few colors, a maximum of four colors.
Once the design is ready I will buy the yarn I buy directly from the importer (it comes from Brazil). I don’t even go there anymore, I send him an email, I tell him: “I want so many kilos of these colors”. First I looked for the twine and put it in the car, it was a tremendous job but it has already grown to a size that doesn’t fit in the car so I tell the importer to send a direct delivery from the shed to the workshop.
As soon as the workshop receives it, I send it a .jpg with the dots, it makes a pattern, we see the pattern, we make the corrections and we make all the necessary patterns until it’s perfect. Once it is Pee Cuckoo, we send it to production. After the workshop send us the production, we have to fold each sweater and put it on the shelves, that’s not so funny to tell.
What is the composition of the This Is Feliz Navidad team?
At first I did everything myself, more for a theme of speed and claw. That’s pretty much how the first two years of the company were, I did everything myself: from the design to the manufacture, the workshops, folding the sweaters, packaging for OCA, creating the posts, creating the announcements, answering the requests. There was also my girlfriend, who was always a great support to me.
Now everything has become to scale Life doesn’t let me do everything on my own anymore and that’s great. Now it’s me, my friend, who recently quit her regular job to move on full time My sister-in-law also helps us with this and we have two other employees who are brilliant. Tamara helps us in the showroom and with inquiries and Ezequiel helps us with shipping.
What marketing strategy are they using to promote the brand?
We tried using ads but it didn’t work for us because we recognized that our brand is very visual and facebook is a great partner for that because it helps you with photos and videos and allows you to segment people. Here you can choose who will see the ad. That’s great because my client is basically like me. In other words, I make the sweaters I like and I say, “What else do I like?”. And I show the ads based on things I like.
On the other hand, we do a lot with customer photos because the brand we want to build is not only made by us. It’s a back and forth, it’s the people using it, the feeling of happiness; We don’t sell sweaters, We sell that feeling of knitted happiness to wear on the streets. That’s the great thing: if we get a photo of someone laughing, we say, “This is what we work for.”
How was the growth of the online shop?
It’s an exponential growth, each year it’s growing much more than the year before. Of course there are seasons, we are a brand that mainly makes sweaters and knitwear, but Each season is much bigger than the previous season. That’s great and keeps us looking to the future.
How do you organize your warehouse and product deliveries?
We used to have a central warehouse, but it no longer reaches into the space of the showroomso let’s start saving at my house now too.
We mainly ship with OCA, we are generally happy with it. We have been working from day one and most of the shipments arrive well, we have had a few cases with difficulties and the most important thing is that the customer receives his product, then we take care of everything, we give him the assurance that he will receive. We ship on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 5 working days a week during the season.
Which payment platform do you use in the online shop?
To receive payments we use MercadoPago, we are very happy because it gives you many options, you can accept all credit cards and cash and from time to time promotions are carried out with credit cards. Many customers pay in installments and you as a seller don’t even know it; In this sense, MercadoPago solves everything for you.
What online tools do they usually use?
Gmail: to respond to inquiries via email.
MailChimp: for newsletters.
8tracks: It’s like Spotify but you don’t have to pay.
Drive: to share all files.
Trello: to organize wholesale orders.
WhatsApp: to communicate with each other.
Finally, what advice could you give to someone who is about to start a business or has just started?
It’s hard not to sound a little clichebut realistically it’s a bit like this: Give it to the front, crash and move on.
Another piece of advice I can give is learn from what you do and learn from mistakes. What separates the ventures that go well from those that go badly is that they all fumble, but those that go well learn from the mistakes. They consider why they went wrong and how to correct the path later.
Bonus track: how This Is Feliz Navidad designed a sweater with a drawing by Liniers
If you like comics and graphic humor, you surely know this Olga, the character of Argentine cartoonist Liniers. Hear how This Is Feliz Navidad came up with a design by the well-known artist (it’s the one you can see on the cover of this article).
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