Gato Negro, a sustainable jewellery brand a click away

6 July 2021
ITC News

Rebeca Zamora has always been inspired by environmentally conscious artisan techniques. The hands behind Gato Negro, she the founder of a contemporary textile jewellery business in Costa Rica.

In 2010, after several years working in an advertising agency, Rebeca decided to start her own business. At that time, designer stores were only beginning to pop up in Costa Rica, but Rebeca saw this as an opportunity to pursue her true passion: designing handmade textile jewellery.

Gato Negro has managed to position itself in the country as a valuable business because it is a brand with purpose (all jewels are functional), sustainable (all pieces include material leftovers from other design companies) and a brand that supports Costa Rican artisans.

The digital awakening of an entrepreneur

From the start, Rebeca bought a web domain, although it was not yet a transactional web page. It was in 2019 when, thanks to joining the International Trade Centre’s e-commerce project in Central America, the artist succeeded in transforming her website into a transactional online store. Through the project, she has also created her store on eBay.

“The fact that a team of professionals with such dedication helped me make my own website is the best gift that I could have received. I couldn't have done it alone”, explains Rebeca, enthusiastically. "Having been prepared to sell online in 2020 has made sales possible since the beginning of the pandemic. And it continues to be like that.”

She has also learnt how to master several digital marketing techniques to generate traffic to her website. One of the techniques that has given her the best results has been the collaboration with micro-influencers through her Instagram account.

Rebeca also participates in the E-commerce Leadership Programme within the project, through which she supports another less advanced e-commerce beneficiary to create her own website. “The Programme offers us, the tutors, the possibility of teaching what we have learnt in the project directly to the students and test our knowledge”.

For her, one of the biggest challenges – or as she likes calling it, “learnings” – has been managing logistics in her country. Sending products abroad from Costa Rica is not competitive at an international level. Her “learning” has been to find ways that minimize the same costs to achieve "acceptable" rates for international customers.

Tips for entrepreneurs

Rebeca also participated in ITC's Facebook Live series “E-commerce Tips from Peers”, where she shared tips with new entrepreneurs. Among them, she encouraged entrepreneurs to:

  1. Put the user experience at the centre of your strategy.
  2. Dedicating enough resources to deliver good customer service, both during and after the sale.
  3. Having a digital routine to review metrics, research, and apply improvements.

For Rebeca, “perseverance and discipline are key for every entrepreneur. An online business is not built overnight, it is a learning process in which you have to experiment, accept when you have failed and move on".

Join the next “E-commerce Tips from Peers” event on 6 July, 2021. Register here.

About the e-commerce Project in Central America

Rebeca is a beneficiary of the Project "Linking Central American Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) with the Global Gifts and Home Decoration Market" initiative, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA) and national implementing partners in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.