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Nicolas started Vivalatina Jewelry in 2012. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Vivalatina Jewelry?
I did not start this business project because I had a great idea, but it was for love and necessity.
I graduated in 2004, and after my studies, I went traveling as a backpacker in Latin America and working in Mexico. I went back to live in France in 2008 with my Mexican girlfriend. She was a doctor in Mexico, but she could not work as a general practitioner in France because of restrictive French laws.
Having an efficient marketing plan is the key to business success. A good product will not sell without proper marketing, but an average product that sells can be improved on the go later on, as no product is perfect before customers’ feedback.
So, in 2009, we decided to set up a small business to generate more cash flow, and the easiest way to do so was to create an online jewelry shop as we had contact with silver jewelry wholesalers in Mexico and the web was growing very fast back then in France. Moreover, I had just read the 4-hour workweek from Tim Ferris, it described a new world unknown to me, and I wanted to try to do something similar on the web.
As a reminder, I graduated before eCommerce exploded in France, and back then, there was no great success story like Tim’s story in France. So it was totally new to me.
We did not know about marketing or sales, I am a mechanical engineer and my wife a doctor so we lacked knowledge on how to set up a business and make it work. Moreover, business culture is not widespread in French culture.
But anyway, quickly we bought the first batch of silver jewelry from one of our friends in Taxco, Mexico, and I started to work with osCommerce CMS to set up an online boutique. I chose osCommerce CMS because it was free, but not being a coder I lost so much time to launch the site that in the end, I wasted my time.
A few months after starting the website, I was hacked while my website did not even have products online.
I gave up osCommerce CMS and found Shopify CMS through a Google search, and quickly launched a new website using this CMS.
I was then working full-time in the aerospace industry in Toulouse, so I had little free time and while my wife was selling through private sales and eBay, she was not interested in sales online, so our online jewelry project never took off.
After 4 years in France, in 2012, my wife got fed up not being able to work as a doctor and decided to go back to Mexico to work as a doctor.
I was in love, so I quit my job and went with her, we settled down in Puerto Vallarta and then I decided to start again this jewelry business idea, focusing 100% of my time on it.
Even working hard, it has been a failure for almost 3 years before being able to make a living from this business.
To make it work, I have shifted the business model from reselling cheap silver jewelry to making custom-made jewelry and selling my own designs of gold jewelry with gemstones.
To do so, I had to educate myself about online marketing and SEO and set up my own jewelry workshop.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater