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Década Studio and Alba Castellet: Female entrepreneurship at its best

Década Studio is an agency specialized in digital marketing and marketplaces, founded by Alba Castellet and Alexis Castañeda. They are especially focused on marketplaces and focused on online sales services such as Amazon and Aliexpress; and Mercado Libre and ManoMano, in the Latin American area, among others.

Increasingly consolidated in the area of Marketplaces, they are one of the nine Amazon partners in Spain. In Década Studio they focus on helping businesses to improve their online sales in these new distribution channels: marketplaces, which are the ones that are at the top of mind of consumers.

In this interview, CEO Alba Castellet tells us about the adventure of being an entrepreneur and mother.

La CEO de Decada Studio en CREC Coworking Barcelona

 

“Seven out of ten products are purchased on Marketplaces, so we see a great window of opportunity in this channel and we want to help companies to channel and monetize their products in these new online sales channels”

 

Alba: We not only work with the ‘levers’ of growth in the Marketplaces, but just last week the news came out, that we have woven an alliance with a digital marketing agency, Marketers Group, which has entered as an investment partner in Década Studio, which will help us not only to continue working the levers of growth within the marketplaces, but also the levers of growth that gives us the digital environment to attract external traffic, strategic positioning traffic through SEO, advanced analytics. All these levers offered by the digital world will help us to grow our business within the marketplaces.

Seven out of ten products are bought in marketplaces, so we see a great window of opportunity in this channel and we want to help companies to channel and monetize their products in these new online sales channels. But always with a vision focused on marketplaces in general, and Amazon in particular. All this part of digital marketing is now reinforced by this agency that has more than 8 years and are experts in external traffic and advanced analytics, and that will help us to move all these levers to the marketplaces.

 

How do you become an Amazon partner?

 

Alexis: It is a long and complex process. We were always fighting and winning all the battles, since there were several tests, and in the end we completed the process and were crowned with the certification.

Alba: They are very tedious processes, and in the end it is like an exam. You have to prove that you have managed Amazon accounts, your experience in Amazon with real accounts that we have managed from the agency, and then they even gave us an aptitude and knowledge test.
It was a year in which we had a lot of patience, and we demonstrated that if you’re asking for it, it’s because you really know how to manage it.

 

What is the basis of the personalized accompaniment you provide?

 

Alba: It’s Alexis’ day-to-day work.

Alexis: We are three Account Managers and we will probably increase our staff to four, as fortunately we are growing more and more. We provide a personalized service based on creating an action plan at the beginning of the month. We discuss it with the client and have a meeting with him to present the plan based on the characteristics of his account. We approve it with him, and from there we work with the objective that at the end of the month everything that has been proposed is finished, and we generate a new plan for the following month.

We control it by means of online tools in which we make a list of tasks and from there we ‘check, check, check’ everything that is being accomplished.

 

Alba: In fact, this is one of our added values, because we are an agency that offers a strategic consulting service with this personalized accompaniment, but we also do the operational management, that is, we take the burden of the daily management of the account off the company’s shoulders.

So, how do we have it organized? The Account Manager is the pillar, he is the reference point of the company, in this case Alex is one of the main ones of the agency; and then he and the others are supported by different specialized departments such as design, SEO positioning, advertising, catalog issues, copies,… The Account Manager delegates the operational part to each of these departments and is the one who coordinates and thinks about the strategy of each of the accounts. The client has only one point of contact, which is the Account Manager, and it is he who performs this personalized support.

All this with a proven methodology, which is what Alex was talking about, in which we design an action plan month by month; we meet once a month where we reach a consensus with the client, because we have a vision of Amazon but the client has a business vision. That is why it is a very collaborative work, very much a team effort in which at the end we are almost part of our client’s team and we go hand in hand to achieve the objectives.

Alba Castellet, CEO de Década Studio, trabajando en CREC Coworking Barcelona

“We are looking for an omnichannel experience. That if the person sees the product in a physical store and sees it on Amazon, they have the same feeling. That the brand identity is not lost.”

 

Something that stands out a lot about Década Studio is creative sensibility, why is that so important to you guys?

 

Alexis: Creative sensitivity is something essential to develop the kind of work we do because you need this feeling, this sensation; both at the level of copies, graphics, visuals, at the level of thinking about what we do with certain issues… Many times we encounter problems, which we can only solve through creativity. Amazon is a complex environment and we can find ourselves in situations that we have to overcome in any way, mainly the creative part that solves problems and helps in the creation of content, which is what attracts our customers.

Alba: We are looking for an omnichannel experience. That if the person sees the product in a physical store and sees it on Amazon, they have the same feeling. That the brand identity is not lost. That’s why we have to keep the creative part very much in mind. Not only the creativity to solve Amazon’s problems, as Alexis said, but also the creativity to maintain the essence of the brand and achieve this omnichannel experience in all the channels where the brand has a presence.

I would add as an anecdote that all our Account Managers have a creative side because they come from the world of design, so they already have this insight, this creative sensitivity that someone else does not have.

 

It is a very vital part, everything is very visual nowadays and it is necessary to be attractive in the eyes of the client and the consumer.

 

Alexis: For me this is essential. The fact that we are designers is a plus, because it helps the tasks we delegate to the departments. We already offer a closer view of the final result. When they give us the images, we can say with conviction whether it is right or wrong, and decide whether to send it to the client or not….

You make more sure that what goes to the client has a certain value.

Alba: Yes, the design part is also one of the added values of Década Studio. Because not only do we have a professional designer doing it, but also part of the team that supervises it has knowledge in that area.

 

As for CREC, have the connections you have had so far been fruitful?

 

Alba: Yes, some of the connections have been successful like Ruth Fochs and Pedro Sitjar from Super Glorioso, in fact we are still working with him. He was one of the first connections that CREC Connect gave us.

 

And now, what do you expect from CREC?

 

Alba: I expect more meeting rooms! (laughs).
In terms of connections, we are interested in profiles that we can help to bring their product to Amazon. We are not so much looking for connections with agencies to complement our services, but more connections with the end customer who is the one selling the product.

La CEO de Decada Studio en una entrevista para CREC Coworking

“I became a freelancer to be able to control my own time, to be able to reconcile better and, after being a freelancer, now I think I can already say I’m an entrepreneur”

 

And now, on the occasion of November 19, which is the Day of the Enterprising Woman, we would like to know what your experience has been like, Alba.

 

Alba: As a woman I have never seen any barriers, but I have seen barriers due to the fact of being a mother. In the professional field I have never experienced anything negative for being a woman; I have experienced it for being a mother, for wanting to reconcile and that in the end the business culture leaves me behind. Because if I need an hour to pick up my daughter, or she is sick and I have to leave earlier, in the job I was in at the time I did feel that being a mother or being pregnant left me behind.

That was one of the main reasons I set up my business. I became self-employed to be able to control my own time, to be able to reconcile better and, after being self-employed, now I think I can say that I am an entrepreneur. And being a businesswoman I think I am reconciling less because it is very demanding, but at least I do what I like and I control my time.

 

You are also a professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, you collaborate with the Women Forward Foundation and give talks, did you continue with COVID?

 

Alba: In fact, I gave more talks for COVID, when webinars were booming. I collaborate occasionally with business schools; but mainly the training part is with the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona. I combine the part of directing Década Studio with teaching at the UAB in the Master of Marketing, the subject of Digital Marketing and the subject Fundamentals of Marketing in the degree of ADE. And all this with two girls. With a lot of enthusiasm. When you do what you like and are passionate about, you don’t mind. I think I work 6 days a week, especially if I have to go to college.

 

Do you go to UAB every week?

 

Alba: It depends, if I have undergraduate classes I have to go twice a week. When I have Master’s classes, it’s a few weeks in particular.
It’s not so much the hours of teaching the class, but the hours of preparation and correction.

 

Do you think it is easier to be a woman entrepreneur now?

 

Alba: Yes, I’m sure it is. What I think is that there is more and more awareness. For me, the problems of reconciling work and family life appear when you have children. Everything becomes much more complicated when you have children and you both work. Because you both have professional responsibilities, but there are also two children who depend on you and are your responsibility, and many unforeseen events arise.

To reconcile these unforeseen events with your professional life, and to depend on a boss or a conservative business culture in that sense, that’s the hard part. But the good thing about being an entrepreneur is that I choose my schedule, but the bad thing is that it is demanding. In the end you have to get your own project off the ground.

For me, the hard part comes when you have to reconcile, honestly.

 

About the book ‘When Nepal shook’, what can you tell us about that experience?

 

Alba: I had a volunteering experience in Nepal, I was there for two months. And it just coincided with the 2015 earthquake. It was quite a notorious catastrophe, as there were more than 10,000 dead, the country was destroyed….
There were many actions to help the country, because it is a culturally very rich country. If you have the opportunity to go or live there you will feel that the people are very rich culturally in the sense that they give you everything without having anything. So there was a reaction globally from many associations, who hold Nepal in high esteem, to do this kind of action.

I experienced the earthquake first hand. It was so serious that the Spanish government had to send a plane to repatriate all the Spaniards who were there. We were nearly three days without sleep because the earth kept shaking; and the worst thing was not the earthquake itself, but the aftershocks and tremors.

In that experience I met Spaniards in my same situation and as they also had their experience in Nepal and their connection with the country, we decided to collect these stories, 36 in total, and write a book. All the proceeds from the book were donated to associations for the reconstruction of Nepal after the earthquake.

It was a very nice experience, it helped us to find the calm that those of us who could not say goodbye to the people who had welcomed us during our stay needed. It helped us to find ourselves again.

 

I really liked the phrase ‘Turning our weaknesses into strengths’, does it apply to what you do at Década Studio?

 

Alba: We do it every day, we are like a family. Sometimes, someone new comes to the team and we see that something is not quite right for them and we say: ‘we have to channel their talent‘. We are a team in which results are not so important as involvement with the company. We channel each person’s talent and adapt it.

Alexis: This phrase sums up how we work and how we turn the things we don’t manage into strengths. It makes us prepare ourselves more, we channel our efforts better so as not to cause frustration… We seek the loyalty of the team with us, because we are the company.
With the group we have now, which is very solid, I think we have achieved all this.

Elena Mullor

elenamullor@crec.cc

Journalist in process to be specialized in digital content. Kind, creative and responsive.

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