In our Testimonials section, today we present Gabriela Sánchez, an entrepreneur who is all about her project. She is the owner of Pappel’O –a business that sells scrapbook materials, fine paper products, and interesting gifts.
Meet Gabriela Sánchez
Gabriela considers herself to be a practical, objective person, with a broad background in sales, which has given her abilities to deal with personnel and customers, as well as knowledge on marketing, advertising and other areas. She has acquired this through practice and experience because her studies are in business administration.
“While I was a student, I lived abroad for a year. This experience helped me become independent and able to live on my own. After graduating, I worked in a brokerage house, where I learned the management of numbers.”
She confesses she thought she would always work for a company, in a position related to her professional studies.
How was your dream of starting a business born?
Gabriela wanted to shine on her own and not have to depend on anyone. She knew she was able and had the preparation to achieve it. This is what motivated her to start her own business.
Years ago, my niece introduced me to the scrapbook concept, which are photo albums personalized with scraps and mementos. As I listened to her, the idea of selling supplies to make scrapbooks was automatically formed in my mind. Not long after, Pappel’O -my business- was born.
How would you describe your business?
“It is a very “healthy” one as far as its customers since the purpose of our products is reminiscing, decorating spaces we create and parties to celebrate events throughout life.”
What is your business all about? Did you ever think it would be your livelihood?
You never know what life will bring. I had this idea and decided to turn it into a reality. But never before had I considered that one day I would sell paper and scrapbook articles as a means of providing a living for me.
Our main market consists of women, 70% of which are between the ages of 15 and 30.
We have all had setbacks and gone through failure at some point. What are your experiences in this area? What have you learned from them?
Gabriela shares the importance of the business’ location –at times it is favorable, at others it is counterproductive. She is aware that competence is always a stimulus for any business. The scrapbook business is very competitive.
Failures are nothing but challenges that have to be overcome. Everything changes –the market, customers’ needs and taste, inflation rates, etc. Every problem has a solution; there is always a path to follow towards improvement and a positive side to everything.
“We can always learn from others –their style, their needs, fashion– and from being in contact with customers. This knowledge serves as a guide as far as what to do in face of a stumbling block that may come our way and allows us to go ahead with our business.”
Why have you been successful in your business?
Gabriela is aware that, whatever business you may have, being there day in and day out, not neglecting it but giving it all your attention, is what gives you the know-how of what the market needs and wants. You become aware of what it is that you are doing right or wrong in your business.
My greatest satisfaction is that our business is part of many of our customers’ joys and successes. When they have a celebration, they come to us and transmit their happiness, and we must give them the best service.
“Something very positive and rewarding is when customers promote us and recommend us to their friends. To help with this, we make full use of social media to reach our customers.”
What are your upcoming goals for Pappel’O?
Having very good sales during the high season, and continue to sell more than in other years. We don’t want to stop, which will bring challenges such as looking for and offering trendy and new products and, of course, giving the best service possible.
Gabriela, like every entrepreneur, would like many things for her business, such as a larger place in a top location.
In addition to her primary scrapbook products, something else she loves and wants to continue doing is fostering creativity among her customers by providing them with materials they then transform into all kinds of handicrafts for the celebrations of friends and family.
From your experience, what would you tell those who want to start a business?
Starting a business is easy. What is not easy is being constant, striving just like on the day you opened, and always staying positive, even in face of a setback, whatever it may be. A positive life attitude is very important in business.
What word of advice could you give them?
Gabriela´s advice is timely and wise.
You need to find market niches, invent something… there are always new things to do and offer. The key is having good products, great service and high quality at good prices.
It is also important to be a fair boss and teach and coach your staff; be kind towards the people that help you get the job done.
“Always give your all to those around you. That is, put 100% into everything you do, and do that for which you are passionate. This is what is most important.”
In what ways do you consider that GoCoOpe’s platform –services, technology and networking– could help entrepreneurs or business people like yourself?
GoCoOpe’s platform opens a broad range of knowledge that equips people in areas they are not. No one knows everything about every subject, nor are we all gifted the same way. Some people are good at implementing, others at executing, and still others at innovating.
I recommend GoCoOpe because it is a source of invaluable business experience through diverse means. Their meetups offer that which is not found in books –the possibility of learning first hand from entrepreneurs of all levels and business areas, and be in direct contact with them.