We tell you the story of Sweet Berries Puebla, the business which showed that love conquers all… even during Covid-19.
They say that love and business don’t mix. Gabriel had set up his consulting firm and decided to include his partner. It was a mistake. The fights with her in the small office were constant. He began to lose clients and the team was affected.
Mixing love and business is not for everyone. But, the story of Daniela Almaguer and Israel Bohorquez is different.
Both graduates of a master’s degree in management and marketing, they successfully work in partnership. Although they studied different majors at Tec de Monterrey’s Puebla Campus, the talents of Daniela and Israel complement each other to create businesses. They fell in love not only as a couple but also as entrepreneurs. Even while they were students, they began their foray into commerce.
“We met at the start of our degrees and we’ve been together for a while. The business part has always been deep in both our hearts. He’s an engineer in digital music production, I have a degree in finance, and at university we used to sell sweets,” Almaguer remembers about the time they began their relationship.
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Despite having different specializations, the couple are united by their enthusiasm for evaluating business opportunities. “We have always wanted to launch a business, but due to different factors and our jobs, we didn’t have that much time. Many times, we were separated by our schedules,” says Almaguer.
The pandemic became the perfect opportunity to start a business. Lockdown has helped them to spend more time together. “We were in lockdown and after a while we said ‘we have to do something. We have to start creating businesses.’ We had some ideas; one of them came to me through Facebook,” says Bohorquez.
Through the social network, the engineer spotted an opportunity. Berry growers in Huejotzingo, Puebla, were having problems selling their produce due to the pandemic. “Demand had dropped a lot. It occurred to me to start mixing this online business with a home delivery service,” he adds.
With the Facebook page ready and orders lined up, the entrepreneurial couple began the first deliveries of Sweet Berries Puebla in July. Within two months of starting their business, they had already come up with ideas to continue operating with diversified products.
“We sold the produce before buying it. We did all the promotion. We went and agreed on a price. We did everything necessary. We did our own advertising and as we were assured that they would buy, we went for the product. That was with our own investment, but it had a return of a day or two at most,” says Almaguer.
With little investment and almost immediate return, these young people want to grow their business. Even during these times of pandemic.
“I think the challenge for Mexican companies is taking care of their operation at this important time. They should focus on the control and care of the products they sell. Also, to participate more and more in e-commerce,” recommends Helga Ochoa, Professor of the Department of Marketing and Analysis at Tec de Monterrey’s Puebla Campus.
In addition to their enthusiasm, these young entrepreneurs believe that to be successful in entrepreneurship as a couple you need to complement your talents.
“The truth is that we complement each other very well, her in the administrative part and I in the creative part. And when it comes to money, as we know that the business is for both of us, it is always 50/50 in everything we do,” says Bohorquez.
By putting into practice what they learned in college, the entrepreneurial couple is preparing for the future. “We would like to look for other products that are not as perishable, which would allow us to store them for a little while,” says Almaguer. Their projects include the possibility of opening a cafeteria.
Starting a business in the midst of the pandemic is not impossible. This couple is an example that love and business don’t have to be conflicting. “Pay close attention to your classes on developing mission, vision, and values. At the beginning of the race, it can be very tedious, but that part of planning is the basis of everything. And use your talents,” recommends the finance specialist.
In business, not everything is rosy. Although Sweet Berries Puebla is in a growth phase, problems are part of starting a business. After a very successful first two weeks, the blackberry season was over.
“As newbies in the area, we didn’t know the fruit sales seasons very well. For example, the first week we were able to offer raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. But by the second week, there were no blackberries,” recalls Almaguer.
The young people had to strengthen the promotions of other fruits such as strawberries and raspberries to continue operating. Also, the personalized attention and delivery of freshly harvested produce has earned them a customer base and added new buyers.
“We were always interested in creating our own brand, purchasing a product and then distributing it,” Bohorquez speaks of this dream that is coming true.