With a seasonal product and low ticket as are the costumes you can reach 90 countries in the world and invoice 30 million euros. Of course Funidelia is not considered a simple trade. It is, like other brands that make more noise and fill more headlines, a data company. “That’s what we like to think about us. In the end what we do is see what is being sold, the top sale of a particular country, and depending on that in each market we balance the merchandise we serve, “explains his CMO, Javier Ferraz Rives.
And so, analyzing data to make decisions, have been doubling the sales since its founding: 2015, 5 million euros. 2016, 10 million. 2017, 18. And by the time they close the financial year of 2018, in April of this year, they already point to 30 million. An escalation that has been placed on the Financial Times list of the companies that grow the most in the world.
Everything starts detecting a niche market in a sector of a lifetime. The two founders, Carlos Larraz, general director, and Antonio Escartí, head of business development, “see their friends and family who want to buy costumes and find it difficult to find online in Spain. There is a lot of traditional commerce, but in the online medium there is the problem of deadlines. If you buy them in America, they arrive late, and they do not see strong online costume shops in Europe either. They launch and create a trade of costumes, party material, accessories and Christmas motifs and decoration, “explains Javier Ferraz.
The international jump. The niche soon remains small and they look for markets outside. They do this by creating different domains for each new country.
“France, Germany, Austria, England, Ireland, Poland, Italy… Right now we have 32 online stores with different domains and in 14 languages. This diversification in markets is what enables the rapid growth of the company. And the issue of domains is key because in the end you have to be able to provide service, both in logistics and customer service, to people of many nationalities and from many places, carriers, warehouse, to make deliveries well. If a costume is not delivered on the date the client needs it, it’s no good at all.”
“In addition, there is a matter of trust. Local transporters, local currency and local means of payment must be put in order to obtain the trust of the customers. We’ve learned that if you do not incorporate them into the web, customers take longer to trust you. So they see the page as more familiar and trust. The effort is important because it requires you to have twenty different means of payment, work with many carriers, warehouses in different parts of Europe: Guadalajara, Madrid, Germany, France, Sweden… We are bringing the products to the most important markets at European level to strengthen their confidence by giving them a means of transport and very competitive deadlines. “
Manage with a seasonal product.
“Seasonality in this market is very large. In the end we live three great moments: Halloween, Christmas and Carnival. Our strong campaign is the six months that go from October to March. In this period the company multiplies and in the valley months it goes down a lot. You had to outsource everything to have a flexible structure. And then we have opened new product lines that allow us to work also in the summer and increase the turnover these months, which are merchandising, decoration and birthdays. Merchandising understood as cups, caps, scarves, shirts, etc. that we work with licenses of Star Wars, Harry Potter, superheroes…”.
Analyze local trends and fashions:
“Our job also consists in knowing those different markets and those particularities. When it comes to product, you have to be very aware of news, trends, releases … And there are curious cases such as what happened to La casa de papel, a Spanish series that can be seen around the world and that has turned a disguise inspired by it into a best seller among the adult public. There is a lot of work to be attentive to the movie premieres, YouTube channels and Disney Chanel channels. Be very attentive to trends. And for that we use tools like Google or the searches that are done in our own web pages. We are constantly monitoring what people are looking for there to detect what is new and contact manufacturers and suppliers to dispose of those costumes and sell them on those dates.”
A domain to test markets. Funidelia has created particular domains to approach the consumer of each market, but also uses a general one, Funidelia.com, to test new opportunities. “The .com domain helps us to prospect worldwide. From that page we launch advertising to very different sites and, if our trusted international carrier is able to serve in those countries, we will launch the order without any problems. When we detect that a country already has a certain volume, we create the specific page and we adapt language, currency, etc. well. We have done this with Australia, Singapore and New Zealand, which are the last three markets we have opened. “
“We have an eye on Japan, which has a very different costume culture, very tied to the manga, more professional, but it causes us curiosity and maybe in a while … We have our eyes on Asia and in South America. In the end, outside is where we have more billing. 80% of sales are international and we are clear that the key to growth is this.”
From distributor to manufacturer. The eye placed on international markets to continue growing and the constant look at the profitability of the business. “Now we are trying to reach exclusive agreements with distribution licenses. With the Smurfs, Dragon Ball, etc. Licenses that allow us to take a step up the value chain of the business and be the makers of Dragon Ball in Europe and in the world. We were born and have been distributors for many years, but now we want to manufacture and control production, because in the end there are times when we detect products that are very interesting, but of which there is not enough production in the market. Placing ourselves in the manufacturing part will allow us to take better advantage of opportunities and adjust production to demand. In the end, if we are able to quantify what demand there will be of dragon ball, for example, we can manufacture accordingly. We assume more risk, but we can also take better advantage of the waves of demand. “
A business that works with a startup spirit. “We thought we were selling costumes, but at the end of what we are talking about is logistics, data, operations … The disguise or the product is an excuse. What we do are operations, customer loyalty, improve marketing costs and in some way you think you could sell anything, but it’s not like that. In other markets there will be thousands of nuances. There will be problems with perishable products and other challenges. In retail you listen to conversations about whether we could actually be selling costumes, brooms or whatever. In the end they are operations, and depending on the product you have, you will have one thing or another. But it is true that this experience can be applied calmly to other similar products. That experience is going to try to put in the merchandising, which in the end is a non-perishable product, easy to move, that can be stored well, has no problems of much obsolescence, the ticket is similar … “.
A business that attracted investment funds almost since its inception in 2011.
“Fun is a global concept,” explains the CMO. “In 2013 came Cabiedes and other funds, which helped us in the early stages with a very important and very valuable push for internationalization and commercial capacity, at the same time as they give you support and experience. They have shares in other online companies and somehow already have answers to many things that you are looking for.”