So what do you dream of doing with your life? For Roberto de Vega in Spain's Salamanca, the answer was always simple: to join the furniture shop founded by his grandfather, Tomás, who put his heart and soul into the business. From lending a hand as a child, Roberto dreamed of continuing the family tradition that dated back to the 1950s. Together with his sisters Raquel and Noelia, Roberto represents the third generation at the heart of this family firm.
“The success amongst Amazon’s customers has given a new shot of enthusiasm to our family. After many years of recession and adjustments, we now have new objectives to fight for.”
“I remember when we would arrive at the homes of clients. After unloading the lighter packages, they would take me to their stables, show me their farms and maybe give me some of their food to eat. At the end of the day, we would leave with our bag full of strawberries, apples and chestnuts… sometimes even some chorizo!” Roberto recalls.
After eight years leading the family business, Roberto looked for new ways to grow. His biggest bet was to open a store in a large shopping centre in Salamanca, but then the economic crisis hit. “The recession appeared to be endless, and our business calculations turned out to be ideal, only when times were good. In 2009, with a very significant investment still to be paid off, we had to change our course,” he explains. As well as moving their physical store to another location, they decided to give e-commerce a try.
Roberto’s new adventure started with Amazon in 2015. “Visibility is the battle horse for any business that sells to the public. Being on a platform that is visited by millions of people was key for us. Working with Amazon has led to an important quantitative and qualitative leap: in 2015 we grew by about 20%, largely thanks to our online sales.”
Part of everyday life
After more than 60 years many elements of this family story have changed: the small company shop, which was founded by Roberto’s grandfather, is now a two-storey shop called Kiona that also sells online. Their products, which before would never have left the province of Salamanca, are now dispatched all over Spain and to other countries. But the foundation remains the same: “We love what we do: selling furniture and decorations is a way of being part of people’s everyday lives.”
Now that a fourth generation has started to get involved in the business, it is time to think about the future without forgetting about the past. “The success amongst Amazon’s customers has given a new shot of enthusiasm to our family. After many years of recession and adjustments, we now have new objectives to fight for.”
“Amazon had to become part of our expansion strategy. It covers about 60-70% of our volume. Here we have a path to follow along together, which can be very productive.”