After opting to leave a career in fashion behind her, Madrid-based designer Ainoa Casullas Corres moved to Rio de Janeiro and discovered a passion for artisan crafts. Once settled into her new Carioca home she retrained in jewellery-making. Returning to Madrid she found work with established jeweller Helena Rohner – with whom she still collaborates – before setting up her own company three years ago.
“I was tired of how fast everything moved working for a big fashion company. I was looking for something handmade that I could do for myself.”
From an atelier in Madrid’s Chueca district, Corres Madrid produces artisan jewellery that take inspiration from geometry, ethnography and architecture. “I try to make timeless pieces that can be worn from day to night,” she says. “For me it’s all about how people wear the pieces.” To produce her collections, Casullas Corres creates wax prototypes that are then sent away to the foundry to make in brass. Once these are sent back to the workshop, she finishes, polishes and sets any extra elements before they’re sent to Barcelona to be plated.
The website has been the main method of selling her wares, with a small network of stockists supplementing sales. Growing her small company hasn’t been straightforward though. “People have been discovering Corres Madrid through social media. I try to create my own content on Facebook and Instagram and I post things that inspire me as I believe people want to know what’s happening around the brand.”
As well as converting the interest generated through social media into sales, using Bloombees has had great time-saving benefits for Corres Madrid, allowing its founder to focus her time on designing. “This tool is very helpful as I waste a lot of time copying links for the product onto various social media sites and Bloombees simplifies this process,” says Casullas Corres, who had previously spent up to two hours a day replying to emails and processing orders and payments. “For the little brands with just one or two people who have to manage everything, time is precious.”
Another advantage comes in the management of payments. “Normally people pay via Paypal, Visa or Mastercard but there are countries where using some of these is more complicated,” says Casullas Corres. As Bloombees acts as an umbrella payment service for a host of different payment methods, the potential to sell in some of the world’s more far-flung countries has broadened commercial horizons for the burgeoning brand.
“To be honest I thought it would be easy to sell online but it’s really difficult. People don’t buy online if they don’t know anything about the brand. “
The most recent collection boasts about 40 mirror-finished pieces in gold-plated brass, with Casullas Corres aiming to introduce new capsule collections and – in the future – a men’s line. This year she’ll be travelling to Premier Class and Paris to seek further stockists and raise Corres Madrid’s profile overseas. “If I want to participate in the trade shows you have to get the rhythm of six months,” she says. “But it’s difficult to imagine having the time for that – it’s like a far-off utopia.”
Yet with more of the nitty-gritty side of running a business streamlined by Bloombees, Casullas Corres is buoyed by the prospect of having more time to create. For the young entrepreneur the dream of being able to channel her energy into the bigger picture suddenly seems within grasp.
*This blog post was written by our guest writer Liam Aldous, journalist and Spain correspondent for the publication Monocle.