Located in the city of Pachuca in the state of Hidalgo, Karzi seeks to promote the use of handmade accessories and garments inspired by Mexico’s art and culture.
Carmelina Ramirez founded Karzi to emphasize the value of talented artisans in Mexico in crafting unique, culturally-important clothing and accessories.
She credits social media with enabling customers in Mexico and around the world to discover her small company. “Without a doubt, Facebook has been the platform that has made us known, and thanks to this platform we were able to grow our small business,” she noted.
Carmelina emphasized that social media platforms helped Karzi tell the story of the particular value of her products and the artisans who make them. “In our social platforms, we place great emphasis on transmitting our philosophy of fair trade, respect for the craftsmanship of each of our employees and cordial treatment for our customers and craftsmen,” she said.
She has started the process of engaging in global markets, making social commerce sales mainly to Mexicans living in the United States and Europe using Facebook and payment solutions like PayPal or Western Union. Customers can go online, see photos of garments and jewelry on Karzi’s Facebook page, communicate with Karzi over Messenger, customize pieces to ship abroad and pay with online payment tools.
Carmelina sees the potential of global markets to boost Karzi’s business further. At the moment, however, Mexico’s market is largely responsible for supporting the growth of the business.
Like other digital-first brands around the world, Karzi faced a challenge getting their products physically in front of customers.
“Our products are characterized by being 100% handmade and this makes our customers want to see the products in person, feel the textures, try the fabrics, see the colors,” Carmelina observed. She decided to open a physical store to improve the customer experience with her brand.
Carmelina noted that social marketing tools have played an important role in reaching new customers and driving them to Karzi’s physical showroom.
In addition to their showroom, Karzi operates a clothing workshop and maintains a network of women artisans throughout Hidalgo, employing 17 people across the state.
Her team relies on Whatsapp to communicate and a suite of other global technologies, including PayPal, mobile bank card apps, email, and Google Maps, to run her business and serve local and international customers.
Carmelina counseled that small businesses should use free platforms that allow you to reach potential customers and to take a good look at international markets. “Analyze carefully the international markets you want to reach in order to offer products that meet the quality that is required in different countries and above all that they fulfill the taste of customers from other parts of the world,” she advised.
Challenges around tariffs and customs clearance remain key concerns as Karzi looks to expand its own international footprint. She cautioned that postal services can lose or mistreat packages, and that tariffs can be high for customers, who are not willing to pay them. Lowering tariffs would allow Karzi to reduce the production and sales costs of their products, she said.
More broadly, Carmelina notes that she faced challenges starting a business in Mexico as a young woman. One of the biggest challenges she faced was reaching communities far from Pachuca, where there were safety concerns or where it was difficult to access very marginalized villages.
She also noted access to bank and government financing can be difficult to secure as a woman. “There are government financing programs that allow resources to be used for equipment or growth of companies; however, the process is tedious if you do not have the necessary knowledge, which makes it difficult for anyone, especially indigenous people, to access them,” she observed.
Carmelina urged governments to generate creative strategies to enable more entrepreneurs to discover their support programs and to promote economic incentives and export promotion programs to help small businesses reach international markets.