Luis Unceta is managing partner of ISIMAR, an outdoor furniture manufacturer in Navarra that sells its designer furniture in 35 countries. In just ten years, he and his partner, together with his team, have turned a traditional metal workshop specializing in rod into a modern company whose furniture decorates hotels, restaurants and offices around the world. Their goal is to be a global benchmark in the manufacture of design and sustainable products and, for now, they are doing well. And unsurprisingly, with a goal of this scope in mind, the jump to digital was more than essential. Today, we catch them in the middle of digital flight.
Luis, you arrived transforming, you continue to evolve …
That’s right… The company was born 55 years ago in Noáin, a Navarran town. Four brothers created a metal workshop specialized in rod with which they supplied products to various clients (Superser, Decathlon …) and the manufacture of chicken cages was one of their specialties. Ten years ago, the brothers decided to find someone who would like to continue the company and its philosophy, and they found us. We are two partners who, at the time, decided to make a reflection in which we discover the strengths of the company with knowhowin metal and rod work outstanding. However, they always worked for others and it was only sold locally. We saw that there was an opportunity to make our own product, apply design to the process, make it as respectful as possible with the environment and make it grow internationally. In short, believe them and go out. We wondered why we couldn’t make a designer chair for a hotel in Abu Dhabi, if we had everything to do it. We started like this, without complexes, but with humility, and we went to Milan, New York, Paris, Las Vegas, London …
What remains today of the usual ISIMAR?
Much: we remain faithful to the origins. All the furniture we make has the same genetics and we feel them as our children. We have a very strong design and product personality that makes us unique and highly recognizable, precisely because we are loyal to our beginnings and we do not try to do something that we are not. We are proud of who we are and how we have reoriented a local factory in northern Spain to compete with leading French, Italian and American companies in design.
And how is this bet to create your own designer rod furniture going?
Currently, 80% of the company responds to this new product line, we sell in 35 countries, we have showrooms in Madrid, Paris, New York, London and Mexico and we have our people in five countries. We are concentrated in the professional field (hotels, restaurants and offices), but we do not rule out the residential sector and, the truth is that we are beginning to be a benchmark in the market for outdoor furniture, locally manufactured and sustainable.
To what extent is respect for the environment an indispensable factor in ISIMAR?
We sincerely think that we can do something for the planet and that we can contribute something so that our footprint is as small as possible. We could have chosen other options, but we have opted for the more difficult path: creating wealth locally with materials that do not harm. We have proposed to meet the 17 points of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and we are achieving it: we work with steel rod, a 100% recyclable product that complies with the circular economy, we work with local suppliers creating wealth here and we are expanding globally by reaching to clients who share the same type of values. Now, we are focused on improving packaging and, to do this,
And, of course, this whole story must be told beyond our borders … How did you make the leap to digital?
It’s funny because, although in design we are very innovative, in Iran Phone Number List we have been very traditional. Until now, we would take the suitcase and go to fairs: this is what we know how to do and it has worked very well for us. However, before the pandemic, we realized that our client is a young professional between 25 and 35 years old who works in an architecture, design or interior design studio in a metropolis, who designs for large firms and who, in addition, has a great tendency to digitization and interaction. We saw that, with them, the physical or offline part was less and less important. They have even rejected our physical catalogs, an unequivocal sign that we had to adapt to our client.
And the state of alarm and the paralysis of the country arrived … and the planet.
The pandemic has accelerated everything. With it latent, nothing physical could be done and this has caused a race of adaptation in the ways to reach the client.
Among them, the digital ones… What actions have you done with TTANDEM in that sense?
Our great project with TTANDEM has been to create a website adapted to the current situation, for which we have worked together. From the commercials, to the ISIMAR marketing people, we have focused on understanding what type of website we needed. Now, we have a website adapted to our clients, professionals who enter a website to design a hotel and need to find the information now, have everything available, have tools to do their project, such as 3D technical sheets, data on how to clean the furniture or how it is packed. Everything at your fingertips. And, of course, a very visual website, because we move in the world of design. Now, the new website is photography, image, projects: it is an inspiration website.
Is there anything that has surprised you in particular about what it means to have a website that reflects well who you are?
It may seem very obvious, but through digital marketing we can reach places that, otherwise, being an SME, you could not reach: from an investment point of view, it would be impossible. I don’t have anyone in China, India or Texas. How do I get to those sites? Before you did three or four fairs a year making a brutal investment and, right now, with those amounts of money, from the digital point of view, so many things can be done …
Although the new website has just been launched, can we talk about results?
Yes: we have seen results from day one. We have daily leads that we would not have thought about. From having nothing, to having a website that generates leads, is like night and day for a company. If the web can tell you the names and surnames of a potential client who also wants you to contact him, there is a world. When you realize that you have X leads a day, simply by having a website, it is incredible. I have not put a dollar on advertising yet, but I am beginning to know who visits my website. We have a live chat that makes you get closer to the person who is doing a project and who has thought of you and our visits to the web and the time of permanence have increased a lot. For all this, from the first day we saw that we had succeeded with the web and with TTANDEM.
How is TTANDEM helping you in this digital evolution?
Before taking any action, we have to learn and, right now, the whole team is in that process: we are experiencing a very strong mental transformation and in this, TTANDEM is helping us. There is a technical part in the construction of the web in which, of course, they have helped us, but they are doing something much more important than the merely technical: they are giving us the chips or digital seeds that we need to be able to design a clear strategy in the digital world. And in this challenge, you need a partner type TTANDEM to accompany you in the transformation. Keep in mind that what has worked so far is not that it does not work, but that you cannot even do it in this pandemic situation. Now things are done differently and TTANDEM is helping us to adapt.
Does it cost to change the mindset?
The truth is that, since February, we are more immersed in a “master” than in an application of digital measurements. We even changed the vocabulary (laughs). We are in a learning process and with TTANDEM we are learning a lot. They are teaching us to campaign and think together how to best reach those markets we are looking for. When you listen to people who know and see examples of what has been done, it only remains to dedicate time and resources.
What is your assessment of the work done with TTANDEM?
We are very happy. I would define them as very professional, with senior specialists in each area who are DE Phone Number entering or leaving depending on the needs of the project, always relying on the people who know the most at each stage. The process has been very easy, with weekly meetings from which ideas and suggestions came out… And all this is said by me and the rest of my team. Now, you look back and say “wow, what have we changed in just a few months”. And the most important thing is the seeds that are left for you to reflect and realize the options that digital offers you. And you think when at the beginning you said “I want to make a new website”. There we were at 0.000001 of everything. This has only just begun.
We sell in 35 countries, we have showrooms in Madrid, Paris, New York, London and Mexico, and we have people employed Number in five countries.
In the future, now that the seeds are inside, what challenges does ISIMAR have ahead?
All transformations must start from the head. If the head does not believe it, it does not happen, that is why we are in the process of being convinced that this is the present and not the future. So far we have made the web and various digital advertising campaigns.Now we are immersed in a strategic reflection with the digital component included. We want to analyze each area, not independently as islands, but as a whole, and TTANDEM, with their knowledge, can help us a lot. We have to put the batteries now and next month we will be looking at metrics and pressing buttons to see what the best strategies are from a digital point of view. And, later, change processes to adapt. We already have a showcase and, now, it’s time to put a second gear with advertising and metrics to analyze results.