Today we’d like to introduce you to Karina Benavides.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Karina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I owned a small store front named Joyería Zafiro back in Esteli, Nicaragua. We are a family-owned business with more than 20 years’ experience. Despite the success I was having in my country, I felt something was missing and wanted to travel the world. Therefore, I decided to move back to Miami in 2014, but with no family and very short on money the road to success was not easy. Shortly, after arriving I began looking for a job I would enjoy and my focus was the airline industry. I found the perfect job as gate agent but it was part-time, which was not enough to pay bills. Suddenly, the idea of opening an online store came to mind because traveling and jewelry are my two passions. I started offering to my local friends our silver jewelry pieces handmade in Nicaragua and other handpicked by me from different artisans from around the world. I ran the business with minimal social media exposure and out of a suitcase since I shared my apartment with other roommates.
Then in 2015, I met my husband and he was very supportive of my dream and all of my ideas. He always motivated me to continue doing what I loved. In 2016 we decided to start a life together and we moved to Dallas to find better opportunities for both of us. My business suffered since I did not know anyone and I was not very knowledgeable with social media so I put the jewelry business on the side for two years and focused on my full-time job with the airline and my spiritual life.
One day in 2018, I showed my jewelry to a new friend and she fell in love with everything I had and she told me “you are wasting time you need to start promoting it”. She supported it and we hosted at her house our first private jewelry show which was a success. This was the rebirth of Zafiro. I decided to start again but this time, I registered my business because I felt 100 % committed on making it work this time around. I started learning how social media could help my business. My husband’s hobby is photography so we built a team together. Since, then we have had much acceptance from friends, neighbors, and local new buyers. I have started showcasing at local events and improving my social media skills. In 2020 we are working on multiple projects like a website and designing my own collection.
The online store will bring simple, fine, elegant, chic, sophisticated but fun jewelry inspired from my personal travel journeys. It also showcases beautiful handmade custom pieces from my brother, a local Nicaraguan Artisan and other artisans we encountered on our travel journey.
Zafiro represents a brand of jewelry that can be worn everyday but yet ready for a night out. Our Precious metals vary from Silver 925, 10/14KT Gold, Stainless Steel and 24KT plated fashion jewelry with a varied type of styles. We invite you to an unforgettable journey. Most pieces are unique to itself, adventurous and will leave a long-lasting impression to friends and family. Come visit us and travel the world.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been easy at all, specially because I am not a fan of social media and public speaking. I quickly realize how important they are in order to grow your business.
Coming to a new city and trying to offer your jewelry with no reviews to back you up is quite challenging plus not knowing what events to attend or where to start, so you have to do a lot of research.
Also, each market is very different so finding those pieces to appeal to local customers was another challenge. I notice many were selling handmade jewelry but I had a mix of jewelry styles, so I started doubting if I could exhibit locally. I soon realized I was only looking at one type of event but instead, I had to explore because deep inside myself I knew other doors would open. So I started to contact via IG other event organizers and was invited to their events.
I never gave up and stayed very positive but it took a lot of self-confidence, believing in myself & determination to get out of my comfort zone in order to grow my business otherwise, it would have been impossible.
Please tell us about Zafiro Jewellers by JK.
Zafiro represents a brand of jewelry that can be worn everyday but yet ready for a night out. Our Precious metals vary from Sterling Silver 925, 10/14/18KT Gold, Stainless Steel and 24KT plated fashion jewelry with leather, cord, semi-precious stones, pearls and 2 of my favorite stone sapphires (zafiro in Spanish) and Turquoise.
We are all very different and unique so we strive to find an assortment of jewelry styles from different parts of the world made by artisans.
With the assistance of my brother who is my goldsmith, I also take custom orders to create a special piece to be worn generation over generation. I am proud to expand my families knowledge to a new city and explore a complete new market.
Our personalized service is key to our continued success, plus a friendly and easy going personality has really played a key factor. We want to make sure our customers are satisfied so we always follow up with them after their purchase. We create a family atmosphere in order for them to feel comfortable to reach out to us at any time.
Our company statement is as follow:
Quality Jewelry in Silver 925 & 10/14/18KT Gold, unique pieces created by artisans from around the world at a fraction of the price. We create jewelry pieces to wear a story, reflect your personality and appropriate to every occasion. I invite you to travel the world thru our pieces.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have opened a website and educated myself with social media much sooner. Other than that, I feel every mistake we make is a learning experience that helps us grow.
- Silver 925 prices can start from $10 and up
- 10/14 KT prices from $25 for a small stud earring
- Fashion & Stainless steel under$35
Photographer – Jose Rosado (my husband)