António Archer took the Master in Digital Marketing and Electronic Commerce at the Barcelona Campus and works as a Digital Marketing Manager at SABA.
You took the Master in Digital Marketing and Electronic Commerce at the Barcelona Campus. Tell me about your time at EAE and your classmates.
When I arrived at EAE on the first day, I didn’t know anybody, but as soon as I made my first contacts, I realised that I was surrounded by some very special people. I made friends from all over the world, from different cultures, and not only on my Master, but from lots of other programs. Some have become friends for life.
What impact has the support of the School’s teaching time had? How did they motivate the students? Is there any lecturer who stands out for you?
One of the most important things was the teaching team, without a doubt. In the first class, we had Kim Bosch, an absolute whizz in the digital environment, but also an amazing person. Those first classes really sparked our thirst to learn and enter the digital world, a reality that is increasingly present in our lives. I also remember Alex Casero, Manel Vericat and Blas Pezzotti, all of whom really helped me in the beginning.
You were working in a family company and decided to change the path you were taking an come to Barcelona to study. What were you looking for exactly?
In Portugal, I felt that there wasn’t any scope for progress in my career and I needed to make a change in my life. After working for three years in the same company, I thought that studying abroad would be the next step, as I had never had the opportunity to do Erasmus.
During your studies at EAE you began developing teh idea of setting up your own entrepreneurship venture. What did it involve?
Throughout my year studying at EAE, we worked on the different areas of the digital world in our Master’s Theses. This triggered my interested in starting something from scratch. Then, I chose the Minor in International Entrepreneurship and the classes with Blas Pezzotti gave me the final push I needed to take the leap into the world of the entrepreneur. During the Minor program, I worked as an intern at Aloha Sandals, an exclusive online sandal store for women. That is when I started to think about commercializing a product that I had experience with, something different and unique aimed at a specific market. Alejandro Porras, the CEO and Founder of the footwear company, always said something that has stuck with me: “fight for what you believe in because nobody else will do it for you".
Tell us about the launch of The Boxer Shorts. What are the strengths of this e-commerce venture?
In August 2018, I had a conversation with Blas Pezzotti. I had the strategy, the product and the vision well defined but, just like any other 25-year old intern, I didn’t have enough money to invest. As I was really passionate about the project, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity, so I set up a crowdfunding campaign to launch my business. I didn’t have a definer objective to sell, but I did have a clear purpose: finding out whether I had a good product.
What were the first steps?
Initially, I focused on the Portuguese market and, to my surprise, the product wasn’t selling, but I was getting some good leads. This was because people were interested in the product, but they weren’t used to buying in a pre-sales format. Therefore, I changed my pre-sales strategy to focus on getting leads. At the end of the campaign, I had almost 4,000 leads.
What encouraged you to put it into practice?
With my father’s help, I managed to produce the first batch and, in November 2018, the Boxer Shorts brand finally went online: https://www.theboxershorts.com/. After lots of late nights working, lots of ideas that went by the wayside, finally, with the help of lots of friends, lecturers and colleagues, I was able to launch the website. Boxer Shorts is a direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform. In other words, the product is manufactured and goes straight to the end customer, without any intermediaries. With this model, the price stays low and we can bear the delivery costs.
How do you combine aspects such as the design in Barcelona, manufacturing in Portugal, top-quality materials, online purchases and customer service?
Before working in Throttleman, I had studied design in Oporto. This gave me a god foundation and now it is a real bonus in my digital marketing career. Therefore, I design all the patterns and collections of boxer shorts in Barcelona. In Portugal, the boxers are produced at Cridevi, which has 20 years’ experience in the market. Three months after the launch, there are 5 of us working in the logistics, customer service, social media and finance departments.
You did an internship at SABA, where you have stayed and now work full-time since the end of last year. How did you get on to the internship program?
I started my internship at SABA and found out about the vacancy thanks to Kim Bosch, my first lecturer at EAE. During that period, I worked in the morning at SABA, in the afternoon at Aloha Sandals and, at night, I carried on with my work on the Boxer Shorts project.
What tasks were you responsible for on your internship at SABA? What did you learn?
At SABA, I obviously worked on some really interesting areas. It is a company that is transforming digitally and is improving its digital positioning day after day. It is a constant learning process with incredible people and colleagues who always gave me the help and support I needed.
You are now an employee at SABA. Do you have more responsibilities? What prospects are there for personal and professional growth for you at SABA?
After the internship, the pace obviously increased too much. There are more responsibilities and more work, but what still motivates me is the fact that I learn something new every day. It is an enormous company that is undergoing a great transformation, which gives rise to springboards and challenges. However, with the great team we have, we always manage to overcome the obstacles.
What impact will SABA have on your professional career?
Without a doubt, working at SABA, is having a big impact on my professional career. In my opinion, the workload and responsibility that I now have at SABA makes me stronger every day professionally, enabling me to achieve success in my projects.
You combine your professional activity in the Marketing Department with your entrepreneurial venture. How do you have the time and energy for all of it?
When I did the internship, I worked part-time, until 14:00. With that workload, I had enough time to work in the afternoon. Since starting full-time, I had to give up some of my hobbies, like padel tennis, so that I could work in the evening. Nowadays, the Boxer Shorts project has the support of a digital marketing agency in Portugal, so the workload is less. Good organization is one of the most important factors in getting it all done, and I have my priorities very clear
As an entrepreneur, what are your expectations for The Boxer Shorts? What are your plans for the short, medium and long term?
The Boxer Shorts project has barely started and there is a bright future and a lot of work ahead. I don’t intend to let my guard down nor stop fighting to make the brand grow.
From Portugal to Barcelona, what has your time at EAE meant to you?
Before coming to EAE, I thought that it would be just another university but, looking back, I can see that how I grew as a student and as a person here, I met incredible people, and I grew professionally. This all gives me the drive to carry on growing and learning, because there is a long road ahead!
Would you recommend EAE? Why?
Absolutely. This year, there are seven people taking the Master in Digital Marketing and Electronic Commerce and they are all really happy with EAE Business School. I could mention a few of the strong points about the classes, the facilities and the teaching team but, in reality, it is the small details that make my EAE experience so great at both a personal and professional level. Without a doubt, I would highlight all the contacts that I made over the course of the year, which have been a real plus.