Red spots, very dry skin and small pimples on her daughter Catalina caught Karina Riquelme’s attention. Seven years ago, these symptoms raised an alarm and made her consult specialists. She began the search for treatments, had many medical consultations, used several medications, but nowhere did she get clear answers. After two years, Catalina was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, a chronic disease that would accompany her all her life.
From that moment on, Karina dedicated herself completely to her daughter, but it was not easy. She confesses that many times they could not continue with the treatments because they were very expensive: “The products on the market for atopic skin have a high price, and for an average family it is totally unrealistic to provide adequate treatment and maintain it over time”.
Some time later, Ema, her youngest daughter, received the same diagnosis. Karina explains that finding a product on the market that would alleviate her daughters’ symptoms quickly and improve their quality of life was very difficult, “Because of this need, we began to look for different alternatives and solutions to create a product that would not only help them, but along the way we realized that we have been able to help many more people”.
Her knowledge as a nurse led her to investigate different formulas and create creams and oils: “We started with the manufacture of a body cream, made with raw materials of vegetable origin that soothes irritated, reddened, inflamed, dry and itchy skin, made from calendula and panthenol that contains emollient, soothing and softening properties”.
With the good results, Karina saw in her products an opportunity to start an entrepreneurship. Therefore, in 2018 she decided to apply to the first version of the contest for entrepreneurs Impulso Chileno, in search of funding and training from the hand of experts. He obtained one of the first places, where he received $10 million and academic accompaniment that allowed him to finance his laboratory and raw materials to manufacture his products.
“From the program, without a doubt, I appreciate the experience of the whole process, there are stages that go beyond an economic contribution. Without support and training, it is even more complex to advance and reach the milestones in an enterprise,” says Karina.
With the arrival of the coronavirus, Karina decided to create a line of special products to mitigate the effects on the skin, due to the prolonged use of masks and frequent hand washing, especially among health personnel. Without thinking about it, the pandemic allowed her to grow her business, even getting exposure on television programs, thus reaching more customers.
“Entrepreneurship is always a great challenge and it is a double merit in times of pandemic. On the positive side, I appreciate the creativity of Chileans, despite adversity we are always innovating, thinking about how to improve or generate additional value in the customer experience,” he reflects.
Today its sales have grown exponentially. In July 2019, when she resigned from her job as a nurse, she started selling 200 thousand pesos and 12 months later, in July 2020, her sales increased by 75%, a figure that has been maintained to this day. In addition, it is shipping to regions and working to increase its product lines. In this period of growth and consolidation, Karina was able to launch her own website www.tisse.cl, which today includes a shopping cart and a blog where she has published three articles with advice from her personal experience.
On her Instagram page, which already has more than 11 thousand followers, she shares testimonials from her clients, tips for good skin maintenance and detailed explanations of the properties of her products. Her knowledge in the health area has allowed her to better accompany the requirements and queries of her clients. In fact, those who contact her should send a message with their age, diagnosis, specific allergies, affected areas and characteristics of the area, for better guidance.
Despite the uncertainty and challenges of the pandemic, it brought great opportunity. “He who does not risk, does not win. We all live in fear of new things, of investing… of thinking whether it will work or not, especially in the middle of a pandemic. But the best solutions are born from the most complex situations, and the moment you take the step into something you are really passionate about, there is no turning back,” says Karina.