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How Cambio & Co. Fuses Jewelry, Storytelling, and Cultural Heritage into a Brand

The company uses a multifaceted marketing strategy to share its handcrafted Filipino jewelry with a North American audience.

Cambio & Co founders Gelaine Santiago and Jérôme Gagnon-Voyer

Imagine wearing a piece of jewelry that not only makes a fashion statement but also tells a story of your cultural heritage. This is the unique experience offered by Cambio & Co., a sustainable jewelry brand co-founded in 2015 by Gelaine Santiago and Jérôme Gagnon-Voyer, a dynamic husband and wife team. The company sells handmade jewelry crafted by Filipino artisans to a North American audience.

Cambio & Co. was born out of an inspiring trip to the Philippines. The co-founders were deeply touched by the social impact made by local businesses, from their beautiful designs to their commitment to fair pay and economic development. The experience sparked an idea: to bring these goods to North America and create a market for them.

But the mission didn't stop there. Realizing the immense potential these products had in helping the Filipino diaspora (Filipinos who have settled away from their home country) reconnect with their rich cultural heritage, Gelaine and Jérôme expanded their advocacy. From fashion to jewelry, they aimed to offer more than just products. They aimed to offer a story—a connection to the homeland for the diaspora in North America.

From online reach to tangible experience

Cambio & Co.'s story is told through both its products and strong online presence. They've built an expansive social media team, creating content both in Canada and the Philippines, and have a significant reach, particularly amongst Filipino Canadians and Americans. But they also recognize the importance of a local, physical presence. In an effort to meet this need, they launched a brick-and-mortar showroom to allow customers to experience their products firsthand.

“We opened a showroom in Toronto, so that's something that we've been sharing as part of our story,” Jérôme said. “For many years, our customers were asking about how they could see the products in person, and we realized we also really wanted to connect with the local community.”

Cambio & Co founders working with artisan

Photo credit: Gerald Gloton

The power of integrations

Marketing these unique products requires a multifaceted approach. While Instagram and TikTok are great platforms for organic reach, they also utilize Mailchimp for automated campaigns and weekly newsletters. Integrating Mailchimp with Shopify has been especially useful for segmenting Cambio & Co.’s audience using location data. When a customer makes a purchase, Shopify inputs the full address into Mailchimp, giving the Cambio & Co. team key insights into customer location and which customers most frequently place orders after engaging with the company’s newsletter. 

They've also integrated Mailchimp with a discount tool that syncs with Shopify, offering discounts to first-time newsletter subscribers and tracking sales data. This approach provides them with valuable insights into which campaigns are most effective.

Staying adaptable with engagement strategies

Despite these strategies, marketing doesn't always come without its adversity. The brand faces the constant task of maximizing its funnel and engaging new customers enough to join Cambio & Co.'s newsletter. They've adapted to changes in content consumption by focusing more on video content, dedicating two team members to crafting videos. “Advertising is not cheap for a brand of our size and, for our type of business, the margins aren’t extremely high,” Jérôme explained. “It's not fast fashion; these are handmade products by artisans. So we've chosen to focus more on organic reach on Instagram and with videos in the last year.”

The company’s marketing team has also leveraged a landing page campaign in Mailchimp, specifically during Filipino American History Month in October. The goal is to uniquely target people who haven’t subscribed to the newsletter by offering virtual stickers and Zoom backgrounds—a strategy that's proven successful in recent years.

“It was surprising to see how many hundreds of subscribers we got from just offering virtual goodies,” Jérôme said. “With those landing pages, we also had a much better idea of where they were coming from, for what campaign, and what brought them in. So the more we're able to do that, the more we understand.”

Embracing AI as an efficiency booster

Cambio & Co. has also been open to experimenting with the use of AI-generated content. While it’s not their team’s primary method of content creation, it’s still proven to be a valuable tool in helping them generate initial drafts for product descriptions and marketing materials. If they’re having trouble coming up with the right angle, they’ll create a first draft through ChatGPT for basic content and then adapt it to make it more relevant to their audience, which is a best practice when using generative AI tools.

“We don't just copy-paste whatever is generated because that's not good enough for our audience,” Jérôme explains. “Our audience is looking for specific stories that connect with us in a very specific way. It can't be generic, but the initial draft can definitely help us get closer to our goals.”

At the end of the day, Cambio & Co. is more than a jewelry retailer. They are a storytelling conduit connecting the Filipino community with their roots, one beautiful piece of jewelry at a time. Through their unique products and innovative marketing strategies, Cambio & Co. will continue to foster a deeper cultural connection among its customers everywhere.

Published: April 12, 2024

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