Growing up in Medellin, Colombia, Claudia Cott dreamed of someday owning her own business.
She got the chance when a South American company sought her counsel on how to export flowers to the United States. Her education and experience in international commerce was just what the company needed. Glospring was born.
Based in Arlington, Virginia, Glospring—the name a reference to her hometown of Medellin, the “City of Eternal Spring”—is a boutique consulting firm that helps facilitate trade between Latin American small businesses and the U.S. Among its many offerings, Glospring conducts market research and helps companies understand and navigate trade regulations. Glospring currently focuses on exports of beauty supplies and non-perishable foods, such as snacks and packaged coffee.
“I had a three-pronged idea in my mind,” Cott said. “One was opening my own business. Two, I loved international commerce and wanted to help small businesses from Latin America, especially from my native country of Colombia. And three, I wanted more flexibility in my life.” Glospring provides her with all three.
Entrepreneurship runs in Cott’s family. About ten years ago, her parents retired from the healthcare industry to pursue their dream of opening a hotel in Colombia.
Cott said her initial challenge getting Glospring off the ground was finding more clients. She realized early on that one client could not sustain her business, so she went off in search of additional connections. She soon landed a cosmetic company as a client.
“It wasn’t a lot of business,” she said, “but getting the deal done encouraged me to keep going. A lot of times I feel like I should be doing something else, but I keep trying and I have hope that there will be another success and I can continue.”
Cott has found the wegg virtual café invaluable. “As women, we have many things in common,” she said. “We’re going through the same things. We’re all trying to make it work. The café is a safe space to share and receive feedback and support one another.
“For instance, they really pushed me to work on my website. I’ve also gotten tips on competitive analysis, SEO, and leadership development. We talk about hiring interns or virtual assistants. We talk about international payment. We trade ideas on how to improve management skills. I even got a client because of my networking in the group!”
Like most businesses, the global pandemic has hampered Glospring’s ability to communicate in-person with clients and potential clients. On the other hand, Cott said, it has opened doors to resources, like the virtual café, that she may not have had otherwise.
To be successful in the world of international trade, Claudia Cott has learned, means “doing a lot of research and being open to change. Leveraging e-commerce space is crucial. And you might need to invest more time and resources into your business.”