Press Coverage 

Marie Claire

Digital marketing: an opportunity to grow professionally abroad

Venturing to Europe and conquering the work field in an independent format, with multiple clients, is a path chosen by more and more professional women. Gabriela Surkin, Bachelor in Business Administration and Marketing (UADE), shares tips to achieve it.

Challenging yourself, working, and learning from contact with different cultures, is one of the promises that lead more and more professional women abroad. Digital marketing, in demand and in tune with the current way of experiencing the world and its future, is a fertile ground to find opportunities:

"Today, all brands need to promote themselves online and Support values such as gender equality, inclusion, or sustainability." Argentine specialist Gabriela Surkin relocated seven years ago to Europe to make her way in the digital marketing and content creation era. 

According to her, mainly since the pandemic, most companies have focused on search engines such as Google ads, Facebook ads display, LinkedIn, or TikTok, whose efficiency lies in measuring results with well-defined targets.


This specificity is also crucial when looking for clients. When Gabriela settled in Berlin, a city she fell in love with for its cosmopolitan quality, she networked on LinkedIn or Facebook groups oriented to professional women such as Women Freelancers and Creative Women in Berlin. She advises: "The key is to join the specific groups in the city because there is always an exchange between people looking for work and others who offer it. There are also courses and networking events. My infallible tool to get into the field was Facebook Group, using keywords like 'women,' 'creativity' and 'freelancers' in Berlin".   

A native of Mar del Plata, when she finished high school, her studies took her to Buenos Aires, where she studied Business Administration and Marketing (UADE), adding courses in Coolhunting, Brand Design, and Corporate Image. Surkin's professional career began at FedEx, where she became responsible for customer relationship management (CRM), training users from other countries, and reporting to the U.S. headquarters. This experience helped her to perfect her English, which is essential when working in Berlin: "You don't need to be fluent in German if you have a good grounding in English," she says.

After FedEx, she started as a marketing analyst and became head of marketing at Radio Mitre and La 100. She used numerous tools in offline marketing, media buying, planning layout, reports, and campaigns with celebrities. These contacts accompanied her in her venture, the vegan shoe brand Miist, which had good repercussions with followers such as Calu Rivero, Brenda Gandini, and Cande Tinelli.

According to Gabriela, the work ethic differs between Argentina and Germany. There, the responsibilities and tasks of each professional are well defined, and it is necessary to demonstrate results through discipline and specialized knowledge. Once clients see this, they gain confidence and build medium- and long-term relationships. Surkin has been working for two years with Karolina Decker, one of the 50 most essential women entrepreneurs in Germany, CEO, and co-founder of the financial advisory agency for women, FinMarie. 

She also counts clients such as the Spanish company Prestalo. With her marketing team, she was awarded for the best TikTok strategy of a Spanish company - or the startup Domi, working as a content creator in social media and positioning ads in Google ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, LinkedIn ads, and TikTok ads. "I manage many networks simultaneously, and, logically, that requires planning," says the expert. "Depending on the client, sometimes I prepare all the content and send it for approval. If it is advertising, I check how the ads are running and optimize their performance. In addition, day-to-day orders are added."


Gabriela has experience with fashion giants: together with H&M, she developed the Pilot Phase Testing of The Sendup project to encourage independent and sustainable designers to launch and measure their campaigns. She was also in charge of the Spanish-speaking market for Bottega Veneta in the Salon 03 project, planning direct marketing and public relations strategies with five women from all over the world. Her next steps are at Minor - Projektkontor für Bildung und Forschung gemeinnützige GmbH, a kind of ministry of education and research where she has been selected for a project.

Beyond work, what are the implications of living in Berlin? According to Surkin, the point to highlight is the cultural diversity and the critical place art occupies in its inhabitants' lives. Although it may seem a somewhat gloomy city due to its lack of light in winter, its energy makes up for everything. In addition to English language skills and willingness to network to settle there, it is essential to secure housing (in recent years, the demand for apartments has increased). And make the Anmeldung: an official registration of the place where you live, to receive documents from the State (they send everything on paper). It is also mandatory to have social security, either public or private, and to keep up to date with taxes. If you want to adopt a pet, the process is demanding, and it is mandatory to have all its vaccinations up to date, a microchip with identification, and a passport.

"for living, what you have to solve is reduced to these points," says the professional. And she emphasizes how enriching the experience is: "It opens your head a lot, offering the possibility of working with colleagues from all over the world and interacting with different experiences, cultures, and traditions."



As Chloe Sevigny, evergreen it girl and style standard bearer, once said, "Accessories can sublimate the look, making it look luxurious." Today, shoes and jewelry are as magnetic as key garments in the closet. In this context, a new breed of creators is emerging, whose mantra claims savoir-faire.


Designing elegant, practical, and unisex footwear led Softa Bonardi and Nicolás Meléndez to create Mixtos: 

"Sometimes we want to buy something for ourselves, but we can't because it is made for men or women," say these 29-year-olds from their studio whose pairs fit both sexes.

Craftsmanship and functional lines converge in their line, which carries an aesthetic with a European vocation. "Many bands and emerging artists choose us," says the duo. While the Mixtos are positioning themselves, they are developing their spring collection, extending the unisex concept to clothing and accessories.

For Romina Arce and Ezequiel Toledo, founders of She Romeo, shoes "are a powerful fetish that generates passions." That is why, with experience in graphic design and clothing design, the tandem decided to launch themselves with classic items of masculine appeal inspired by music. "That trigger led us to explore other decades and to add an eccentric touch to the proposal," they say. In the future, they would like to develop a line of objects with their handcrafted philosophy.

Agostina Nacini and Ramiro Cruglio are other couples with a strong presence in the designer category. Their transgressive firm, Bauchs, was born from their interest in generating textures and fusing them. "We innovate utilizing unconventional techniques on our main raw material, leather." The creatives experiment with plastics, rubbers, resins, and metalized papers to create products that shun norms. "Our footwear is not only exclusive and timeless but also an experience," they reveal an Example of contemporary luxury.

"Finding a perfect synergy between design and quality. That is the mission of Victoria Venn and Milagros Diaz O'Kelly, owners of Chwala. After studying photography, communication, and graphic design, the young women focused on making footwear with stripped-down lines, noble textures, and certain retro touches. "Qualities that make ours a timeless brand," they say.

The love for animals is the driving force behind Miist's pairs, a name led by Gabriela Surkin. The young woman leaves aside leather and its derivatives in favor of a "cruelty-free" inventory without ignoring the trends. "My forte is classic models with contemporary touches, inspired by music," says this entrepreneur, a fan of rock made in U. K. Her fusions of textures and rhinestones have already seduced tops of the caliber of Naomi Pretzler.


The bond that a jewel establishes with its wearer has a special strength. Patricia Gallucci knows this, so she creates ultra-delicate pieces that combine precious and non-precious metals, together with recovered wood, industrial remains, and porcelain. "I work with a great variety of materials, and I investigate how to transform them in pursuit of an esthetic of my own," she explains. After training in Buenos Aires and Barcelona, she exhibited her work in Munich, Luxembourg, and England. 

“we innovate through unconventional techniques” Agostina Nacini y Ramiro Cruoglio.

He is currently based there as an artist-in-residence at the Birmingham University School of Jewelry. Upon his return in July this year, he plans to introduce a piece inspired by his favorite muse: nature.

Alejandra Rodriguez Merver signs amulets of mystical spirits in homage to the magic of mineral stones. Her brand, Casa del Mano, intertwines metals in geometric shapes with the material mentioned above: "My designs stand out for the unique rarity of each stone. I suggest a particular way of wearing them close. "Currently, the young woman is finalizing details of a collection that will also incorporate suede and horn.

Photography, architecture, or even literature act as a trigger for Kona Queen jewelry. Its designers, Agustina Pawlow and Jonathan Lavieri, pursue originality: "Our design, executed with quality and careful finishing, differs from everything else." Large bracelets and chokers mix metals with different stones. A prelude to what, like all these talents, the future holds in store for them: access to stardom.


Sustainable artisans: meet their creations

Beyond being sustainability one of the concepts on everyone's lips these days, many try to do their bit for a greener world. Thus, there are propagators and those who manage to create based on sustainability. They are great artisans of ecological design, and day by day, their products are becoming more commercial and accepted. "They are the true pioneers in sustainability in our country; in most cases, they not only apply it in the objects they produce but also in the way they approach their lives in general," says Marcia Veneziani, an expert on the subject and Doctor in Social Communication Sciences. She adds: "they are the ones who show how to face the coming world with responsibility and, simultaneously, in a creative way."

MIIST: this brand started its first steps in 2012, and today it is one of the leaders in cruelty-free footwear. And what does it mean? It means that its products are made with materials without animal components. "In the whole manufacturing process, they work with cruelty-free textiles, synthetic leather, and rubber," says Gabriela Surkin, its creator. Check out their new winter collection!

Para Ti


Vegan shoes. Not consuming meat, eggs, milk, or any animal by-product and, at the same time, wearing shoes and handbags made with leather and fur was such a contradiction that led several designers to start making their accessories. The trend, which emerged in the United States and England, is already among us, and here we tell you about it.

Is there anything worse than a barbecue for a vegan? Yes, shopping. It seems like a joke, but don't expect it if you don't eat meat, milk, eggs, or animal by-products. Seeing behind the shop windows shoes, jackets, and handbags made of leather can be real torture. This is how Gabriela Surkin, 30, a marketing graduate, feels. She became a vegetarian as a teenager, not because she didn't like meat but because of her love for animals. As she grew up, Gaby felt increasingly incoherent, not eating meat but wearing leather or fur. And that contradiction became even more shocking when she had to find a shoe that was both synthetic and of good quality was almost impossible. On a trip to New York, she discovered that Stella McCartney's brand, pioneer of the vegan fashion movement, had super cool synthetic designs.

What's more, the slogan that can be read on the hangers of McCartney's store is: "there are no dead bodies here." That experience prompted her to return to Argentina and start making vegan shoes. In March of this year, she launched Miist, her brand, in which she only uses synthetic leather textiles, microfiber, jute, rubber, and raffia. "There are a lot of materials that are good, resident, and stylish. It's just a matter of educating the consumer," she says, who sells through Facebook or in showrooms. 

Vegans are becoming more and more exclusive. The customer looks for them because he knows that a vegan shoe he buys is one less animal that is killed. And because the prices are up between 300 and 500 pesos. 

ONLINE FASHION. Vegan fashion is better known in cities like New York or London, where people who do not eat meat or its derivatives represent between 3 and 4% of the population. There you can find stores that sell everything from chocolates to condiments, absolutely everything under the label: All Man-Made (100% manufactured and cruelty-free for animals). But in Argentina, the vegan market is developing, and the most developed category - shoes - is hard to find. Mercedes Zubiarran (29), a graduate in advertising, started her vegan sneaker company, Sole & Soul Shoes, a year ago. "I wanted to have something of my own, and that took into account my vegetarian lifestyle." Mercedes opened an online store, and although she had a very good response, she says that the people approached her for the design or the material's originality rather than its ecological factor. Her sneakers are made of Tyvek paper, a recycled paper made from polyethylene fibers widely used in other industries, such as the medical and chemical industries, which is resistant to tearing. Although Argentina has the second highest per capita meat consumption, veganism is becoming more and more widespread in gastronomy, but in terms of fashion, this is just beginning. In some cases, it is the customers themselves who order a vegan line from their shoe brand friend. That's what happened to Lidia Navarro (36): "Many customers began to ask us for a non-leather option, we tried materials, patent leather worked, and for the summer we created a line in canvas," says the designer, who five years ago created with a friend the online brand of handmade shoes Ravia, and this year, with the new line, they were recommended in forums specialized in animal conscience.

And to gain a foothold in this market, the designers must counteract the strong myth that if the footwear is not made of leather, it is not good. "Our materials are of very good quality and therefore durable and environmentally friendly," explains Andrea De Iacovo (35), vegetariana y licenciada en Bellas Artes que desde 2008 se dedica a confeccionar ropa y calzado en Boobamara Vegan Shoes, utilizando telas de India y también del Noroeste Ar- gentino y Bolivia. "Ya que no como animales, ¿por qué debo usarlos? Al indagar un poco sobre la industria cárnica, del cuero y de pieles, me asustó mucho hasta donde llega la crueldad hu- mana y los daños que estas industrias generan al medioambiente. Eso me dio más fuerzas para seguir adelante con mi proyecto".

ECOCLIENTS. Those who buy this type of footwear are vegetarians or vegans who learned about the trend abroad. Candela Urrutia, for example, is 24 and has been a vegan for four years, are a fashion producer and works in the press and public relations. She lived in New York, where it was much easier for her to buy shoes that do not require animal suffering, but when she returned to Argentina, she found that vegan shoes were not popular. "I don't consume any animal products, and being a big fan of fashion meant a radical change for me. When I returned to Argentina, I started looking for eco-leather shoes in the brands I usually bought from, and I was unsuccessful." Candela then started searching the Internet and found what she was looking for.

It is not known for sure how many vegans there are in Argentina: it is estimated that in the world, they represent 0.5% of the population. Famous people aligned with this philosophy of life are Natalie Portman, Joaquin Phoenix, Pamela Anderson, and in Argentina, Marcela Kloosterboer and Nicolás Pauls. Fortunately for all of them, the offer is gradually expanding, and it is just a click away in our country.

Clothing vs. shoes

Many designers in the world have already decided to launch their vegan clothing lines: starting with Stella McCartney and continuing with Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood. In the country, the only brand with an ecological conscience is Grupo 134, which designs with ecological fabrics, and recycled materials and dispenses with fur and leather. Beyond them, the only vegan garments that are marketed on the Internet offer T-shirts with ecological legends and against the killing of animals, but there are no specific fashion lines as it is beginning to happen in shoes.


What's coming: "Cruelty-free" fashion

These are garments and products in whose production no animals were used. From cosmetics to shoes, the market has expanded with proposals created without compromising the animal world. Celebrities who have joined this trend

Just as fashion joined the eco-friendly phenomenon, and the latest trends merge with designs created not to harm the environment, now the initiative is to go a little further and develop proposals that are not linked to animal abuse.

Many items set trends and, at the same time, affect the animal kingdom. The mistreatment to which animals are subjected to obtain a fur coat is well known, and even organizations fervently fight against its use. But cosmetics and leather in boots or jackets are also in the spotlight.

This is a cruelty-free phenomenon. This proposal comes to fashion linked to the great growth of veganism, a movement in which neither food nor animal products are consumed. It is an installed concept in the European or North American market, while it is beginning to take shape in Argentina.

"Recently, we have observed a trend towards vegetarianism and its variants, especially in the gastronomic industry. Little by little, it is echoing in other markets such as cosmetics and clothing," said Gabriela Surkin, creator of the shoe brand Miist, one of the pioneers in the cruelty-free phenomenon.

"The care and love for animals is a concept I grew up with. Fortunately, I shared my childhood with many pets. In my adolescence, I decided to be a vegetarian for ideological reasons, but I felt a contradiction when I used animal leather handbags and shoes. Unfortunately, no proposal in the market satisfied me in terms of ideology and style that motivated me to train and start this project. At the end of the day, I am designing to satisfy a need that I had", said the entrepreneur.

But the idea is that it is not exclusively for those who maintain this way of life. Although they are made without materials that compromise the animal world, it does not imply that they are only for vegans. "Our customers choose us not only for our philosophy but also for the design. It is a genuine brand without prejudice and accessible," she said.

This trend became even more massive thanks to more and more celebrities joining and promoting it. Nous Etudions rose to fame after calling Calu Rivero the image of its brand. The actress became vegan after learning about the firm's proposal and changed her diet to be in line with the initiative, in addition to leaving aside the use of leather boots and jackets.

Another celebrity who joined the cruelty-free movement and now designs her line of shoes and handbags for the Benedikta brand following this philosophy is Marcela Kloosteboer. "I think that more and more people are talking about respecting animals and their cruelty-free lives. In leather, it is more difficult to impose, but in fur, it is already frowned upon by many. More so, having the synthetic furs that exist today," she analyzed.

Most women who wear fur would stop if they knew about all the suffering behind those coats. Leather is different because most people eat meat, and the whole animal is 'used.' Since I don't eat meat, I found it inconsistent with wearing leather, so I stopped wearing it. But I had a hard time getting shoes and handbags with the same quality and design," she said while clarifying that she does the same with cosmetic products.

In this sense, the actress explained that the most challenging part of the elaboration process was the work in the workshop since they are used to working with leather and getting quality materials that fit well in shoes and handbags.

"The selection of materials is much more rigorous, and raw material shortages are a risk that has to be taken into account much more," Surkin added.

Little by little, there are more and more design proposals for those who want to bet on this philosophy of life. The next brand that promises to impose itself is Nikka N, by Nicole Neumann. Although she has not yet opened her store, the model announced that she is designed to launch her own "cruelty-free" proposal.

The offer is growing; whether for vegans or not, it opens the door to a more conscious consumption without giving up fashion.

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