“I launched a marketing campaign, especially through social networks. We are present on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, which is the right way to go viral,” says the owner of Orientalmente, Paola Costa.
Javier has everything you could dream of: he lives with his wife and two sons in a beautiful house in a charming town near vibrant Barcelona, and every morning he has breakfast in the bar of a four-star hotel by the seaside.
What else can someone like him need?
“I think I need something more, to learn Chinese. The problem is that I don’t have the time to go to private classes,” he says.
Javier found the solution to his problems by surfing on the internet.
The solution is Orientalmente, a website where he can take his classes whenever he wants from wherever he likes, as its founder, Paola Costa explains:
“Orientalmente has two teaching methods: the 100 per cent on line method, i.e. one-to-one, customized classes through Skype with a teacher based in China; and the mixed method, combining traditional group classes with one-to-one conversation classes with a teacher in China”
Since June, when Paola started her business, this method has already attracted 10 faithful students. What is her secret?
“I’ve always looked for a system that could combine flexibility and, of course, teaching quality, with the comfort of studying at home. And it also had to have reasonable prizes,” says student José.
“I had the idea of setting up Orientalmente when I came back to live in Barcelona after 9 years living and working in China, and realised that the demand for Chinese courses here in Spain had grown exponentially. I thought, nowadays with the internet it is no longer necessary for teachers to physically move,” says Paola.
The young business, with a network of 20 Chinese teachers, already has a reputation. Even the prestigious Confucius Institute seems to be interested in Orientalmente.
“The Confucius Institut of Barcelona has seen its students double from last year. And I have the feeling that this trend of exponential increase is common to all of Europe,” says the Director of the Confucius Institute of Barcelona, Joaquin Beltran.
Paola started virtually with nothing. But now she has decided to invest 10,000 euros in a new web platform. It will allow Paola to manage her teachers and students more easily and boost her business.
“My goals for the next five years are to consolidate the school, increase the number of students, and especially expand geographically, in the rest of Europe and in South America. I intend to use this platform to create a system of franchise,” says Paola.
There’s also the promise of a romantic happy ending.
“Imagine…Our student learns Chinese so well, and bonds so tightly with her teacher that he falls in love with her and goes to meet her in China,” says one of the developers of the web platform, Laende’s Gerard Casanova Sánchez.