When the Grass Isn’t Greener, Sell and Start Again, Says Founder of Jongleur

When Agustín Capalbo started Jongleur Skincare, he didn’t anticipate trading one burnout for another. After struggling to keep up with his high-intensity marketing agency, Marketing Clasificado, Agustín sought a low-pressure, easily scalable project to distract him. 

Jongleur was a welcome break – for a time. The ecommerce brand sold only one product, an under-eye mask to help with wrinkles and dark circles. Running the business while maintaining Marketing Classificado was doable with the help of his partner, Catherina van Marrewijk. But Agustín eventually sold the ecommerce brand for five figures after Catherina fell ill. 

Two months of searching for another co-founder turned up nothing. In that time, Agustín tried tackling all of his and Catherina’s responsibilities while running Marketing Clasificado. But burnout crept back in, forcing Agustín to choose between scaling or selling this new ecommerce brand. 

In retrospect, the answer was simple. Read on to learn how Agustín built and sold one business to rediscover his passion for another. 

Developing a Love for Digital Marketing

Like many kids, Agustín wanted to be a doctor one day. Whip-smart and passionate about problem-solving, he sought a job that would keep his adrenaline pumping with fresh and challenging tasks. 

But less than one year into his medical degree, Agustín’s grandfather landed in the hospital. Alternating between the hospital and his college classes, Agustín considered his future. 

“I asked myself if I really wanted to work in a hospital all my life. I realized it wasn’t the best idea and started looking for other ways that I could solve problems while doing something different every day,” Agustín says. 

After he decided to quit medical school, Agustín felt lost. His dad soon pressured him to find a new career path, and Agustín turned to the first industry he could think of – marketing. All companies, he thought, find marketing valuable. He just had to learn to provide that value. Plus, working on different campaigns would fulfill his need for new daily challenges. 

In 2017, Agustín enrolled in the Argentine University of Enterprise (UADE). Within one year, he gained the skills to become a Google Ads Support Agent. 

“Everything clicked then, and I realized I loved digital marketing. I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life,” Agustín says. 

While working at Google, Agustín learned how to help other marketers fix issues with their ads. But the job quickly turned routine and boring. He knew Google’s product inside and out – now he sought a new challenge. 

Instead of helping other marketers fix their campaigns, Agustín was eager to create ad campaigns and earn his own clients. He began contacting businesses looking for freelance marketers and quit Google once he landed his first customer. 

Freelancing and his continued study at UADE helped Agustín develop new marketing skills. He met Catherina at the university, and she shared his vision of starting an agency. Together, the two built Marketing Clasificado, which scaled businesses via digital ads. 

The business didn’t kick off with a bang. That came a few months after Catherina and Agustín created social media content for their agency during the pandemic. Though they specialized in digital ads, the two saw the value in creating social media content to appeal to fellow online businesses. 

“We took all the courses we found and modeled ourselves after what worked for others. We looked at what the top performing accounts in our niche were doing and did our own version,” Agustín says.

Catherina and Agustín’s version of successful posts included tips and tricks to improve businesses’ digital marketing. By offering a sample of their expertise for free on Instagram, the duo earned clients’ trust to handle higher-stakes projects. 

Within 29 days of its first Instagram post, Marketing Clasificado earned 1,000 followers. The duo doubled that number in two weeks and then hit 90,000 in six months. Less than a year later, Marketing Clasificado boasted 150,000 Instagram followers and over 49,000 on TikTok. 

But along with this social media success came a slew of eager clients, overwhelming Agustín and Catherina. 

Battling Burnout With a New Venture 

It’s exciting when your business thrives. It means everything you worked for has finally paid off. And when doing something you love, like Agustín, how can you not count your blessings? 

But you never want too much of a good thing. Eventually, servicing hundreds of clients with only two people, Catherina and Agustín drowned in work. 

To scale the marketing agency, they’d need to invest in employees to serve new clients. Agustín hired people to lessen the workload, but training employees and onboarding new clients still took precious time. Burnout soon hit the duo like a sledgehammer. 

At the same time, an investor Agustín used to run ads for contacted him about a business proposal. 

“When we were burnt out, this investor reached out to us and provided a whole new opportunity, something much more scalable,” Agustín says. “We decided to try something new and see if we could make it work. That’s when we started building Jongleur.”

Exploring the Ecommerce Business Model

Agustín had helped ecommerce companies scale in the past. The business model seemed like the perfect antidote to all the issues he faced with Marketing Clasificado. 

“No constant communication with clients, not a lot of service delivery. We thought it was a magical business model and that it would be easy to make it work,” Agustín says. 

In July 2021, he and Catherina worked with the investor to brainstorm an ecommerce brand focused on skincare. They named it Jongleur in honor of Catherina’s Dutch heritage, as “jongleur” translates to “juggler” in Dutch. The trio aimed to help women with lots to juggle take five minutes to relax using these under-eye masks. 

Though Catherina and Agustín lived in Argentina, they launched the product in Mexico. They originally planned to target the millions of Spanish speakers living in the US, but it would cost more to run the business there. Mexico still boasted a big target market and would provide less competition. 

For the next eight months, Catherina and Agustín balanced running Marketing Clasificado and building Jongleur. They secured manufacturers in China, plus importers and third-party logistics distributors in Mexico. Though the duo prepared for their March 2022 launch, they struggled to make sales in the first few months. 

“In the first two or three months, our ads weren’t profitable, and we were losing $1,000 to $3,000 per month. To make it work, we needed to create a lot of different ad funnels and find something to increase our website’s conversion rate,” Agustín says. “What really changed our luck was optimizing the landing page for the product. We optimized that page, and on the checkout page, we added different payment options. 

“Plus, we started using influencer and user-generated content ads, which worked well. That’s when things started to get better, and Jongleur started growing,” Agustín says.

He also tempted customers to subscribe to monthly boxes with a 10 percent discount off their first box. Or if you ordered two boxes of eye pads, you would get a third for free. These tactics increased the average order value and helped Agustín and Catherina turn a profit with Jongleur. 

But their newfound success barely took off when Catherina fell ill in September 2022. One week after visiting the doctor, Catherina quit Jongleur to focus on her health. 

Deciding to Sell vs. Finding a New Business Partner

Agustín enjoyed running ad campaigns and perfecting the funnels that lead customers to Jongleur’s site. But Catherina dealt with daily operations, communication, and content for Jongleur’s email and social media marketing. She collaborated with influencers and handled interactions with the manufacturers. Most importantly, she was someone Agustín cared about and didn’t want to see struggling. 

“She is my business partner and girlfriend, so it was hard to manage the workload and be present to support her emotionally,” Agustín says. “I started to take on her responsibilities for both businesses. Slowly, she started doing some tasks for Marketing Clasificado again.”

Without Catherina, it fell to Agustín to handle Jongleur’s content and communication or to find someone who could. He spent two months interviewing candidates, but none aligned with what Agustín sought in a partner. The more time passed, the more he needed to do something about Jongleur and their plans to scale it. 

Since business had picked up, Catherina and Agustín had planned to add more products to the site. But Agustín couldn’t add to his workload. The co-founders had stopped growing the marketing agency to focus on scaling Jongleur, but it still required time and energy to run.

Jongleur should have been a thrilling, shiny distraction from Marketing Clasificado’s struggles. Instead, Agustín had run headfirst into a new kind of stress. Not only had he lost a business partner, but he’d discovered ecommerce wasn’t as “magical” a model as he thought.

“We thought it would be much more profitable in much less time. It was our idea of the perfect world,” Agustín says. “But then we realized the margins weren’t the same as they are in services. Selling a low-ticket item is much harder than selling high-ticket services. We started seeing the difficult factors we didn’t know existed before launching an ecommerce business. And after launching, we realized we needed to make it work.”

After Catherina quit, the investor she and Agustín had partnered with offered a solution: Sell the business on Acquire.com. 

Selling to a Buyer Who Can Help Jongleur Scale 

How much did Agustín know about acquisitions before checking out Acquire.com? 

“Nothing,” Agustín says. “I didn’t know much about where and how to sell Jongleur, but the investor sent us the link to list our startup. It was really simple to connect everything and write the listing. Everything was pretty straightforward.”

Jongleur’s listing went live in November. By early December, Agustín received two letters of intent and accepted the one from Shani Hart at Eshkol. Both letters came right after Acquire.com promoted Jongleur in its weekly newsletter. 

Why did Agustín choose Shani? The buyer owned several startups and had already cornered other industries in the Mexican market. He knew how to scale businesses and could take on the new product lines Agustín and Catherina envisioned. Plus, he promised a quick exit for Agustín, who would help Shani transition the assets and business for three months. 

After settling on a purchase price, Agustín and Shani closed the deal within weeks. Agustín couldn’t believe how quickly the acquisition process wrapped, especially for his first sale. Selling the business ultimately mattered more to the founder than the money he earned. 

“I thought selling would be much more difficult than it was,” Agustín says. “Acquire.com helped a lot when promoting the business itself, and the process was easy to set up. Support was helpful and fast. I’m happy with the acquisition.”

How Building and Exiting One Business Led Agustín Back to Another

Since selling Jongleur, Agustín’s been able to refocus on Marketing Clasificado with Catherina. He’s back in the digital marketing space, brainstorming new ways to scale the business without overwhelming himself again. 

Does he regret spending his time building and selling Jongleur? Not at all. Taking his attention off Marketing Clasificado and giving himself space to breathe showed Agustín how it would feel to return to the business reinvigorated. 

“Sometimes people look at opportunities as if they’re better than what you currently have. We were looking for that shiny object, that new opportunity that would allow us to escape the profitable business we’d built but weren’t enjoying,” Agustín says. “Then we realized that the best thing is not the one that your neighbor has, but the one you put the work into and give the time it needs to grow.” 

Agustín spent only a year or two on Marketing Clasificado before trying his luck with Jongleur. He thought he could juggle two completely different businesses, and though it didn’t work out, he’s glad he tried. 

“As a founder, give yourself time to see what you love and enjoy, and then pick that path and invest the time you need to grow it,” Agustín says. “You will face challenges in every business – that doesn’t make one business better than the other. What makes a business better are the challenges that you’re willing to overcome to succeed.”

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