We talked to Givan Hieralal about sous vide with Souvy and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Givan Hieralal: We are all doing fine, and no one got sick during COVID. Most of my family members are still able to work from home. Working from home was not something new for me, because I am used to working from all different kind of places and abroad (before Covid).
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Souvy.
Givan Hieralal: I have been starting little businesses in The Netherlands since I was 16. I started in the fashion industry but had several small businesses in different industries. After a year of working for an online marketing agency, it was time to start a new business again. I bought Souvy last November because I saw great potential in the European market. With the basics of good SEO, it was a great opportunity to get started with this webshop. In November 2020, I took over Souvy. Since then, the company grew by 20% every month. Souvy is the number one place for sous vide cooking. A cooking method where you can cook at home like a professional chef. We are the biggest supplier of sous vide products in The Netherlands and are growing to other countries fast.
How does Souvy innovate?
Givan Hieralal: We listen to our customers a lot. For example, we analyze our search results on our website and can therefore find out what is still missing. These can be recipes or products that we do not yet offer. In the past 3 months, we have doubled our product-range based on this principle.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Givan Hieralal: During the coronavirus, we grew a lot because people are mostly not allowed to shop in stores and are shopping online. We currently have some cash flow issues because of our massive growth. That’s why we chose not to grow more than 20% per month. We keep a lot of control over our marketing budget and sales. If we reach our target of the month, we shut down our marketing budget. That might sound crazy, but in that way, we can grow without the need of an investor and keep 100% of the shares.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Givan Hieralal: I work with a number of freelancers to support the company. Due to the growth of the company, I was able to continue to use these people, but I still was flexible on the human resources.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Givan Hieralal: We are used to communicating with our customers online. But we still improved our email marketing, and we send emails more frequently. We have to stay on top of mind with our customer. We do this by sharing even more recipes and tips. We also reward customers for their efforts. An example of this is that customers can also share their recipes on our platform. This is how we create user-generated content and keep our customers connected to Souvy.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Givan Hieralal: No, we did not receive any government’s grants.
Your final thoughts?
Givan Hieralal: I sincerely hope that we get the situation of the coronavirus under control and that all retailers can open their stores again soon. If any retailers read this and need marketing-advice, feel free to contact us; maybe we can help you.
https://souvy.nl (Dutch visitors)
https://souvy.nl/en/ (English visitors)
https://souvy.nl/de/ (German visitors)
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