A wife and husband entrepreneur team, Dawn and Barry Petersen, are reaping the rewards of participating in Pick n Pay’s Enterprise and Supplier Development Scheme(ESD) and have had the opportunity to expand their business.
The Petersen’s company, Green Logik SA, produces Lunch-Box Buddy, a 2ml waterless antibacterial hand sanitiser sachet that can be placed in children’s lunch-boxes as an immediate visual reminder and ready access to a waterless and effortless solution.
Lunch-Box was inspired by the couples efforts to instill good hygiene habits into her “germ magnet” son.
“We’d ask our son to return his lunch-box with an empty sachet to show he’d used it. Before long, the overall health of the entire household improved. We soon realised that our solution would work for entire households and not only children,” says Petersen.
Equipped with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Petersen quit her full-time job to pursue the opportunity and the family owned business, Green Logik SA, was established in 2014. After a few months of trial and error, they launched their first-hand version of Lunch-Box Buddy at the Cape Argus Expo in 2015.
By October 2017, their products were listed in 157 Corporate Stores and soon after, 23 family stores
From idea to successful small business in three short years, their solution has now been listed on the shelves of one of South Africa’s major retailers.
The products were initially sold exclusively at expos and markets, before filtering into several schools. “To overcome the challenges of logistics, administration and seasonality, we realised we needed to reach a wider target market. With no retail experience, it was at this point that I was introduced via the Department of Economic Development to Pick n Pay’s Enterprise & Supplier Development (ESD) Programme in August 2016”, says Petersen.
In December 2016, Green Logik SA listed Lunch-Box Buddy with 26 Pick n Pay Pharmacies nationwide. But Petersen soon realised that large scale retail wasn’t quite what she expected.
“Pick n Pay provided merchandising at a reduced fee given our business was categorised in the incubator phase of the Programme, which was a huge advantage and saving to our small business. But we quickly realised that building a brand is extremely rewarding, but hard work and that you can’t just expect sales to happen. You need to continuously improve your approach, build relationships with the stores, reps and merchandisers, be innovative in your approach with customers, and do in-store promotions, which I did personally in the first few months to save costs.”
Leveraging on being listed with Pick n Pay, we have also had the opportunity to be associated with the City of Cape Town’s #ThinkWater campaigns and events
Constant innovation since launching the product has seen the business update their packaging three times to stand-out on shelf and appeal to their audience more. Petersen says that they learnt children can be product picky and that they needed to develop a more child appealing scent other than their base lavender scent. This led to the launch of a bubble-gum scented gel in May 2017.
By October 2017, their products were listed in 157 Corporate Stores and soon after, 23 family stores. “This expansion opportunity put us in a good financial position to apply for funding as up until that point, we were self-funded. With approved funding from Sefa, we were able to invest in marketing our brand and reach the revenue potentials of a successful business.”
Sales are now up dramatically and since December 2017, they have increased about 1300% with steady sales in-store. Dawn says that while the water crisis in Cape Town has had a positive impact on sales, she has had to put a great deal of effort into marketing. “Exposure is key for every business and fortunately being part of the ESD Programme, we were given many opportunities. Leveraging on being listed with Pick n Pay, we have also had the opportunity to be associated with the City of Cape Town’s #ThinkWater campaigns and events.”
From employing just herself, her husband and one employee, the business now has 10 women working permanently. Petersen says that for every 100 stores listing their products, an additional three people can be employed.
Petersen is focused firmly on business development. “While our short-term goal is to grow the brand and to be recognized as the preferred solution for proper hand hygiene for children, we believe there is also an opportunity to add value to catering services within airlines, hospitals and restaurants. In the future, we will also explore the feasibility of exporting or manufacturing in other countries.”