“The start was excellent, and the expectations were impressive. However, the global pandemic affected the activities of our company. We had to suspend the production and distribution of sunflower seeds for two months. We made this decision as we are a company of high social responsibility. We prefer to take care of the safety of our employees and the people around us”, said General Director of Solari, Iuri Tkebuchava.
He added that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Solari management has revised the action plan of the company and made several adjustments.
“Goals and objectives have not changed, but implementation deadlines have certainly been postponed”, he said.
“2020 was to have been a turning point for Solari. We have been operating on the Georgian market for six years already and have established a prominent position in our field. The self-establishment phase is over and a new horizon is unfolding in front of the company, which in the conditions of good management gives us an opportunity to achieve a maximum result”, said Tkebuchava.
Solari was going to increase its production volume by 10% last year. Have you achieved this goal?
Last year we began expanding and this year we already have made our new warehouse and manufacturing complex with an area of 650 aq.m operational. Now we are more optimistic about the geographical expansion of our products. I mean we have started exporting Solari sunflower seeds.
To achieve this goal it is important to constantly improve quality, purchase proper equipment, and introduce special technologies to ensure quality production. Taking into account these factors I suppose this year already we will be ready to take steps in the export direction.
Overall, expansion is a strategic direction of the company together with the improvement of the quality of Solari’s products. I can say that what we had planned for 2019 we fulfilled.
Last year Solari introduced two new products. Have you increased Solari’s array of products this year as well?
Last year we introduced shelled peanuts and salted shelled peanuts. Taking into account the sales statistics of these new products, we can say that the customers were satisfied with them and the demand was high. Unfortunately, our partner that supplied us from abroad with raw materials left the market for unknown reasons. Now we are in search of a new partner, which will meet our criteria regarding quality. However, so far we have not found a new partner.
This year we began selling new products, which are premium quality sunflower seeds under the name ‘Premium Sunflower Solari’.
What is the market share of Solari and how have sales statistics increased?
Sales of Solari products increased by 9% in 2019 compared to 2018.
We have 22% of the Georgian market share.
The website of Solari is lacking information, and the company is not very active on Facebook. Why are you not more active on social media or online? How do you maintain communication with customers?
Creating a website for Solari is on our agenda this year. As for the social network, our Facebook pages work perfectly through which we have communication with our customers. Sales managers of every district or region are also involved in customer contact, the main purpose of which is to satisfy the customers and meet their needs.
Quality is always important for you and your company. But sometimes customers are not satisfied with the product. When reading the Facebook reviews some customers complain that sunflower seeds are not roasted properly and are burned. How would you respond to those customers?
In my opinion, the information received on Facebook or in other social networks about any company is not that reliable. And several negative opinions do not solve the brand or product is bad or good.
However, I would definitely like to point out that we carefully read reviews and any feedback from our customers and try not to take into account their complaints. But we had examples when two different customers had two different ideas about the same product. For some the product might be perfectly roasted, but for some – burned.
In general, Solari very rarely gets negative reviews. In most cases our customers love Solari sunflower seeds. But this fact does not allow us to be complacent and we are constantly working on technological development.
Congratulations on winning a Golden Brand award. This was the second Golden Brand win for Solari. What has been your impression – what led Solari to this success in your opinion?
Thank you very much!
The secret of our success is the high quality which is appreciated by our customers and is what has made them loyal to Solari for the past five years already. The Georgian market is saturated with locally-produced or imported products and it is difficult to maintain a leading position with such competition. However, so far our company has managed to maintain its leading position and is taking new steps to achieve new goals.
Golden Brand winner in the category of favorite sunflower seed company – Solari – has been operating on the Georgian market since 2014, when it first introduced roasted sunflower seeds for sale in packets.
Solari produces three types of sunflower seeds: roasted sunflower seeds; salty, roasted sunflower seeds; and shelled, roasted sunflower seeds. Also, Solari imports peanuts from China, processes them in Georgia and sells them locally.