Business Time, a local media outlet with the focus on business and economy, is striving to attract more readers, increase its rating and establish itself as a reliable and vocal news agency.
Read below to find out more about the plans and goals of Business Time in an interview with Editor-In-Chief, Levan Chitanava.
Q. Business Time is a newly created media outlet. The market is saturated with different online media outlets offering various content. Why did you decide to start Business Time?
A. The main motivation for our decision was to do what we know how to do and what we wanted to do. The market may be saturated with online publications, but we are confident that we will find our place and our voice soon. The goal is also to provide readers with more information about business Georgia.
Q. You said that Business Time will find its place soon. What will it be in your opinion, what is your goal?
A. Although our agency has been established for several years, the pandemic situation slowed down our plans, but we believe the best is still ahead of us.
In January we completely updated our website, introduced a modern design and new sections. We make a kind of fresh start, with a new attitude and more potential. Of course our goal is to attract more readers and establish closer cooperation with businesses. We have many plans for the future, and our team is working 24/7 to achieve that goal.
We are considering adding small interviews on interesting topics to the video section, which we think will further promote our outlet.
As trade relations with China grow, we are considering the possibility of adding Chinese language along with English to our website.
Since 2023 large businesses have also started cooperating with us, which is a sign that we are slowly but surely moving in the right direction. The trust expressed by the business is an incentive for our team to be more in shape and live up to expectations. Our main focus is to be everywhere there is business.
Q. Business Time is mainly involved in covering business and economy related issues. Why did you choose this sphere?
A.Our priority is business and economics, although we do not limit ourselves to this.
One of our important points of reference is society - we are active in this direction as well, and of course we have a special section "Ukraine", which everyone is very interested in, and within this section we try to cover the economic situation of the country at war and what is happening directly on the front line.
Regarding your question of why economics and business — we have a lot of experience in this field. In 2011-2016 we published a business magazine with Azerbaijani investments, which was analytical and was published in the English and Russian languages. In 2016 the investor decided to leave the Georgian market, and we reinvested our experience in an information agency that will definitely have the last word!
Q. What is the role of the media today in the “information war” and how difficult is it to maintain the standards of journalism and ethics and fight propaganda?
A. Today media is quite diverse, the competition is high and the standard in our segment is increasing, which is only welcome. As they say, competition only strengthens.
Fighting propaganda is not an easy task, but when you rely on the primary source and bring verified information to the reader, after some time you get proper feedback, which is called trust. You should never offer false information to the reader, so by spreading the right information, you fight propaganda and at the same time gain the trust of the reader, which is the most important point for us!
Today in Georgia too many media outlets openly state their position, and the media seems to be divided into two parts — opposition and government. This kind of media environment was one of the reasons why we decided to place more emphasis on business, economy and other public topics and to "withdraw" from politics as much as possible. Of course, all the issues are related to the politics in the country, including the topics that we focus on, although not to the same extent as some other media outlets.
We talk only in numbers, we try to be as neutral as possible, we are not financed by any political party, our income is advertising, and perhaps this is the main protection against being partisan. In our work it is necessary not to forget the ethics of journalism, and the more we learn it, the more it will affect the quality of work, and competition will become healthier.
Q. What is it like to be the head of a media outlet in Georgia today?
A. Leadership means responsibility. While other employees go home after performing daily work, the leader stays responsible for all the people on their team.
As a manager I believe that the main thing is teamwork, and my employees know this very well, since we discuss all important issues together. Employees must also enjoy their work and not just be in it for the money. Today we are a small team but with big ambitions. Ambitions that have objective foundations. You are a good manager when the agency works directly without your intervention in all the details, when the employees love their work and you create all conditions for the realization of this work.
Q. Please tell us why you decided to support the Golden Brand awards ceremony?
A. I would like to answer this question by first thanking the organizers for their cooperation.
It is very important for us to participate in such events in order to tell the business community who we are. Our ambition is to contribute to the success of the sector. It is most important to participate in Golden Brand where successful business representatives gather. This is a window of opportunity for us.
Q. How important are such events to the business sector of Georgia in your opinion?
A. The answer is unequivocal — of course, very important! Encouraging business is necessary, business that creates products, jobs and, what is also important, contributes a substantial amount to our budget in the form of taxes. And of course to establish direct business communication, which can become the basis of partnership in the future. Golden Brand can thus be called the “golden place” for businesses.
Q. Does Business Time itself have any encouraging activities for businesses in Georgia?
A. Yes. We have special offers for startups, we will prepare an article about them completely free of charge, then we create video stories for them and provide information support for a certain period of time. For us this is an investment in relationships, after strengthening the startup it can become our loyal and serious partner in the future.
Q. Levan, please tell us more about yourself as well — what else do you do besides Business Time?
A. I cooperate with international media, and work at Radio Maestro, where I host the business program Maestro's Business Time, the main focus of which is economy and business. There we provide listeners with more information about business in Georgia.
In addition, I provide PR consultations to various companies in the country.Read more
Georgian customers’ favorite children’s clothing store ‘Bebe +’ plans to expand in Georgia and make its latest collections available in all corners of the country through online sales and opening new stores, which is “on the list of our future plans”, Director of Bebe+ Nana Chitava told Golden Brand.
As of today there are eight Bebe+ locations in Tbilisi, two in Batumi, and two in the third largest city of Georgia, Kutaisi.
Bebe+ provides clothes for children from 0 to 15 years old, and in 2022 the company added a line for men and women. Clothes for men and women are currently available only in the Bebe+ Gallery located on Aghmashenebeli Avenue in Tbilisi.
Today all leading brands that produce children’s clothes can be found under the roof of a single store, Bebe+, which has cemented itself as the leading children’s clothing store in Georgia.
During the lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, Bebe+ started selling online via Facebook. This was its solution to surviving the crisis, Chitava says.
The dynamic development of Bebe+, recognized today as the number one brand in its segment by the Golden Brand awards, started about 20 years ago when two sisters Nana and Inga Chitava launched the business with a seven square metre store in Bazroba, a large open air market in Tbilisi.
In that little space there was everything – a trading table, colored laminate walls, bubbles, a logo. The space was decorated in such a way as to catch the eyes of children.
“Even today when Bebe+ is represented by several stores I still am involved in every small detail. This might be related to the decoration of the shop window or the music that is played at our stores,” Chitava believes.
Success in the childrenswear market means understanding the industry and your place in it, Chitava says, and that “hard work” and an “honest approach to the most sincere customers”, children, will never escape attention. In her words, it is exactly this that has brought the Golden Brand award to the company.
“The main advantage of Bebe+ is that we are a customer-oriented brand. We try to make all of our offers, products and campaigns tailored to customers. Bebe+ is a network of stores that represents numerous children’s clothing brands. Thanks to our sincere policy and niche, we have gained a lot of love from our customers,” Chitava says.
While talking about the success of her brand, Chitava does not forget about the cohesive team of Bebe+.
“They are very loyal. They love the brand, their work, children, and everything that they do. I appreciate their attitude towards my business, which has become our business,” she says.
Q. Golden Brand is given to companies for successful operations in the previous year. 2022 was important for Bebe+ as the company completed rebranding and launched a new line for men and women. How have all these developments affected the brand’s operations?
A. Bebe+ has been offering high-quality clothing and accessories to society for over 20 years, although it was primarily represented by a line of children's clothing. After the pandemic we were able to add new branches and offer the consumer a collection of women's and men's clothing, which is frequently updated and, as of today, includes several hundred brands.
Being on the market for over 20 years and maintaining the leading position is not an easy task and is impossible to achieve without constant development. You should always look for opportunities around you, always think about what to offer your customers and how to attract the new ones. You should build a strong company to be able not only survive but to manage and take the leading position in the market, which is saturated with many similar businesses.
So last year’s activities were part of our main agenda — to keep the position of number one children’s clothing retailer on the market. Of course this helped us attract more customers, increase sales and strengthen our position on the market.
We did face some lingering post-pandemic problems — stores were closed, which had a direct impact on the decline in sales. But we managed to switch to online sales and started to deliver products to customers smoothly. And for the post-pandemic period, we were able to fulfil almost all the planned goals, open new branches, expand staff, add new brands and more.
Q. The fact is that Bebe + enjoyed more successful developments which resulted in the Golden Brand award. What do you think, how does the company manage to keep this award and the title of N1 favourite brand of the customers?
A. Our company is constantly focused on innovations and reforms, but at the same time it is very important not to lose the quality that customers have become accustomed to over the years. We believe this balance is precisely the reason why we have retained the Golden Brand Award.
Q. Have online sales increased at the company?
A. We evaluate online sales very objectively and at the same time critically, although it must be said that our website is in an active phase of development — the design has been changed and rebranded completely. The updated version of the website has met our expectations, as awareness and demand for online shopping have increased.
Through the website we were able to deliver our products to the regions as well, and to send orders outside the country. I think this is a very good result achieved in this short period of time the website has been in operation.
Q. Bebe+ offers very affordable prices to customers. How do you manage to keep prices low despite such high inflation rates?
A. Stable prices for the consumer has been and remains one of our primary goals. Our team works tirelessly, and luckily we have managed to maintain the existing customers and even attracted the new ones in this competitive environment in the market.
In order to ensure stable prices we are in constant communication with our partners outside of Georgia. Negotiations with suppliers are non-stop, and we try our best to keep prices low for our customers.
The playful bear-shaped snack, Barni, the “friend of little ones” as it’s called in Georgia, has won the Golden Brand award in the category “favorite snack cake with packaging”.
Owned by the world’s largest snack company Mondelēz International, Barni is “baked to perfection”. Its soft biscuits have no artificial colors or preservatives. They’re approved for children from the age of three and can contribute to healthy snacking if eaten as part of a balanced diet.
In this edition we met Nina Tevanian, Manager Sales Operations for Mondelēz Georgia, who briefly summarized 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 in an interview for Golden Brand.
Q. Georgian customers have named Barni their favorite snack cake with packaging this year. What brought Barni this recognition, in your opinion?
A. First of all, Barni is a delicious and wholesome bear-shaped soft cake, made of simple ingredients, that kids love and parents trust.
Last year we maintained our portfolio and kept up media support for the brand in Georgia with increased focus on bloggers and digital media to drive our “Barni has no secrets” campaign among parents.
Q. Golden Brand is given to brands following successful operations of the previous year. Please summarize 2022.
A. It was a turbulent year for all of us, but we managed to change sourcing quickly and put the product on shelves for our consumers. I would like to emphasize that this was the whole team’s achievement — sales, logistics, customer service. We all worked as one family and supported each other.
Q. Can you share sales statistics of 2022 compared to 2021?
A. It was a very successful year for Barni with double-digit growth on the market.
Q. How has the year 2023 begun for your company, and what are your expectations?
A. We started this year with a new equity campaign which continues embracing simple ingredients & kitchen logic that enhances Parents Trust and is fundamental to our high- quality product credentials.
New Barni Equity also stretches the brand into more fun, playful, “curiosity driven” territory to drive engagement with end consumers – kids and their families.
So there’s no doubt we will continue expanding Barni’s appeal and relevance with our consumers.
Q. What are some recent developments of Barni as a brand? Please share the brand's progress here.
A. Barni has been evolving to stay up to date with changing consumer needs, and last year we upgraded the packaging design, making it more iconic and stand-out. Barni as the brand that “Fuels Kids Curiosity” will offer parents and kids cool “edutainment” content through Augmented Reality on every pack via QR codes.
A. Please tell us about future plans for Barni in Georgia. Do you plan to introduce new products to Georgia and which would those be?
A. Though Barni has no secrets, we cannot disclose any innovations for the future. All I can share is that we will definitely increase our media visibility across all channels.
Q. How are you going to deepen Barni's presence on the Georgian market? What is the company's growth strategy for Georgia?
A. We are keeping focus on simple ingredients and big seasons for Barni – back to school and Christmas - with great gifting sets nurturing playfulness and childrens’ curiosity.
Q. Please tell us what makes Barni unique and why Georgian customers love it.
A. Frankly, beyond being just a really great-tasting soft cake, it is a great brand that is trusted by millions of parents for quality standards and loved by millions of kids for “only Barni can do” activities that fosters curiosity and parent-child quality time.
Georgia’s leading development company, Archi is currently involved in construction projects across nearly all districts of the capital city of Tbilisi, with plans to expand into new developments in Rustavi, as well as coastal and mountain resort areas throughout the country.
Archi has become the most sought-after development company in the region, with a sterling reputation for reliability and stability. Since its foundation in 2006, Archi has completed 43 residential projects, providing more than 30,000 residents with a combined completed living space of over 805,000 sqm. Additionally, the company currently has 20 ongoing projects.
In the past year alone, Archi has completed seven projects and launched six new ones. As of 2022, approximately 1,700 families have chosen Archi. The company has also achieved record-breaking sales, with 151 apartments sold in a single day at the Archi Kikvidze Park project.
CEO of Archi Shio Khetsuriani summarized Archi’s recent development on the Georgian market in an interview with Golden Brand.
Q. Archi has become the favorite development company of Georgian customers and experts participating in the Golden Brand survey. What led the company to this success, in your opinion?
We express gratitude for the esteemed Golden Brand award, and we are honored that Archi has been selected as the preferred development company for two consecutive years.
Our residents' well-being and satisfaction are Archi’s main priorities and we strive to create a premium and comfortable living environment for them. Quality is one of the primary reasons why our residents opt for Archi.
Our relationship with the residents does not conclude with the purchase of an apartment; instead, it marks the beginning of a journey of building and strengthening our relationship. We celebrate almost all the holidays together and organize various events to acquaint our residents with each other. This year, we are planning even more activities to further enhance our extended family's bond.
Furthermore, we are proud to announce the opening of our newest office at Tamarashvili Street, located in the Archi Central Park building. Our customers can now choose from four convenient locations to visit us - the Tbilisi Concert Hall building, Gldani Home Office, Isani Home Office, and the Archi Central Park building on Tamarashvili Street.
Q. The latest reports and statistics show that the price of residential apartments is on the rise in Georgia due to a 25% increase in cost for construction materials. What is the price policy at Archi?
According to the latest statistics the average price of residential apartments has increased. Along with the increase in the cost of real estate on the market, the price of construction materials and human resources also increased, so the prices of apartments in Archi increased by about 10%-12%.
Q. After achieving success in residential building construction, Archi is now getting into the construction of hotels and apart-hotels. The company has managed to establish cooperation with the world’s leading brands in this sector. Please tell us about this.
We have established strategic partnerships with some of the world's foremost international brands, including Wyndham and Accor, and have planned to construct hotels in various locations throughout Georgia, including the Black Sea resort city of Kobuleti, the wine region of Kakheti, and the small town of Sioni near Tbilisi.
In collaboration with Wyndham, we are engaged in the development of a multi-functional apart-hotel, the Ramada Residences by Wyndham in Batumi. Similarly, with Accor, we are proud to announce that Georgia's first Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is set to open in Kobuleti in 2028. We are confident that these hotels will significantly contribute to the promotion of the resort amongst both international and domestic travelers, and we express our gratitude to our partners for their trust.
Moreover, we have exciting plans for future projects, including the initiation of a new residential complex in Rustavi, which we will commence this year.