One minute with… Savsé founder Guka Tavberidze
Inspired by family recipes, smoothie brand Savsé has achieved multi-million-pound revenues. We talk business with its founder in this quickfire Q&A
Smoothies are a huge sector of the health food market but it's no secret that many brands are not as healthy as they claim to be.
In fact, many smoothie brands pack their drinks with sugar and treat them with nutrient-damaging heat pasteurisation.
Having grown up in a health-conscious family, Guka Tavberidze became distrustful of the existing smoothie products available in shops. Inspired by his mother's homemade smoothies, which would be cleverly crammed with greens hidden beneath flavours of fruit, in 2011 Tavberidze decided that he would bring a better option to market.
Following an investment from his uncle, Tavberidze set about building Savsé; an all-natural drinks brand containing minimal sugar and treated with high pressure processing (HPP) which doesn't diminish nutritional content.
Within two years of launch, Savsé had secured listings with Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Planet Organic, and Whole Foods; testament to the widespread appeal of low-sugar smoothies.
Today, Savsé has generated £13m in value sales and added ASDA, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Boots to its roster of stockists. It has also become an award-winning brand with accolades at The Grocer New Product Awards in 2013, 2014 and 2015, a FreeFrom award, numerous Great Taste Gold Stars, and recognition as one of DEFRA’s 50 Food Stars in the UK.
So what has Tavberidze learnt from Savsé's rapid success, and what advice does he have to offer to budding entrepreneurs? Find out in this quickfire 60-second interview…
What is your golden rule of business?
That in business, there is no such thing as a mistake. I’ve always accepted that everything happens for a reason and I try to identify why and learn from it.
Best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
That networking is more powerful than knowledge. It’s not what you know but who you know.
One thing you wish you’d known when you started Savsé?
To relax and enjoy the journey as I was on to something huge!
The biggest challenge or obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Not knowing what to do with the business idea initially when starting up. What I’ve learned is that it’s about what you are willing to do to make it happen despite inexperience.
Entrepreneur you most admire?
Steve Jobs. He was a bit like me at the beginning as he was misunderstood for his passion and for being overly strict. He was a perfectionist and believed in surrounding himself with the most talented people possible.
Entrepreneurial company you most admire?
Apple; it is the leader in innovation across the world.
Business achievement you’re proudest of?
There have been many, but seeing the difference we’ve made to people’s lives has been the biggest achievement of all.
No regrets, just business lessons.
Where do you go for trusted business advice?
Business books; I prefer to read and do my own research. Over the years I’ve learnt that regardless of what advice anybody gives you, things will go wrong and that when things go wrong it’s actually a good thing.
There is a lesson in everything as long as you don’t get discouraged. Accept what’s happened, ask yourself the right questions to identify why it’s happened and respond by never giving up, giving your all and always finding a way that works.
What metrics do you monitor most in your business?
I monitor everything – some might say I’m a control freak!
Having generated £13m in value sales over the past years, what are your words of advice for businesses looking to scale quickly?
I’ve always believed in doing things the right way, being totally honest with myself and never cutting corners. When starting Savsé the key focus was ‘WHY am I doing this?’ And if the answer isn’t strong enough then you shouldn’t be starting anything.
From the outset my ‘why’ was driven by the fact that I believed there was an opportunity to change the drink industry for the better by giving consumers a product that was made differently and would help them live a healthier lifestyle.
If you were PM for the day, what would be the one thing you’d change for entrepreneurs?
I would support small businesses that focus on innovation, as I believe those that want to make a difference are the lifeblood of society.
Learn more about Savsé and the story behind the healthy smoothie brand at www.Savsé.com