2019.05.20 diff industry starting shop/biz.
Ichigo-no-Sato Co., Ltd. --- shop name: Strawberry Garden
Ichigo-no-Sato Co., Ltd. run a strawberry farm, and the company managed two strawberry picking shops and one sweets shop mainly using their own strawberry. When the company started this project, the company closed the sweets shop in 2018 summer, moved machines, equipment and furniture, and the company launched a new shop “Strawberry Garden” as a farmer’s market with Café.
We met Ichigo-no-Sato owner on the exhibition “Farmers’ processing & sales support Expo 2017” for the first time. The owner talked to us and participated our seminar (Proposing prosper sweets business) at our office showroom (“MAGASIN”). He worried about starting business because he wanted to realize his vision and dream of future, on the other hand, he had no financial leeway for the project. Finally, he decided starting Baumkuchen business with extraordinary determination. We had a total produce from designing a new building, the interior (shop and kitchen), logo, package to developing original baumkuchen products, instructing how to make them.
【The problem “Ichigo-no-sato” had at that time】
The original farmer’s market sold handmade sweets using strawberry, for example, roll cakes, chou-a-la-cremes, ichigo-daifuku, pudding, jam etc. There was a sixth sector industry -specific good flow customers who came to the farm for strawberry picking purchased the sweets.
However, the staffs were very tired because they continued to make mainly fresh products from opening shop to closing in strawberry busy season (December to May). On the other side, customers decreased in low season, only local people came to the shop, so the sales had its ups and downs.
Annual sales was not very bad, but increasing sales further generates more tiredness to manufacture sweets. The owner was wondering… “Continuing to make fresh sweets will cause a situation that our staff’s body cannot hold it. Are there any product that can fill the gap between busy season and low season, and can express the image of strawberry garden all throughout the year? ”
【Participate our “prosper proposing seminar”】
The owner and his wife came to Fuji Shokai office in hot and wet day of June, which strawberry garden’s busy season settles a little down. They participated our “Prosper proposing seminar” held regularly at our “MAGASIN” (showroom and atelier).
The seminar were held after the exhibition FOOMA in Tokyo, and companies in several kinds of industry such as famous sweets manufacturing company, noodles company, etc. participated our seminar. We proposed some hints for sweets business prosper by linking each interesting stories and strong points of participating companies.
Though the owner had been interested to Baumkuchen before, he asked us serious questions about whether other industry can success baumkuchen business, whether the business can solve his company’s problem, how the business is useful for his company’s future, etc. He also talked to us about hardships of starting strawberry farmer and his hot passion for the business on the dinner.
Next day, they and we visited prosper shops using our baumkuchen oven. The shops had obvious theme or ingredient, each different strong points were also obvious though of selling baumkuchen finally. They could find possibilities they did business with strength of strawberry garden.
Complexity of financing such as government subsidy or public finance institution and unexpected large cost for construction from the land caused a situation that the company might stop this project. However, many ingenious ideas for cost down, our propose of selling space and product variation for making more profit and the owner’s passion moved this project forward. Building area is next to original farmer’s market shop, is about 130㎡. New shop consisted of 50㎡ kitchen space, 40㎡ selling space, 13㎡ café space (15 seats) and 16㎡ chamber freezer. This plan’s cost was reduced by diverting machine and equipment using in original shop.
We proceeded pursuit of strawberry garden’s uniqueness and the proposing by research new brand image, how ambiance the owner wants, etc. We, Fuji shokai, discussed with each partner as contact company about design of wall, tapestries, product line-up, package design, etc. so that the owner’s idea and image were unified.
【Products development & Human development】
Because the owner and wife wanted to sell many variations of products which made use of original ingredients and local feature, candidates we proposed were more than 10 kinds of products. The owner and we considered that we trained 6 kinds of products at the first step so that ichigo-no-sato staffs could master how to manufacture certainly and we would train the products required a lot of work in the future.
Soft kuchen：Plain taste, matcha taste, strawberry taste
Hard kuchen：Plain taste
Attracting customers’ products：2 kinds of products (baking twice)
Cheese-in-baum using original strawberry or Iruma specialty citron
At last, the time had come to train in Kobe, but we were asked one additional request by the owner. This training in Kobe was not only for mastering how to make Baumkuchen but also for learning about all this project.
We reproduced planned selling space as actual size at Magasin, shared the owner’s mind and explained this project … “Why this project start?” “the shop building is…” “the image of shop is …” “how the shop and the products attracts customers?” “What line-up of our products?” in connection with present baumkuchen business circumstance. This became the training from the viewpoint of human development including advance preparation mentality for all staffs involved in Ichigo-no-sato new project.
At last, the Strawberry Garden shop opened!!
Though it was low season which strawberry has not grown up for picking, the starting sales was better than our and the owner’s expectation, the main sales consisted of cheese-in-baum and strawberry soft kuchen.
＜For your information＞
In the spring of 2019, we interviewed the owner, it was high season of strawberry picking, so the shop gathered a lot of customers for purchasing gift and a short rest, and it was more prosperous!! The staffs became busier with manufacturing fresh cake! However, baumkuchen, which is long-life product, contributes improvement of the shop’s busy situation.
【The owner’s voice: Decisive point for contract with Fuji Shokai and adopting Total produce】
It was the primary decisive point that Fuji Shokai is not only a supplier of baumkuchen oven as hardware but also the total producer of baumkuchen and sweets business. As the greatest point, Fuji Shokai has capable partners about shop design planning and package supply, so my idea and intension was transmitted to the partners smoothly by Fuji Shokai.
I appreciate Fuji Shokai’s prompt responses about design, construction, and other aspects though there is quite a distance between our company and Fuji Shokai. It was very helpful that all staffs (in particular, Fujinami executive director) responded very quickly.