In this blog article series we want to give you insights into our intense year 2017, in which we founded and built up our company Renjer Snacks AB to what it is now.
Even though our dream started already in the end of 2016, it was this year when things started to move in the right direction and our vision to manufacture own wild jerky from reindeer meat became slowly reality. Everyone that is considering to start a business will know that there are so many steps involved in all kinds of areas, from organizing the whole supply and production chain to legal issues with banks and the government. Sweden in particular did not make it easy for us to start our dream. Already in January, during our Master program in Lund, we wanted to start up our company. This eventually happened in April, after our co-founder Anton finally got his Swedish personal number. This is for us the number one learning during this year that you will find throughout this blog article: as an entrepreneur everything takes longer than expected.
So coming back to the interesting aspects of creating your own product: we needed to set the whole puzzle of elements together for Renjer to come to the market. This started for us in the long search for a reliable producer. Naturally, living in Sweden, we started to look on the local market, later extending our search to other Scandinavian countries. However, jerky is not a common product in Scandinavia yet. After more than a month of unsuccesful searching, two of our co-founders remembered their random meeting with a producer from Estonia on the Nordic Organic Food Fair in 2016. The globalization which makes it possible through low transportation costs to basically lead a company from one country even though most of the product is created somewhere else and the described lucky coincidence let us finally find our reliable production partner. These guys have 30 years of experience in manufacturing meat products and they really know their job. After we received the first samples from them, we knew that they were the right partner for us.
The Meat Supply
The next topic we had to figure out was meat supply. As you can imagine, we started to look for reindeer meat in the North of Sweden, more specifically in Lapland where the reindeer are located. However, you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to convince someone to sell small amounts of reindeer meat to you for an economically feasible price, especially if you don’t even have a registered company yet. These high prices were a real bummer to our initial plans of creating this product, because we were not 100% sure anymore if we could build a profitable business. In order to understand this a bit better we would like to give you an example: imagine we buy 100 kg of fresh meat for our reindeer jerky. First of all, it was of utmost importance to us to buy a high-quality part of meat with low fat and from a reliable source. When the 100 kg are delivered to us they are frozen, so they need to be defrosted and lose around 5%-10% weight. Another 5% – 10% are lost by cutting away the skins and other non-usable parts. This leaves us with approximately 85 kg of meat. During the drying process this amount loses around 2,5 times of its weight due to the evaporation of the water in the meat. The final outcome are approximately 34 kg of our jerky. Realizing this provided us with a challenge of profitability and pricing that we had to overcome. Anyway, finally we found a meat supplier in Northern Sweden that we established a fantastic relationship with. After visiting them during the summer we can be 100% sure to only receive the highest quality meat from them for fair market prices and most importantly, directly from the source in Lapland.
So as mentioned before, we understood that our high quality product would need to be priced comparable to other premium snacks like handmade chocolates or liquorice. In order to further emphasise our status as a premium brand we knew we needed an according packaging. After long discussions we decided to go for a box, the Renjer box that most of you will know by now. The designs were partly created by our founders Anton and Alex and partly by an agency in Dubai, that we knew through a good friend from our Master program. This is another example of how a broad network can be a huge supportive factor for every aspect of a business creation.
This was part 1 of our blog about Renjer’s year 2017. In the next part you will read about why we believe everyone who has the dream of becoming an entrepreneur should do so and furthermore we will give some more insights into our exciting sales trip.
Stay tuned, Your Reindeer Bois