Interview with Guri Guka Salukvadze, the company’s 25-year old founder.
Chirchkhela is a new Georgian Dried Fruit Brand. Though a wide range of products appears under its Owl logo, its slogan is very simple – “Enjoy”.
– Can you tell us about your product?
– Chirchkhela, is a Georgian dried fruit and vegetables manufacturer, producing 15 varieties of dried Georgian fruit and 10 varieties of dried vegetables, all organic.
I can tell you that Chirchkhela Looks After Your Health. Its salutary, healthy and delicious delicaciesare beneficial for your health and famous for their vitamin and energy content. Thy go well with wine and whisky, meat and fish and are used in health treatment and as gifts.
– Where did the idea for Chirchkhela come from?
– This sector does not have the traditions that others have. It was something I had to start from scratch. Eventually one thing simplyled to another and I couldn’t get the idea of working in agriculture out of my head.
I have always had a healthy lifestyle, and despite my busy schedule I still pay frequent visits to gyms, where trainers put us through various exercises and nutritionists provide dietary supplements. Dried fruit plays a pretty significant part in these.
Dried fruit is a delicacy, and so is hard to find at both good quality and reasonable price. So I decided to create something valuable, a natural product wholesome and enjoyable for people of my age, for kids and for those who want healthy snacks.
Dried fruit contains calcium, has high energy value, enhances concentration, improves memory, has healing features and makes a great gift.
– How did you turn your idea into a business?
– I undertook trainings, master classes and consultations with professionals in the field. Then we developed our product range, and now we manufacture a variety of Georgian dried fruits such as prunes, figs, peaches, apples, kiwi, melons, watermelons and grapes. We also produce tasty Georgian “Tklapi” and offer exotic fruits such as pineapples.
“Chirchkhela” dried fruits are organic and without concentrates, and are thus at the top of the range. Our Head Technologist Konstantine Sarishvili sets and strictly controls product quality. The splendour of Georgia comes to you.
– Your trademark is rather unusual: why “Owl”?
– Our owl is a very interesting and creative logo, which is what I wanted. I did not need to discuss the logo much when we worked on the branding, but we had lots of suggestions about the name. I decided on Chirchkhela as this name captures the Georgian spirit. After we had set our objectives our designer Magda Gamkrelidze came up with the logo. Our Brand-book is much liked by everyone, and this is just the beginning, as I am supporter of unconventional marketing.
– Did you get any funding from the government?
– No, this is our family business and we created “Chirchkhela” with our own funds. But I intend to participate in state programmes in order to grow the business further. We plan to introduce another important innovation in the dried fruit industry which, with your permission, I will not reveal at this time.
– Where is your product available?
– Information about it went viral very quickly. Catering and events service companies made contact with us and embassies started making orders. Chirchkhela is attractive to foreigners due to its name and content. We receive private and corporate orders, prepare gift baskets and cases and also offer home delivery.
Chirchkhela is a high quality organic product with a distinctive design, creative packing and standard prices. Demand is rather high. We have opened our own shop at 33 Abashidze Street. Our products are displayed in fitness halls and through various marketing networks, and we are in the process of meeting export regulations. Chirchkhela dried fruit is given the highest accolades by our customers.
We held a Chirchkhela presentation and tasting at the Georgian Times National Business Awards Ceremony – an event attended by the heads of Georgia’s top companies, ministers, ambassadors, government officials and media representatives. This once again proved the significance of our product, and that a Georgian, natural and wholesome product is vitally important for our customers.
Chirchkhela received high assessments at the ceremony; I am proud to make a Georgian product customers are satisfied with. It is the outcome of round-the-clock toil, but everything is still ahead of us. We are ready for business partnerships and interesting challenges.
– How can interested persons contact you?
– Our Facebook page Chirchkhela advertises our entire product range. The webpage www.chirchkhela.ge is under construction. Those interested in making orders can call 571 11 12 33, or visit our shop, here we have our full assortment: dried fruits and vegetables, real grape syrup, hazelnut and walnut churchkhela, tklapi and tklapi with walnuts, natural Georgian tea, natural honey from a monastery, jam, Georgian wine,brandy and Tushetian chacha treatment cocktail.
“Life is delicious with Chirchkhela”