29 Jul 2020 | 12.37 pm
SiSú Juice Pivots After Office Closures
Stay Healthy Boxes direct to consumers
29 Jul 2020 | 12.37 pm
SiSú Juice Company is a recent convert to e-commerce. The venture was started by accountant Brian McGann (62), chairman of Focus Capital Partners in Limerick, and had its origins around the McGann kitchen table, where Brian’s wife Fiona was a whizz making vegetable and fruit juices for their six children.
SiSú has been trading since 2015 and racked up sizeable losses in its early years. The company had very good retail connections – BWG’s John Clohisey was an investor – but the brand struggled to find retail traction.
In 2018, McGann appointed Jenny Mulvey as managing director, and she directed a sharper focus on foodservice and corporate accounts.
McGann says the business was on track for €2m turnover this year. Then came Covid-19. The juice entrepreneur, a founder of BDO Simpson Xavier, was on a family visit to Australia when word came through about the lockdown in Ireland, and customers emailing in cancellation orders for their closed offices.
On the long flight home, McGann decided that SiSú had to start trading online immediately, and within three weeks SiSú had a basic Shopify site up and running.
A strong growth area for SiSú had been employers who buy the juices for their canteens. “We contacted our business customers and asked them to email their staff offering them a 30% discount if they ordered SiSú online for delivery to their home,” says McGann.
“With some customers we did bulk deals for home delivery, including a bespoke offering priced at €30 per box for 300 boxes. Instead of almost shutting down, our sales are at about 40% of where they were before the lockdown.”
With the emphasis shifted from B2B to direct to consumer, SiSú has discovered the wonders of Instagram. The company is exploring UK sales too. When sending a juice box to his daughter, McGann discovered the dispatch cost to London was €8, not much more than the cost for deliveries in Ireland.
“We’re writing to Irish people we know who work in companies in England asking them to e-mail staff our offer,” says McGann. “We will also invest in a Google advertising campaign targeting the Irish living in London. There’s no guarantee of success but the extra cost is marginal because we’re not opening a factory or warehouse there.”
SiSú – the Finnish word for determination – used to make its own juices and kombucha before McGann outsourced the manufacture. Packaging and delivery is sub-contracted too, with in-house activity focused on sales, product development and administration.
As to why it’s taken so long for SiSú to embrace e-commerce, McGann remarks: “Someone said to me a very interesting thing a long time ago – there’s no progress without an obstacle.”
Photo: Brian McGann and his wife Fiona