Culinary corporate gifts at Christmas and Easter are big business in Norway. Sve Profilgaver is one of the biggest specialists nationwide for the gourmet business – and at the same time a full-service promotional products agency that is internationally networked via the Eurimage group.
A summer like this one is not normal for Norway. Usually the winter lasts from October to April, in between it is milder – but not 30 degrees,” laughed Sveinung Sve, the founder, owner and CEO of Sve Profilgaver. “Due to the heatwave a lot more summer textiles are being ordered than normal – i.e. for spontaneous events. This is leading to bottlenecks at the printers, who were not prepared for the situation, but of course it also brings additional business.” So, in spite of the holiday season it literally is a hot phase for Sve Profilgaver. The next phase is close at its heels too because the Christmas business gets underway in the late summer – one of the company’s main pillars, which among others specialises in gourmet gifts. This is also where Sve’s roots lie: “I founded my company in 1982 under the name Sve Gourmet and sold salmon to customers in the capital city region. Gradually, further food products were added to the portfolio as well as sports and kitchen items, which I am also a specialist for today alongside the culinary segment,” recalled Sve. “I was the first company to offer gift hampers for the B2B business in Norway and I’m still one of the largest food suppliers to the Norwegian promotional products industry today.”
At the beginning of the millennium years Sve invested in two cold storage rooms – one for meat, one for fish – which are crammed full in the season, as is the storage space that spans approx. 3,500 m², which is located at the company’s headquarters in Sandvika, near Oslo. Around 300,000 products are permanently stocked here. Sve Profilgaver additionally has a corresponding licence to sell wine and beer – which is a rarity considering the strict Norwegian alcohol laws. All of the gift boxes are packed under the same roof. In the peak season the workforce of twelve permanent employees is supported by further temporary manpower. “I am probably the only company in Norway that offers the product, packaging and dispatch from one source,” explained Sve. “In addition to the end users, I partly also sell to my own competitors and the retail market.” For all target groups the same devise applies: Punctuality is the be all and end all. ”Our ability to deliver and absolute adherence to delivery dates is one of our most important assets,” reported Sve. “Because nothing is more annoying than a gift that doesn’t arrive on time.” This is a principle that not only applies for the seasonal business with gourmet goods for Christmas or Easter, because this is by no means the company’s only pillar. “The times when the orders more or less poured in on their own and almost 1,000 people visited our in-house show are also long gone in Norway, the market has changed,” commented Sve. “We did justice to this development at the beginning of the millennium by broadening our alignment and focusing much more heavily on haptic advertising than before. This was also reflected by our new company name: Sve Gourmet became Sve Profilgaver – the latter is a Norwegian word for ‘promotional product’. Today we are a full-service agency.”
Sve Profilgaver offers an overall package of creative solutions and services – from the product design, to the sourcing, through to the logistics and administration. “Most of the buyers are extremely busy and have many other tasks alongside procuring promotional products – so that’s why we try to convince them of our services. If we can save the customer time and money, the price is not the most important argument,” explained Sve, who also with a view to the suppliers doesn’t rely on doing a fast deal, but on longterm relationships instead: “Our supplier base hasn’t changed much at all over the decades. We don’t have to compare 100 product ranges so we can source a product for a few cents less – the solution for the customer is what counts.” Sve Profilgaver likes to discuss such solutions face-to-face: Several sales representatives serve the existing and potential customers, an employee is responsible for the booking and coordinates the representatives’ appointments. Several theme-related showrooms in Sandvika present a host of product ideas and concepts; four times a year the company invites guests to its open house day. Sve: “Around 100 companies attend the two-day event in October, and we discuss projects in a relaxed manner with them.”
The international Eurimage cooperative of which Sve Profilgaver is the Norwegian member is of great value for the company’s own marketing measures. The members of the holding company publish a joint catalogue together that appears with the branding of the respective member company in their own country. “Sve Profilgaver still publishes catalogues with four-digit circulations,” stated Sve, “but the marketing is at the same time moving fast in the direction of digital channels, due to a new generation of buyers and marketing decision-makers who don’t use catalogues anymore. A development that we are doing justice to with Eurimage, by developing new, digital tools.” Digitalisation is a major project internally too, which Sve Profilgaver has been pushing at full speed for several years. “We are developing a completely new, cloud-based and to a great extent paper-free ERP system, which is much more automated and digitalised than hitherto,” the CEO explained. “In future we want to combine the classic sales channels with the digital channels as efficiently as possible. This is a big challenge, but essential.” The gift hamper business has arrived in the digital era as well: A new website is planned where the customers can compile their gift hampers themselves, as well as the voucher service “Santa Claus Factory“, where the recipients choose their gifts and on entering a code can have them delivered. So, the signs are all looking good for the next hot phase straight after the hot summer. Sveinung Sve is indeed convinced: “2018 is going to be a good year.”
// Till Barth
photos: Till Barth, © WA Media (2); Sve Profilgaver (1)