Nearly 20 years in the market, through many business fields, female entrepreneur Luong Thanh Thuy pondered how to contribute to improving Vietnamese agricultural products.
Young, enthusiastic, not afraid of difficulties, determined to go to the same path that I have chosen … are some points about the General Director of Luong Gia Food Technology Corporation. From a marketer of dried fruit in Vietnam, she persevered in researching and developing products in a safe and nutritious manner.
At present, Luong Gia dried fruits, nutritious seeds, oatmeal are no stranger to Vietnamese families and conquer difficult customers in Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, Republic of Czech …
|Heard, business blood has infused her since she was a child?
Ms. Luong Thanh Thuy: My family is originally from Tan Chau, An Giang. When I was young, my father opened a dental clinic, which was very famous in the area. Later, the elderly father no longer did dentistry but moved with his mother to buy and sell agricultural products, mainly rice.
On the summer holidays of my elementary school years, I would love to go buy junk food and then set up a small tray like those who play with goods, to sell to my father’s dental clinic.
I also like to cook. After graduating from high school, my relatives advised me to study Pedagogical University in the field of housework, but I prefer to study business and chose Economics University, majoring in business administration.
In 2000, my family moved to Saigon. At that time, the printing industry was developing well, and there was a relative working in the profession, so the parents set up the printing packaging company. My parents are old so only worked as a manager, and my two brothers had to tinker with learning by themselves and doing various things. Graduated from university, I officially work at the family printing company. The work here is technically inclined, so I don’t like it, always burning my intention.
Since when did she officially start her career and her predestined relationship with dried fruit came from?
Ms. Luong Thanh Thuy: In 2004, I started my own business and opened a restaurant specializing in beef dishes on Ho Xuan Huong Street (District 3). The reason for opening a restaurant is because I love to cook and like to create new dishes. On student vacations, I often take cooking courses at the Women’s Cultural House, HCMC. Ho Chi Minh City, used to cook parties or buy cook books in the spare time.
The restaurant is designed with green tones, the menu includes beef dishes with many sauces made by me. However, the premises rented up to 1,200 USD / month, but Ho Xuan Huong street which was only suitable to open a coffee shop, so a year later I had to come back to return to support my family’s business.
Some time later, I started my own business. My family used to trade agricultural products and I want to start from here. At that time, there was a cousin who made seeds in An Giang and I decided to make chao to make use of his distribution channel.
After going to the Food Technology Institute for research and technology transfer, because I did not have much capital, I rented a factory in Chau Thanh district, more than 60 km from Saigon. More than a year later, when I was able to do business, I confiscated the factory, causing me to relocate my production base to Binh Duong.
It’s been two years since I sold chao in supermarkets like Co.opmart, Big C … but I found the industry difficult to expand and had to compete directly with small businesses. In the middle of that time, when I happened to have a younger brother go to Thailand to bring back some dried fruit, I tried it and came up with an idea to make dried fruit instead of Tet jam.
The start seems favorable, surely the path of the dried fruit Luong Gia is also smooth sailing?
Ms. Luong Thanh Thuy: I thought it was so arduous. After successfully working in the lab, I decided to try a ton of dried fruit to sell to the market during Tet. Renting a 500m2 factory, I started to produce (mostly mangoes) but for a while I found the product to be hard and discolored. Through many improvements, I found that if the raw material is ripe fruit, it tastes better. Bringing this proposal to the lab, they said it couldn’t be done, so I had to tinker with myself.
Near Tet, I put 7 tons of dried fruit into the supermarket. No promotion, no marketing so no one knows to buy. Many inventory and color down. By January the supermarket sent back some trucks. Several billion dong poured into the river. Seeing that there was no other sales channel, it was so sad that my husband gave an ultimatum: “If I do not sell in 1-2 months, I will close the factory door.”
Then want to be brainstormed. The restaurant had to be removed, the chao workshop was also returned to his cousin. Unable to surrender, continue with the dried fruit. Determined to do, I continue to research and improve quality while also offering and selling.
For a long time, I went to the market every morning and went to the factory for lunch. Going to offer goods at Ben Thanh market, customers who buy half a kilogram also sell, so do An Dong and Binh Tay markets. Guests find it delicious, recommend one another, especially tourists, overseas Vietnamese love. Products that day though not as good as now but on the market almost no competition should sell well.
Fortunately, there was a friend who is a Ph.D. in France who came to play and enthusiastically advised me on how to process and preserve the product. Thanks to her, I got an order from France. Returned on Tet 2009, about a year after Luong Gia’s dried fruit has the opportunity to return to the supermarket and then be exported to South Korea, China, USA, Russia, France, Mongolia…
|Before Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines had dried fruit, Luong Gia’s products were different?
Ms. Luong Thanh Thuy: Same as dried mangoes but Thai products are mainly made from raw (unripe) mangoes, additive and flavor. Luong Gia’s products are made from ripe mangoes, the sugar ratio is only 5%, drying is not too hard, retaining the full natural flavor.
Currently, Luong Gia has nearly 20 products of dried fruit (mango, papaya, pineapple, dragon fruit, guava, soursop…) and continuously have new products. In particular, dried passion fruit is a unique product that only Vietnam has.
Luong Gia currently has two factories in Nhon Trach and Long Khanh industrial zones (Dong Nai), with a capacity of more than 100 tons of fresh fruits / day with more than 500 workers.
All Luong Gia products are manufactured according to the supply chain, from the selection of high quality fresh fruits on the farm and processed using modern heat-drying technology.
Before launching to the market, all products are strictly censored, up to the standards of quality and food safety. Luong Gia continuously upgraded its factory to ensure food safety and hygiene according to the highest international standard currently known as BRC of Europe.
After more than 10 years of appearing on the market, now Luong Gia products are wearing a “new shirt” named Ohla. What can you share about this new name?
Ms. Luong Thanh Thuy: I am very passionate about this new name. Ohla sounds fun, isn’t it (laughs), both pictorial and pictorial, easy to read and easy to remember. Ohla also means a beautiful life, very suitable for “snacking” products of Luong Gia. I always want a beautiful life for myself and everyone.
Up to now, it seems that you still have a lot of heart for Vietnamese fruits?
Ms. Luong Thanh Thuy: Until now I can confidently identify myself as an “expert of dried fruit”, looking at the product and knowing what method people follow. Because I like to research and analyze to create and diversify products, I am not afraid of difficulties.
Vietnam’s agricultural products are rich and quality, but the life of the farmers making it is still very difficult. Improving production technology, diversifying products, expanding export markets is the best way to improve Vietnamese agricultural products. And this is exactly what I was always thinking.
From your own experience, what would you like to say to young people who are just starting out?
Ms. Luong Thanh Thuy: After finishing university, I went to work at my family’s printing company, so I did not have the experience in a professional working environment like some friends. But in return, I have practical experience from finding customers, markets to business managers.
Success has, failure has and the first lesson I learned is to be persistent and consistent with the path you have chosen. If there is only knowledge without creativity, there is no “strong love” for the job, it is difficult to make products that suit the needs of the market. Whatever you do, want to go to the end must have passion: Go ahead, there must be a way.
So what makes you most satisfied in your business journey?
Ms. Luong Thanh Thuy: It is Luong Gia who started to make a mark on the domestic and foreign markets. Going abroad, seeing my products well received by my customers. That emotion is not only pure joy of business people but also of pride because Vietnam has high quality dried fruits.
Along with dried fruit, Luong Gia is currently investing in the development of nutritious nuts and oatmeal
In Luong Gia, she is both in charge of sales and directly in charge of R&D. The husband is also responsible for organizing the production management and developing the input material area. How can she balance the business and the role of housewife in the family?
Ms. Luong Thanh Thuy: It is not easy, but not too hard. It is important to know how to organize to overcome your limits and achieve what you want.
I always work hard, but still spend time looking after my family and not “neglect” myself. I like to take my children to and from school every day, like to go to the market to pick and choose delicious dishes that suit my husband and children. On average, I spend 10 hours a day working, but when my family or my husband needs me, I am there.
What is the secret to keeping her fresh and relaxed?
Ms. Luong Thanh Thuy: Although I am very busy with my work and my family, I am still conscious of taking care of myself. While I wait for my children to take extra classes every Sunday morning, I usually sit with my friends on coffee or at the spa … For me, no matter what I do, I have to be beautiful every day (laugh). I am also a fashionista, like to make my own style. Just look at some new and strange fashion patterns, how tired and tired. Life is light, simple as that.
Thank you she!
Citing sources from theLEADER:https://theleader.vn/nu-tuong-luong-gia-va-khat-vong-nang-tam-nong-san-viet-1573443702102.htm