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How IRVINS Founders Went From Struggling To Stay In Business To Experiencing Explosive Business Growth

IRVINS is an award-winning gourmet Singaporean salted egg snack brand founded by Irvin Gunawan.

The food business outfit specializes in chef-crafted gourmet chips and crispy upcycled salmon skin snacks made in small batches using real whole food ingredients commonly found in Southeast Asian culinary dishes. Often referred to as “the parmesan of Asia,” salted egg is a savory umami-flavored seasoning that has been a staple in Asian cuisine since the sixth century.

The business which is being run by Irvin and two of his brothers have been able to experience explosive growth despite the set back the business experienced during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Irvins said, “The last two years of the pandemic was a challenging time for us because our snacks were mainly sold in our mall stores and pop-ups. When COVID hit and the malls had to close suddenly we lost the majority of our revenue. That forced us to distribute our products more widely through different channels, including supermarkets, convenience stores and online. This method allowed us to grow our distribution to 12 countries, which made the brand — because of our distribution pivot — more diversified and resilient.”

The company was able to devise new strategies that will ensure that business activities was ongoing when their major business location(malls) had been affected by the lockdown.

The company which had been in existence since 2008, launched out in 2016 as the world’s original salted egg snack brand and have gone from having a dedicated, cult-like following in Singapore to being one of the most popular snack brands in Asia and, more recently, have expanded into new global markets including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S.

Irvins advises entrepreneurs to stay focused on the vision, devise means on how to connect with their target audience and how to gain market acceptability rather than paying attention to external things that will require getting huge amounts to achieve.

He said, “most of my previous failed projects are the ones where we spent too much to make the store/restaurant too big, too grand, too lavish, too unnecessary.”

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