Georgian family-run business making millions in UK

Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze speaks about his successful smoothie business on BBC Business Live. Photo/screenshot of BBC interview., 09 Aug 2016 - 14:58, Tbilisi,Georgia

From humble beginnings in Georgia to running a multi-million dollar business in the United Kingdom (UK), Guka Tavberidze is taking it all in his stride and thanking his mother for the inspiration behind his business venture.

Savse is the fastest growing smoothie company in the UK and in just three years the company has turned into a $13 million dollar turnover business. The business has seen a 600 percent increase in sales in the past 12 months.

In 2013 Tavberidze founded Savse – a smoothie business that used his mother’s traditional recipes. The products are now sold in supermarkets all over the UK but the idea started 30 years ago in his mother’s kitchen.

Speaking on BBC Business Live, UK-based Tavberidze described how he wanted to keep his smoothies authentic and full of nutrition, and why they were better than other similar products on the market.

The first question I asked myself was why wasn’t any other companies making smoothies that are raw and nutritious the same way as my mother was making in the kitchen. The drinks were heat pasteurized or made with powders or all sorts of additives [and added sugar] so there was definitely a gap in the market,” he explained.

The word Savse in Georgian means "crammed full of goodness”. Photo of Savse's products from the company's Facebook page.

In Savse’s method, fruit and vegetables are cold pressed not heat pasteurized so the nutrients are not broken down during the heating process but without compromising taste, quality and nutrition of the drinks.

"Initially I was advised that pasteurization was the only way, and if I didn’t follow through with this method then I wouldn’t have a business. But I absolutely refused purely because I wanted to stay faithful to the consumers … and to the values of my mother and the way she was making it in her kitchen.”

This method of production makes Savse products unique, says Tavberidze, who is also the company’s chief executive.

The word Savse in Georgian language means "crammed full of goodness”.

In the five minute segment, the BBC presenters explained how the business came to light – Tavberidze’s mother was pregnant and had to start making her own smoothies to combat iron deficiency and to generally stay healthy.

Taking the business from the kitchen to the market was "very challenging but very exciting at the same time”, said Tavberidze.

It was roughly about five years ago that I wanted to start something of my own. Earning a living wasn’t enough anymore. I wanted to start something with the right values and watch it grow into something spectacular. But I literally had no idea where to start. I had no FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) experience and no degree, just a normal guy with a dream of wanting to do something of my own.”

"At Savse I experienced really humble beginnings. For the first two years of setting up the brand and launching it in January 2013, I was actually sleeping on my mother’s couch, which was also my meeting room, bedroom and everything in the living room.”

So it was quite challenging but as an early entrepreneur you’re willing to do whatever it takes.”

Watch the full BBC Business Live clip below.