The innovative SAVONT soap holder ensures that using hand soap is fun again. This ecological and aesthetic innovation comes from Phuc-An Tran, from the Kurfürsten Chapter (Amberg, Germany). He tells his story here, which is also a BNI success story.
BNI is an excellent platform for the development, design, production and marketing of products: A review
How often can a member say that their first customer was acquired through their chapter? I can, and it’s an incredible testament to the power of referrals.
My story begins with the realization of an everyday issue for all of us, but as a person with a strong sense of aesthetics, especially for me. When washing my hands it always bothered me that a bar of beautiful hand soap was left in the water after its first use. It almost made me a bit disgusted, and, on top of that, the precious soaps were getting used up too fast.
Even a beautiful soap dish did not change the situation. I had to clean the soap dish several times a day, and, of course, it would slip from my hand and fall with a crash into the sink.
Well, then, how about liquid soap? When you squeeze or pump a plastic bottle of liquid soap, water from your hands flows down the sides of the bottle, and a greasy, slippery ring of soap forms directly on the edge of the sink or washbasin. In addition, I really did not want to use a plastic bottle.
The soap belongs in the sink
I considered where a bar of solid soap could ideally be positioned. I thought: It should not accumulate dirt, it should look aesthetically pleasing, and it should not make a mess on the washstand. Finally, I realized: The soap belongs inside the inner basin of the sink and not on the outside. Thus, all the hand movements in hand washing could take place within the sink, and no water would splash outside.
So I was very close to the solution. I had to find parts that would allow attaching a bar of soap inside a sink basin. With the SAVONT soap holder, I found the answer.
Soap floats, thanks to BNI
Through my years of membership in BNI, I have learned to make contacts, approach people with projects and openly ask for support. So, I quickly found the first contacts necessary to develop a prototype. I was able to accomplish the development of the SAVONT brand, the creation of packaging and many other aspects of marketing with trusted partners within the BNI network. Also, with my BNI connections, the first production series was created. I do not believe that it would have been possible to create the product so quickly and bring it to market without my valuable BNI network. Ultimately, we founded SAVONT out of our existing company and even found the appropriate notarial advice within BNI.
Regarding sales, the regular 60s presentations have trained me to introduce my product in the shortest possible time, an essential point if you only have a short time in contact with a customer when networking. So I am grateful to BNI for the genius of this system and its Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, Dr. Ivan Misner.
In addition, BNI also propelled My business by:
- Introducing me to the French market: During a holiday at the French coast I contacted Anne Lescure, Director Consultant of Region Terre Atlantique. She knew an important soap manufacturer in her region which is today our biggest customer in France.
- Giving me an improved focus on Public Relations: Before I was weak in PR work. However, that changed after participating at the German national conference. There I received the important recommendation to a PR agency specialized on bathroom appliances. Together, we developed and launched a strong and impressionable PR campaign. I would have never gotten in touch with this business expert without having been at the national conference.
- Finding a way to save costs at #BNIGC18: A competitive pricing structure is crucial to survive in the global market. I attended BNI’s Global Convention 2018 and went to the ‘Local Business Global Network’ Session. There I met Benjamin Delagoutte an expert in cost reduction. We started a project to further reduce the cost of production of the soap holder and to develop additional variations of the product.
- Giving me exposure: Finally, I booked a booth at the Trade Show of BNI’s Global Convention. The visibility helped me to get in touch with several international soap manufacturers and to conduct deep conversations on how to develop each others business.
SAVONT – a contribution to the aesthetics of soap and the environment
I am happy with my soap holder because it exploits the positive aspects of solid soap: aesthetics, beauty in use and cleansing effect. In the past, soaps had to be left in wet soap dishes, or the soap holder had to be drilled into the wall. With the SAVONT soap holder, the soap is tidy, dry and directly accessible, all without polluting the environment.
Speaking of pollution: When we look into our trash cans, we see how much plastic waste our lifestyle produces. Solid bar soaps stand in stark contrast to liquid soap, which requires a plastic container. Maybe this is the best reason of all for solid bar soap.
Our Steps to Globalize
A product lives only as long as it’s growing, and we plan to GROW. Our target market is comprised of producers of solid bar soaps worldwide, especially in Europe, the USA, Canada, Russia, Japan and South Korea.
My goal is to develop a cheaper yet still aesthetic version of the SAVONT soap holder so that it can be offered in lower-income countries – where people can conserve their solid bar soaps for as long as possible.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to ask the BNI members who supported me on this journey to take a bow:
Marketing: Harald Graf, Chapter Kurfürsten, Germany
Photography and crucial contact during the production: Marcus Rebmann, Kurfürsten Chapter, Germany
Stories and Emotionalization: Harald Koisser, Donautor Chapter, Austria
Printed by Burkhard Wehmeyer, Leineweber Chapter, Germany
Cost Reduction: Benjamin Delagoutte, Chapter Lannion Breizh Business, France
Sales: Numerous BNI members who provided contacts and motivation
PR: Frank Beushausen, Chapter Remarque, Germany
Many, many thanks to you all!