In our Makers and Doers stories, we introduce entrepreneurs, startups, SME’s and other Holvi customers. This time we met with Fruitkit, a Helsinki based company which delivers the best fresh fruits direct to their customers’ doorsteps. Wait...what? Fresh fruit in Helsinki?
A lot of entrepreneurs are born from the burning desire to do things better than before: seeing something that does not quite meet their standards and having the inspiration to make it better. They take the resources they have and bootstrap their way forward. Often the need an entrepreneur identifies and tries to fulfil with their business is something that they have encountered themselves. It’s a field where they have the know-how and personal need to actually solve the problem.
The need for better fruit
The need and know-how is also how Fruitkit got started. Two guys from South America came to Finland and noticed that they do not have access to kind of fruit they are used to. No fresh mangos from your own backyard nor is the public market stacked high up with variety of colourful exotic flavours. The soon-to-be Fruitkit founders, Fernando and Jean, were wondering whether great fruit was, in fact, available in Finland - and how they might be able to use their personalities to deliver, not just the best possible fruit - but also the best customer service around.
Of course, our unfair advantage was growing up in South America, surrounded by mango trees and outrageously large avocados. Our upbringing (and mothers) taught us how to spot the perfect fruit since we were kids!
- Fernando, Fruitkit co-founder
So, they founded a company to solve the need for fresh fruit in the Finnish market. This is why they have partnered with farmers and importers, to bring the best fruit in to your door. Fruitkit is a subscription service for fruit and fresh produce. For a monthly fee, the Fruitkit team selects the very best and freshest fruit available in Finland - then delivers it to our customers' door at no extra charge.
The Fruitkit founders have a very tight relationship with fruit importers. Fernando and Jean pay them a few initial visits to become familiar with the way they operate and to assess the quality of their produce. Fruitkit arranges weekly shipping to their distribution centers, where the fruit undergoes at least two more control checks for quality and freshness. Once there, it is cleaned, packaged and shipped to the best companies in Finland.
Fruit with personality and quality
These two outgoing south americans also wanted to harvest their social personalities in order to provide real good quality customer support. That is why every fruitkit is delivered personally to the customer. Fruitkit’s customers are both businesses and private households. Most of them are private customers - young professionals and families who are willing to pay a small premium for great quality and personal service. Even if most of their clients are private people, their bigger clients are companies, as Fernando explains: “Our client companies happen to make up a true who-is-who of Finland's best workplaces. We seem to have touched a fiber among companies who are not willing to compromise on their employees' well-being and satisfaction just to save a few bucks.” It is inspiring to see how passionate they are about keeping our customers happy. We at Holvi are also Fruitkit’s customer and, even though they have grown considerably during last two years, they are never afraid to pick up the phone and ensure that we are satisfied with their product and service.
With fresh fruit, often comes the challenge of fruit flies - we got a few of them in our office kitchen. But no worries! Jean was asking if everything is good on our side, so we mentioned the fruit flies and the situation was solved almost instantly with really effective fly traps. They were so good that some people even took a few of them home… there aren’t many office supplies worth stealing in from a paperless digital office, but fly traps are still useful!
These fruits are made for bootstrapping
Usually starting out a business needs “bootstrapping” - a way to move forward before there is real income, to make do with what you’ve already got. This real Maker and Doer attitude is demonstated in a lot of early stories of Fruitkit. How they in the beginning woke up 4am to get to the best and freshest fruit from the importers before they headed to their day jobs.
Before they got their own, proper fruit scale, they had to go with a pink Hello Kitty person scale. They would first weight one of the founders on the scale and then hand him the fruit bags in order to calculate the amount of fruit. Of course this was not the fastest and most effective way to do it, but it worked. It worked well enough for Fruitkit to get off the ground and upgrade their equipment.
Bootstrapping was also one the reasons why they chose Holvi for running their business:
We first registered for Holvi because of how easy and quick it is to set up an account. In less than 15 minutes, we were able to start invoicing our early customers, like a proper business. Over time, we have felt Holvi has grown with us. When we began our business (with just 70 EUR), Holvi proved to be the perfect tool to handle our finances. It has been services such as Holvi that have enabled us to turn that first 70 into 400 - and we haven't looked back since! We are now on track to hit over 300,000 EUR in revenue next year
- Fernando from Fruitkit
Future of fruits
In two years Fruitkit has grown from an idea to a proper business that employs handful of people and refreshes hundreds of people's lives with their nutritious snacks. During their years of working on Fruitkit, the founders have, of course, encountered new challenges that they want now to solve. When they started the business, they noticed there were not good digital tools to arrange logistics, coordination and scheduling of the fruit deliveries.
Fernando and Jean had to use extensive effort and time to get the Fruitkit of the ground because there was not easy-to-use tools that they could use for communicating and coordinating between Fruitkit, importers and delivery drivers. When they joined forces with a coder they had known for some time, papers and excel sheets were transformed into something that will change how deliveries are made in the future. The effective digital system they created for themselves has attracted interest amongst other companies as well.
“One of the reasons why it is hard to start a delivery business in Finland is the lack of effective digital tools that would allow you easily to arrange the backoffice and coordination for logistics. We noticed this and had to develop tools for our own use, but noticed others could benefit from them as well. We are currently looking into developing the tech to be a platform we could sell to other companies as well.”
- Fernando from Fruitkit
We at Holvi wish Fruitkit all the best with their future endeavours and thank them for all the refreshing and delicious fruit they have brought to our office.
You can contact Fruitkit through their website.