‘Old Start-up’: VPMilk owner Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong seeks ‘adventure’, not just profit

, ‘Old Start-up’: VPMilk owner Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong seeks ‘adventure’, not just profit

“Briefly speaking, I don’t have a personal threshold limit as I am aware of opportunities everywhere. Even in challenges, there are opportunities. I’m not afraid to enter the big game since I have experience, I’ve made quality products, and I don’t put making profits as the top priority. If I am interested in profits, I can try doing other businesses that may offer fewer adventures.”

 

‘Old Start-up’

Starting VPMilk at a late time when the diary market was thought to be “fixed” under domination by “big bosses” in Vietnam and other countries, you still decided to enter this challenging business field among such dominant competitors. Why?

First, doing business in the diary market is very difficult and sensitive because it is an especially important product for children, the future generation of the nation. Second, consumers are accustomed to some current brands. But, in fact, it is still a big, “monotonous” picture of Vietnamese milk with fewer than five brand names.

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A beautiful garden needs a diversity of flowers. It is the same for the milk market. Each product line always has its own target audience. From the user’s perspective, I think there should be more options. In fact, more businesses participating in the dairy market will better serve consumer interests.

Simply speaking, this is the time when I feel that every factor has reached the necessary maturity to present consumers with good, quality products. The people in the field often joke that VPMilk is an “old start-up” since we have 10 years of experience in the dairy industry.

But the market is always open and no one has the right to determine which business the market belongs to, except consumers. Whether the brand is new or old, as long as the product meets customers’ expectations, they will accompany it.

As a latecomer, what makes VPMilk products distinctive? How do they meet consumer expectations and compete with existing brands in the market?

Entering this industry, VPMilk determined that we were not here to compete. The revenue of the dairy market in 2016 reached VND 95,000 billion, and is expected to grow by about 9% per year. This is still a market with potential for dairy businesses.

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Moreover, the operating motto of VPMilk is to love beauty, to respect kindness, and, of course, to choose peace, so there is no need to be confrontational. We entered the dairy market with the desire to provide consumers with more decent products.

As for the distinctiveness of products, the first is the criterion of respecting children’s tastes. Many people think that children do not know how to distinguish tastes, but, in fact, their tastebuds develop from the time they are in the womb to when they are born. As well as other senses, their tastebuds are increasingly developing and are very delicate. Whether it is a child or adult, nutritious milk needs to be delicious for children to want to use every day.

The second distinctiveness is that all nutrients in the milk are fine-tuned according to ingredient content standards based on research on the nutritional needs of Vietnamese, especially children. I always remind my associates when researching products that children also like to eat well and dress well and that we need to meet this legitimate need.

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Do what you are best at

As football fans know, the CEO of VPMilk is associated with the team’s activities. You are ambitious and want to bring a selection of delicious, nutritious milk. But is it  difficult for the Vietnamese dairy market which has many unprofessional features?

The consumers are smart and children’s palates are delicate, so manufacturers must demonstrate what makes a product taste good.

I am confident about our products. First of all, it is due to the freshness of the ingredients we import, which include premium pure milk powder from the world’s leading partners. We cooperate with the leading nutritionists in Vietnam, and invest heavily in product research and development teams who are not only knowledgeable about products but also understand Vietnamese tastes.

I apply the lessons I learned after 10 years working as a distributor for Nam Yang. It is to do what I am best at. For the rest of the stages, I choose the best partners in the respective fields.

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There is an old saying: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. Even big companies and corporations like Lotte and Apple do not invest heavily in production but choose to have associations, and they are very successful. That is the smart business trend of many large businesses in the world. Use this direction to boost your strength.

Instead of investing in farms, factories and more, which takes a lot of time and disperses capital until the finished product (without available capital for marketing), I invest in R&D to create quality products in a short time.

The quality that I am talking about is not a factor that is presented as an advertising gimmick. For me, that is a measure of my conscience, because I am also a mother and I know how much I love my children. And other mothers love their children the same way.

Opportunity in challenges

Besides your position at VPMilk, you also hold responsibilities at businesses such as Bao Lam Trading Company Limited, Nam Duong Investment Joint Stock Company, Nam Duong Nutrition Company Limited, Bao Lam Mineral One Member Company Limited, and Geumsan Joint Stock Company, among others. Before establishing VPMilk, you were very successful in the business of distributing milk imported from Nam Yang (Korea) with the premium milk brand XO.VPMilk, the “Delicious Milk of the Vietnamese people”. What message did you want to send with this slogan?

With more than 10 years of construction and development, Nam Duong Company has gradually become a strong company, with major partners such as Namyang Dairy Products Group, Nanum CnC Company, Television Film Studio MBC (South Korea), Boditech Company (Boditech Med, Inc.), and Traphaco Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company. Currently, Nam Duong is exclusively managing a number of big brands in Vietnam such as I Am Mother, XO GT, Star Gold and others with a wide distribution network, a strong staff, and a distribution network of more than 63 provinces and cities, with thousands of employees.

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The dairy business came to me as fate. The fate came. I accept and understand that what we think about ourselves determines our fate. I therefore always direct my destiny to the most positive thoughts and am ready to be a fierce warrior in the marketplace. I will do what is best for the health of the Vietnamese people.

Not all “big guys” are successful when entering the beverage industry. How long will you wait for your products to reach Vietnamese consumers?

In short, I have no threshold for myself when I see opportunities everywhere, because even in challenges there are opportunities. I am not afraid at all to enter the big game, because I have experience, have made quality products, and do not put profits as the top priority. If I care more about profits, I can do other things that are less risky.

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I do this also because of the mindset I have in life: to have results. I would like to make a small contribution to help the younger generations to grow up healthy, which will add to the strength of the country.

By Viettimes

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