The CEO at TotalSafePack, David Gorgues founded this company to provide a safe and reliable packaging service for transporting and processing bottles. The entrepreneur took the Master in Marketing Management at EAE’s Barcelona Campus. In this interview, he gives us an insight into his professional experience after his time at the business school.
How did you come up with the idea of setting up TotalSafePack?
TotalSafePack originated in 2012, right in the midst of the recession. At the time, my company was having a hard time financially and we realized that we had to innovate. We did some market research to find the main pain points in logistics in relation to wine and we identified a niche in the market for the manufacturing and commercialization of a packaging systems that protects wine bottles when they are being transported.
We found that between 5% and 7% of bottles (wine, beer, spirits, oil, etc) that we buy online get broken during shipping. This amounts to an incredible loss of money as these breakages damage the whole load, require a replacement and also lead to a delay that has a direct impact on the end consumer. Having analysed this situation, we got to work on inventing and patenting what we now know as TotalSafePack, a range of specialized boxes for protecting liquids during shipping.
How does TotalSafePack work? What benefits do customers gain when they choose your platform’s service?
TotalSafePack works 100% ecologically with an internal system of tabs placed strategically in the box to buffer the contents from any impacts, thanks to which the bottles are suspended in the air, creating an air bubble effect that absorbs any shocks or strikes that may occur.
We ran tests and our boxes can withstand a number of strong impacts without breaking (more than 5) and even a fall from five storeys. The benefit for our customer is that the eShop or seller can be confident that the packaging will cover their basic protection and safety requirements. However, we are also focusing on the end consumer and aim to teach and inform them so that they ask their trusted stores for TotalSafePack because we believe that they are the primary beneficiary of this whole enterprise.
What impact does technology have on TotalSafePack?
TotalSafePack improves the experience of our two customers: the end consumer and the e-shop. We satisfy the former by guaranteeing that there won’t be any delays and that they will receive modern attractive packaging that ensures the minimal protection requirements and, secondly, the retailer, whom we offer the opportunity to give their end customers greater value, as well as minimizing the costs associated with a bad quality packaging system.
What opportunities does the world of e-commerce offer a company like yours?
A world of opportunities. In fact, the rise in electronic commerce is a huge opportunity for us. Our business model is based on the end consumers' demand for small batches of products that need specialized packaging like ours.
When it comes to large volumes and we are talking about tens of thousands of bottles, pallets are used and TotalSafePack doesn’t cater for this category. Our product caters for a market niche, fulfilling a very specific need. We aim to become the standard in the field of packaging for shipping bottles for e-commerce.
The design of the boxes (which you created and patented) has received accolades from Liderpack and the World Star Award. What is the product’s true added value?
We have received awards because of the innovation of the design but we believe that our added value is that, at the time, we developed a product based on a real need. Firstly, we did some market research, then we detected the opportunity and analysed its viability. Lastly, we created and commercialized a product.
David Gorgues, a role model for entrepreneurship
Tell us about your career as an entrepreneur.
There are good days and bad days, but the overall balance is very positive. We have created the product we wanted, as we wanted, and we have managed to make sales based on the selling points that we considered important. I have to say that the path of an entrepreneur is not simple, and it is often a matter of finding your way in the fog, but knowing that you are creating something that is all your own leaves a great taste in your mouth.
How would you define an entrepreneur?
A person with a clear objective for which they fight with their body and soul.
There are many obstacles almost on a constant basis. How do you prepare to overcome them? What is your motto? Is there anybody who inspires you?
Success stories inspire me and you can learn a lot from other entrepreneurs and company owners. When I face adversity, I breathe deeply and try to analyse it in the most detached way possible, weighing up the pros and cons. If I had to name somebody who is an inspiration to me, I would say Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla) because of his disruptive character that often breaks away from the conventional.
Tell us about the gestation of the project.
It was a painstaking process of constant trial and error until we came up with not only the product we needed but also a product that it would be hard for the competition to copy and which added value for our customers. To a certain extent, we knew that, to be able to sell the product, we had to believe in it ourselves first of all. We were extremely methodical and rigorous in terms of our minimum requirements of quality and protection.
Was it difficult to find support from investors?
We are currently looking for private funding to internationalize our venture faster. So far, most of our progress has been financed ourselves and that has enabled us to reach a 70% market share in Spain.
At what point did you decide that you were ready for international expansion? How did it come about?
It started when I saw that our market share in Spain was big enough. At the end of the day, companies are living organisms: they live or die. So, we realized that we had to internationalize the project. The process has gone really well and given us excellent results. We now operate in Mexico (where we launched in November 2018), Italy, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, etc., and we are planning to launch in Sweden, the United Kingdom and Slovenia.
From a business point of view, where is TotalSafePack heading right now?
Internationalization, growth and generating Brand Awareness, not only among our potential customers (consumers and retailers) but also among our target audiences.
Master in Marketing Management at the Barcelona Campus
You took the Weekend Master in Marketing Management in Barcelona 2013-2014. What do you remember about your time at the School?
EAE Business School gave me a solid foundation in marketing that has been really useful, years later, for creating the TotalSafePack multibrand (TotalWinePack, TotalBeerPack, TotalDrinkPack and TotalOilPack). I also remember that that lecturers gave us lots of really practical and up-to-date content based on their everyday experiences, which was extremely valuable.
How would you describe the training given at EAE?
In terms of business schools, in my opinion, EAE is one of the best in Spain with respect to its reputation in Management and Marketing. I have great memories of my classmates, lecturers and student services, not only in terms of the quality but also their human value behind it all. It is one of the best teaching teams in Spain based on their experience, curriculum and values.