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This write-up is a section of In Excellent Style, a unique characteristic crafted for the August 2021 issue of Entrepreneur Center East showcasing 10 of the UAE’s most promising homegrown meals makes.
At Entrepreneur Middle East, we have typically shied absent from referring business people with the pseudonyms or nicknames they’ve both taken on or been provided as a result of their respective business trajectories- but I have made a decision to make an exception in the scenario of the partner-and-spouse duo at the rear of Viking Bageri, the Dubai-centered bakeshop whose signature French baguettes have turn out to be the converse of the town. And I am doing this to give because of credit history to the fact that The Viking and Mrs. Viking have built a brand name which is standing out only on the power of its choices- which, in this case, is, very merely, brilliantly baked bread. So, whilst you may well not know the serious names of The Viking and Mrs. Viking (which, by the way, are Magnus Ericsson and Maria Svedenhov), you will nonetheless have no qualms about swearing by the baguettes their bakery will make- and which is absolutely anything value applauding.
Viking Bageri begun out amid the COVID-19 disaster in 2020 when Ericsson, who’s the COO of a medical center group in Ajman, observed himself at household in Dubai on a weekend, wanting an escape from the hectic nature of the operate he was uncovered to all through the relaxation of the 7 days. As an individual who located the procedure of baking therapeutic in nature, Ericsson -who had grown up watching his father make bread every single weekend at residence in Sweden- ventured into this area yet again in an endeavor to de-pressure. He established a purpose for himself as well- to make the a single variety of bread his father hadn’t baked: the conventional French baguette. “After possessing tried a number of recipes, I found a person that I started off mixing with, altering the quantities, introducing time, or seeking one more temperature of the water, and so on,” Ericsson recalls. “Being an engineer by trade, I located it fairly satisfying to see what happened with the alterations I produced, and I experienced quite quickly attempted all the different flours I could come across, as perfectly as salt and yeast… so, yes, I was on my way.”
Supply: Viking Bageri
The outcomes of Ericsson’s attempts had been stunning, rustic-wanting, golden-brown baguettes, with crispy crusts and ethereal centers, and they proved to be a definite strike- and it wasn’t just him and his family members who ended up declaring so. Neighbors who experimented with his baguettes were being coming again to him inquiring for far more, and Ericsson remembers a interval when his spouse, Svedenhov, and their young children went to Sweden for a holiday getaway, and he uncovered himself baking just about every single working day that fortnight to cater to the desire he was observing for his bread. But it didn’t finish there- they continue to wished more. “Once they arrived back again once more, I explained to my wife, ‘We have individuals buying the bread… I’m not confident how to deal with this,’” Ericsson recalls. “To which she answered: ‘Well, we’ll have to type out a web site, so persons can get appropriately!’” And that fundamentally is the moment when Ericsson’s endeavors at dwelling turned into the business enterprise that is Viking Bageri currently.
The identify of the company arrived about rather easily- Ericsson’s heritage and peak (he’s 6”4’ tall) had previously acquired him the nickname of “The Viking” in his community, and bageri indicates “bakery” in Swedish. Even though Ericsson toiled in the kitchen creating the most effective baguettes he perhaps could, Svedenhov (aka Mrs. Viking) labored with their neighbor-cum- pal, Jennifer Bereza, on the other features of the company. “We were also able to get the packaging finished proper in a incredibly early phase,” Ericsson recollects. “Initially I did not give it that a great deal of a imagined, but Maria and Jennifer tried various versions of kraft and white paper, until finally they settled for a bit far more dense, white paper. The emblem kind and branding are the brainchildren of Jennifer, and with them sorted out, Maria stayed up into the wee morning several hours hand stamping the papers and ribbons that we however, to this working day, use for packaging our bread. The best bread calls for the great packaging- and folks have earned getting this particular sensation of unwrapping a present when they get our bread.”
Source: Viking Bageri
And their buyers unquestionably seemed to be appreciating almost everything that Viking Bageri was undertaking, so much so that at just one place, Ericsson and Svedenhov identified by themselves seeking at orders for seven months into the potential. “We understood then that this was extra than a fling, and we started off looking to uncover area in a bakery to allow for us to mature,” Ericsson says.
“Somewhere all around the similar time, we registered the trade license, and signed a deal with the initially bakery we ended up in.” But even as points started out obtaining formalized for it as a business, the homely mother nature of Viking Bageri remained its most important attract for its clientele. “I believe that 1 of the major matters that made us stand out was our get in touch with with the buyers,” Ericsson claims. “For the first 6 months (or additional, truly), the bread was picked up by the shoppers, wherever they all received to meet Mrs. Viking. She understood most of them by first name, and she stored in get hold of with them during the weeks to mail out reminders, examining that they however ended up buying their bread, producing compact notes, and so on. This designed our customers actually truly feel that we had been a homegrown brand name for genuine. She is nonetheless, to this day, involved on a daily foundation with our buyer connection administration and the back again office- we now provide supply, but several of our buyers nonetheless get handwritten receipts and notes from Mrs. Viking.”
Supply: Viking Bageri
It is many thanks to these efforts that Viking Bageri can boast of developing organically as a enterprise, with its advertising and marketing currently centered on just an Instagram webpage with a devoted subsequent and a higher amount of conversation. The organization also lately partnered up with the UAE-primarily based KRUSH Manufacturers (the operator and operator of F&B brands like Liberty Pizza, Wildflower Poke & More, Salad Jar, and others), with Ericsson expressing the joint undertaking has served his enterprise navigate the country’s F&B organization ecosystem improved. At the exact same time, the accolades for Viking Bageri have continued to pour in, be it with its inclusion in lists of the UAE’s best bakeries, or with the praise it has been given from specialist chefs.
“But just like William Blake wrote about how to “see a earth in a grain of sand,” the real accomplishments can sometimes be the modest kinds,” Ericsson provides. “These contain factors like finding movies sent of youngsters enjoying their 1st baguette, or overhearing people mentioning your brand name and how they like your baguettes whilst you’re out procuring.” But Ericsson says that he remains adamant that all of this does not acquire absent from the singular mission with which he started off on this endeavor in the to start with position. “We have, so considerably, focused on one particular issue and a single point only: baguettes,” Ericsson claims. “That has allowed us to not settle for anything less than perfection. I started off this journey making an attempt to bake the ideal baguette in Dubai, and that target still stands today.”
Viking Bageri co-founders Magnus Ericsson and Maria Svedenhov share their ideas for wannabe business owners aiming to abide by their lead.
1. Find a product that is exceptional. “Without a unique merchandise, you will, for certain, wrestle with differentiating your product from the other people, and you will also have to place a large amount of time, work, and money into undertaking the similar.”
2. Staff up with a spouse. “This will enable you to more focus on the outcome, instead than the paperwork essential to be equipped to release your product or service. Guaranteed, you’ll have to give away some equity, but if you haven’t been in the company in advance of, it truly is definitely truly worth it.”
3. Do one thing you like. “You will put in a good deal of hours of operate, late evenings, and early mornings- so, it’d greater be a little something you enjoy doing. I have been up at 2.30am just about every single weekend through a full calendar year to examine that the high-quality is up to standard- but I still appreciate baking baguettes.”
4. Operate with very good people. “Our crew is not only me and Mrs. Viking- we also have a group of individuals that we are buddies with, much more so now immediately after this journey than before, and bordering ourselves with superior people has been a very clear accomplishment element of our ride.”