Hendrik Setiawan poured over the business models and read the books, paying close attention to segmentation, targeting and positioning—then Mama Roz hit the shelves.
Now one of Indonesia’s healthiest, and tastiest, drinks, Mama Roz is available all over the city, and in flavors ranging from soya vanilla to orange-strawberry. But you don’t just throw a product on the shelves and expect people to buy out of curiosity.
Hendrik talks about the value of familiarity, why passion is more important than any feasibility study and the struggle for ultimate success.
When did Mama Roz hit the shelves?
We started in early 2005. In the beginning we didn’t have any plans to sell in supermarkets, we really wanted to provide a door-to-door service, but then three months in, Food Hall — Sogo back then — contacted us and said it was interested in our products. Then other places like Ranch Market asked for our products and now we’re in almost 70 stores.
Are you happy with the fact that your business is doing so well? What’s been the hardest part about getting the word out?
Convincing people to carry our products was the biggest challenge. Supermarkets tend to be picky. We also had to convince people to use a prepaid system as some doubted whether we would deliver. We lived up to our promise so they told friends, family and people at the office. We’re a niche player and this is a limited market. We’re serving a certain segment of the population.
So what makes Mama Roz so special? What separates it from the rest of the juices on the shelves?
A lot. It’s freshly made and delivered every day. We add value by delivering door-to-door, and there’s no minimum order. We have many variations, too. People can choose strawberry on Monday then soya on Tuesday or Wednesday. Plus we can deliver in the mornings and offer 20 different flavors. We don’t add any preservatives, so it has a short shelf life, only three days. Some stores cut the price in half [usually on the third day], but most of the time the products don’t last that long on the shelves.
What is the most popular flavor of Mama Roz?
Strawberry. And the guava. That has nine times more vitamin C than orange, and our signature orange-strawberry.
We wanted to do something different, stand out from the crowd. A lot of people say that our product, our label looks familiar. The point is familiarity is very important. What we have done with the logo and the colors is try to portray heritage. We try to give the impression that it is imported, but it is produced here, it has to be. Although most of the fruits we process are imported.
Would you say that right now you’re successful?
Success is a journey, right? [laughs]. This is far from success. We have to come up with more milestones. Mama Roz came from a personal passion. I wasn’t calculating profits or doing feasibility studies. When I visualized Mama Roz four or five years ago, I saw it as a learning experience for me in developing and starting a brand, applying what I learned in school. The initial objective was trial and error — a learning opportunity — that’s why I put so much passion into it. I’m putting my beliefs into practice.
The next milestone is to open outlets in the malls — small islands. We can make mocktails. We need to add something else — yogurt or ice cream — but it must be based on Mama Roz, It can serve two purposes. First, familiarize the mall and the public with the Mama Roz brand, and second, offer the consumer an alternative to JCo or Starbucks. Our lifestyle now is to go to the mall. You go to the mall, you take your family to the mall. You don’t really shop there, you spend most of your time eating, buying snacks and the rest. Go from one mall to the next and it’s the same thing. We want to offer people something different.
When Mama Roz took off, how many people did you have on the staff?
There were less than 10 of us. We started with zero but we had plenty of dreams and drive. We hired quality graduates from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture [IPB], good admin and accounting people, and we invested a lot in IT. Our business model required proper scheduling of customers’ orders: one customer wants XYZ and the other customer wants only X and Y, and we have to be precise all the time, rain or shine. We cover all of Jakarta and the juice has to be delivered in the morning. If we didn’t have a good IT system we couldn’t operate. Anyone can make juice, but can you deliver precisely and consistently? In the mornings on Sudirman you can see the motorcycles with the Mama Roz fiberglass box on the back. It keeps the bottles cold.
So you grew up in Jakarta and graduated from USC?
I took an entrepreneurial course. It was a jaw-dropping experience. I was studying finance but I realized my dream was to start a business, so I kept thinking, I kept reading and I kept dreaming, and the right time came so I started Mama Roz.
What’s your favorite flavor?
Our soon-to-be-launched “Orange Passion Fruit”