Despite the fact that there are few electronics manufacturers in the country (Ajax is almost the only
gg: How was the brand's story born? Why did you choose this particular name? What does it mean?
Alexey Friday: It all started in 2005 when I was offeredto buy out a place in retail - a small stand and two boxes of accessories for mobile phones, which have just begun to appear on sale. Gradually, the small business was transformed into a wholesale activity, and in 2012 the idea to create its own brand appeared.
At that time, mobile phones massively rooted inconsumption culture, the first smartphones appeared, so energy intensity was of great importance for the consumer. There was a huge demand for batteries, but original products were not available and the market was flooded with fakes. The name Gelius, which means "energy of the sun", came associatively as an answer to a need.
(In general, the word Gelius is artificial, apparently speechrefers to the Greek word ήλιος, which reads [ilios]. Even in Drainei Greece, the sun god was called Helios, but there is no tradition to write him as Gelius or Gelios - in English he is Helios. And there was also Project Helius in the Marvel Universe, which was organized by SHIELD in 1955 to research ion fusion - editor's note gg).
gg: PC What unforeseen difficulties did you have to face when the brand entered the market and how did you overcome them?
Alexey Friday: In 2014, due to insufficient product knowledge,little experience with marketing, as well as the unfavorable economic situation in the country, the project had to be frozen. Over time, we managed to build a strong distribution and form the basic concept. We wanted to create cool, useful and affordable products under the name of a Ukrainian brand. Since the trend of the last 10 years is a huge number of low-quality products on the one hand, and on the other, niche products that are beyond the means of most consumers. We decided to prove that even a small company can make inexpensive goods of the level of world leaders.
gg: What will be in the assortment of the store? How are brands selected for the store? What are your selection criteria?
Alexey Friday: We have everything from a Harry Potter keychain to furniture and essential esports accessories.
gg: What does the development process look like in Gelius?
Alexey Friday: We try to analyze the market very quickly.The key is to track the pain of consumers, which we can solve with a simple, innovative product. The main ideas are formed in Ukraine, in our office. Here, products are created, certified, undergo development, the process of adaptation to the market, beta testing. Competent management helped us create a unique relationship among partners, as a result of which the brand's products, vital for a mobile device, are now present in more than 3000 retail outlets.
gg: Do you consider any brands to be your competitors or is everyone against everyone now?
Alexey Friday: We aim to occupy the largest market share inconsumer goods categories: safety glasses, chargers, cables, power banks, audio products, aesthetic accessories. Our sales level for these products is very high. But, unfortunately, due to the large number of offers and manufacturers, no statistics are officially presented at the moment. Nevertheless, according to our own calculations, Gelius occupies about 10-15% - this is the highest indicator among all Ukrainian manufacturing brands.
Goal in 2021 to become the market leader in the smartwatch category
Now the first place in this segment is occupied by the products of the Xiaomi brand.
gg: Do you have any products that have exceeded sales expectations?
Alexey Friday: We managed to exceed expectations thanks tothe desire to create interesting and affordable gadgets of the future. A good example is the scooter project. It was very risky, since we understood that there is a Chinese brand Xiaomi, which has been a leader in this direction for the past five years. However, there were either branded products with a high level of technical characteristics and high cost, or a large number of low-grade replicas and fakes on the market. Our task was to develop a product of decent quality at a good price.
As a result, the circumstances that developed incountry with quarantine restrictions, played in our favor, and now the product is very popular. We see great potential in this direction. E-bikes will appear in Gelius by the middle of the third quarter.
All Gelius devices are certified, with an after-sales guarantee and the highest level of service support
gg: What product experiments, on the contrary, did not live up to expectations?
Alexey Friday: Products that did not meet expectations weremuch more! And this is an incredibly valuable experience. Perhaps the biggest pain is the provocation on the part of the market to make the cost less. At some point I succumbed to this provocation, which could, as a result, affect the quality of the products. But this experience was mostly gained in 2013-14. Therefore, when in 2018 we decided to actively engage in brand promotion, the main series of mistakes had already been eliminated.
Undoubtedly when we deal with productsfuture, with some bright, emotional smart gadgets, sometimes unforeseen situations arise. For example, this happened with a dispenser. This is the coolest product, useful, cost-effective for the consumer, but it has a peculiarity. Due to constant exposure to moisture, batteries quickly oxidize. We, of course, have a reputation for carrying out any service replacements, and now we understand what needs to be improved. However, the blow was significant because the stakes were high on the product.
gg: Who is your buyer?
Alexey Friday: It is always difficult to answer this question.After all, if we say that we are experts for smartphone owners, then this is the majority of the world's inhabitants. We even have a certain visionary goal - for every Ukrainian to have a product from Gelius (laughs).
If we talk about a more focused audience, thenthese are conscious, and even a little picky consumers who rationally approach the choice of a product: they study the characteristics in great detail, analyze, compare the value they will receive. Earning their trust is a huge achievement. But we are constantly striving for this, improving our service and relevance of offers.
The age category ranges from 25-40 years old, but we define the age of our clients by the term “smart generation”.
In general, now there are no age limits among buyers of gadgets.
After all, there are very modern 60+ people who record with grandchildren on TikTok, and there are young children who are much better at technology than some adults.
gg: Do you have an ambitious goal or dream?
Alexey Friday: I'm not afraid to dream boldly!Therefore, the ambitious goal is to become the number 1 brand in the world in terms of the number of product users. I think it is quite realizable. The first stage is to become the # 1 brand in Ukraine, which will happen when about 20 million Ukrainians, that is, half of the country's population, will use Gelius products. I think we can come to this already in 2023.
gg: What features should a product have in 2021 to conquer the world?
Alexey Friday: Now Gelius feels pretty confident incategories of consumer goods, and this is one of the most competitive markets. The main obstacle to rapid development, I would call the speed with which we can scale and rebuild. We need to create something completely new or a completely new conceptual model of an existing one, and convey this value to the consumer. I'll tell you a secret - this year we are planning to launch a product with which we will conquer the world (laughs).
gg: What communication channels for promotion do you consider the most effective today?
Alexey Friday: Now there are a huge number of channels forpromotion. And we, as a brand with the broadest consumer audience, understand that they are all open to us. However, we still consider digital channels to be the most effective for ourselves: social networks YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok. We constantly cooperate with opinion leaders. It is very pleasant that the majority of experts treat us with interest and support our values and mission. In addition, we often use media promotion, mass media, and try new platforms. One of the latest experiments is radio advertising.
Whatever we do, everything passes through the prism of the needs and wishes of partners. Thanks to this, our products can be very quickly distributed throughout the country offline.
Our partners are national networks such as Rozetka, Eldorado, Foxtrot, Vukho.som, Citrus
gg: Of the four Ps of classic marketing (product, place, price, promo), what is the biggest influence on sales today?
Alexey Friday: Undoubtedly, to interest the consumer,any product must have unique features that will distinguish it from other offerings. On the other hand, success is impossible without a properly selected place where the target audience will “dwell”. In our case, these are stores of partners of a national level with a good reputation. Of course, everything will work only if the price list is relevant to the client. Well, it is equally important to correctly convey the value of your product to the consumer. I believe that this is a harmonious complex process. However, if you need to highlight one thing, I would focus on the product - it is the most important in this formula.
gg: If you had the opportunity to go back to the beginning and do something differently, what would you do differently when starting a brand?
Alexey Friday: I wouldn't change anything!In my opinion, you can get real life experience, including in business, only by making mistakes yourself, and not theoretically colliding with them in books, articles or at business trainings. I went my own way of trial and error for fifteen years. Everything that happened during this time is the best and most valuable thing that could happen. I don't want to change anything in the past. I would like to do more, add more colors and emotions in the future!