August 15, 2022

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Chef Trond Svendgaard started an online store of something that few thought could be successful.  This year it sells for $29 million.

Chef Trond Svendgaard started an online store of something that few thought could be successful. This year it sells for $29 million.

Trond Svendgård (41 years old) is known as one of the chefs behind the flying cooking circus. But after he leaves the city, he makes his living from things that he can grow himself.

The online store Plukkselv.no has grown at record speed and is the company Gazelle. This year, the company has exceeded 29 million Norwegian kroner.

My passion is farming and collecting. Now I put my background as a professional chef aside, says Svendgård.

He could not have imagined that an online store of bulbs, roots and tubers would be so welcome. This fall, the company sold 1.2 million tulip bulbs.

– It was supposed to be a hobby project and then it took off completely from scratch.

There were also some coincidences.

– He started with an interest in collecting Norwegian nature. I wrote a book and so there was a lot of interest about the films I made. There is great interest in mushrooms, berries and useful plants.

Svendgård thinks he has struck something in the spirit of the Norwegian people.

– Everyone has childhood memories of collecting berries.

You must grow with plants

Now he has concrete plans to challenge traditional garden centers by selling live plants.

Plants are a billion-dollar business for Norwegian garden centers, says Svendgård.

Living plans require completely different logistics. The plan is to use home delivery networks instead of mail parcels so that the plants don’t wilt before they arrive.

– It is very cost-effective and quality-saving to send the plants home directly from the producer, instead of making them stand for a long time in the garden center.

Svendgård notes that plant sales have good margins.

Many garden centers can be five times the price. Especially because it is difficult for customers to get the basic requirements to know how much the production cost of ornamental tree.

He started himself with 30,000 kronor and was able to grow without a penny in loans.

The challenge for many traditional garden centers is that they cannot have 500 types of bulbs in stock. We can get that here. With online sales, it is possible to have a much larger private collection, and it is possible to take pre-orders. We can buy continuously in large quantities from manufacturers and offer a huge selection without being in stock for a long time.

The sale of seeds, bulbs and tubers got a big boost during the lockdown when people had to stay home.  In addition, the online store is manifested in trends such as self-storage and ecology.

The sale of seeds, bulbs and tubers got a big boost during the lockdown when people had to stay home. In addition, the online store is manifested in trends such as self-storage and ecology. (Photo: Gunnar Lear)

Stay away from warehouse operations

Svendgård operates the online store from an office in their new home in Holmstrand. DN previously reported the sharp increase in online shopping in the former Vestfold district, where Komplett, Fjellsport and a number of new online stores saw the light of day.

It was almost like everyone in the mommy and daddy folder had to start an online store, says Svendgård and chuckles.

Plukkselv.no uses an automated sandy repository. The e-commerce entrepreneur believes that outsourcing warehousing and picking functions to a warehouse hotel is a huge advantage.

The question is whether you should stand and pack up in the garage and spend a lot of time or whether you want to grow. I could have spent half the time printing posters, but instead focused on selling in the online store and inspiring customers.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, there were inquiries to replenish Autostore’s automated repository. Online high season starts early on Christmas. Although most of Norway is covered in snow, preparations for the launch of the lanterns are already underway.

During the lockdown, both online shopping and all household activities got a boost.

The environmental aspect has also contributed to the desire of many people to grow their own food. For some, it has taken off completely, and they grow everything themselves.

I took a piece from the barbecue market

Chef from Rognan started as an entrepreneur when he was 20 years old. It runs restaurants both in Bodø and in Aker Brygge.

The Autostore in Sande retrieves merchandise that is then packed and dispatched.  Trond Svendgård has outsourced the operation of the repository for the online store Plukkselv.no to a partner.

The Autostore in Sande retrieves merchandise that is then packed and dispatched. Trond Svendgård has outsourced the operation of the repository for the online store Plukkselv.no to a partner. (Photo: Gunnar Lear)

After moving out of Oslo, he became less involved in the flying cooking circus, owning 20 percent of the shares. For several years, Svendgård has been part of the mobile cooking group.

The culinary initiative is alive and well, although the pandemic has put an end to many events. Product sales are now an important part of the business.

– We are one of the two largest barbecue brands in Norway with FCCBBQ and have sold 200 million NOK. We produce grills in the same factories with the same materials as the most famous brands, and they can be sold at a third of the price.(Conditions)Copyright Dagens Næringsliv AS and/or our suppliers. We would like you to share our cases using a link that leads directly to our pages. All or part of the Content may not be copied or otherwise used with written permission or as permitted by law. For additional terms look here.