Trinh Thanh Nhon, the owner of the Da Lan toothpaste brand, takes us back to the years after the country was liberated, the period when the manufacturing profession was still very difficult... This is the sincere sharing of Mr. Trinh Thanh Nhon, owner of Da Lan…
The whole family watched the music show Da Lan, from which the name Da Lan Toothpaste appeared
In the early period, when the country transformed from a subsidy to a market economy, Vietnamese goods were flooded with Chinese goods, and Vietnamese brands were scarce and close to strong competition. In the meantime, two brands of toothpaste P/S and Da Lan became the pride of Vietnamese people. I started manufacturing in 1976, but with soap products, not toothpaste. I make soaps and sell them to state-owned enterprises and technology companies.
The manufacturer at that time was considered "a multi-lensed neck". To have a normal purchase and sale contract, you have to go through thousands of "stores" and of course indispensable "lubrication". In the end, it is the consumer who suffers the most. And the producer also lives a life of "three sinks, sinks".
In 1988, Da Lan whipped cream was born outside of my plan. In a "tea after wine" session, the director of a technology company in Nghia Binh province said that he still had a large amount of damaged toothpaste due to overdue.
Seeing my longtime business partner having a hard time, I couldn't ignore it. Therefore, I offered to buy back the damaged goods at a cheap price, and at the same time exchange the quality goods for you.
At that time, I thought I would buy a damaged shipment to... sell bottles and then contact toothpaste manufacturers to process new products, without calculating profit or loss. But this turned out to be more difficult than I thought. Many toothpaste manufacturers at that time such as Rado, Nhu Ngoc ... refused to process goods for me.
Fortunately, someone showed me engineer Luu Trung Nghia (I call it Mr. Tu). At that time, Mr. Tu was the Deputy Director of Technical Department of P/S Toothpaste Company. I remember, when I stood in front of Mr. Tu's luxurious house, I looked back at my "smug" Honda without daring to ring the bell. But contrary to my worries, the benefactor not only enthusiastically accepted the help, but also happily invited me to a beer near his house.
Just through a talk, that talented engineer helped me from A-Z, from investing in machinery and equipment, purchasing raw materials to guiding production… Most of the machinery I invested in manufacturing were made in Vietnam. The mode of making is both cheap and effective.
After successfully delivering the batch of toothpaste to a technology company in Nghia Binh province, I decided to change the direction of toothpaste production. I took the names of my two sons, Son and Hai, and combined them to form the Sonhai brand.
Every day, my wife transports 2 cartons of Sonhai toothpaste (about 100 tubes) by Honda car consigned at cooperatives. I and a driver roamed from Da Nang to Ca Mau to look for a place to shop.
At that time, Chinese toothpaste was both plentiful and cheap, we couldn't compete. For 2 years, I found myself going deeper and deeper into a dark place, unable to find a way out.
One day, in a state of sadness, I drove around the streets to relax. Suddenly, someone's family opened a familiar music tape, with the opening words "This is Da Lan's love song". “Da Lan is a music program that everyone likes, especially in the South. My wife's name is Lan. If you change the name of Da Lan toothpaste, it is both meaningful and "supports" advertising, I think. And like that, Da Lan toothpaste was born.
Although the name change is quite "catchy", the sales situation is still not very positive. Most goods must be deposited, no cash, while the loan interest rate is very high, from 10-15%/month. The thought that we had fallen into bankruptcy, another chance came.
I met a friend who worked as a newspaper and said that there was a fair organized by the Ministry of Internal Trade in Hanoi. He told me to try to bring the goods out to sell. What a rare opportunity! But when I was about to go to Hanoi, I confessed that I didn't have any money, so I dared to go to Saigon Industry and Trade Bank to borrow 100 million VND.
Listening to me borrow money to go to the market, the credit officer decided not to give it because the principle was only for production loans. May the deputy director of the bank understand my difficult situation and agree to lend.
One day, Da Lan Toothpaste was tricked to the North by 10 train cars
At the fair we were given a pretty good time. But the goods displayed did not have many buyers, even when I suggested consignment, they did not accept it. Two whole weeks at the fair, we failed miserably.
Realizing that the New Year was coming, I bought 100 calendars and asked a map-maker with the words: "Merciful Son Hai production facility". Each calendar comes with 10 tubes of Da Lan toothpaste. Vendors at Dong Xuan market and other markets receive their precious hearts. But then, they accepted to try it, and then put my product up for sale.
At that time, Dong Xuan Market was the center of distribution of goods in the northern provinces. Therefore, goods brought into this market will be favorable conditions to go to other provinces. A few days after giving the calendar with toothpaste, the sellers at the market accepted to buy, some in full cartons, some in half boxes, although consigned all but saw a good signal.
After two or three days, we went out to see if they could sell. Unexpectedly, seeing me coming, someone took 5 more boxes, someone took 10 more boxes. So we sold out of empty boxes in just one week and still had people asking to buy. From the end of November to the Lunar New Year, I sold 10 freight trains from South to North.
Can you imagine, buy toothpaste at the fair, get TV
That New Year, the couple was really happy to be able to repay the bank debt. On the 4th of Tet, someone knocked on the door and asked to buy 500 boxes. The next day, Hanoians came to pick up goods continuously. It's true that I can't see it either!
There are many reasons why Da Lan whipped cream conquered the northern market. Firstly, the quality of this cream is definitely better than Chinese toothpastes. Second, we soon launched a promotion for the product. There was a coupon in the toothpaste product at that time. Paying 2 9s won a box of toothpaste, 3 9s won 500,000 VND, 4 9s won a TV.
In the 1990s, televisions were a luxury. A house talking on television, the whole commune, the whole district knows. Therefore, many people say "Dung toothpaste is life changing!". In addition, we also have a program to give away toothbrushes that customers really like.
I even organized a group dedicated to answering handwritten letters from the provinces. Tet comes, we have up to 1 million Tet greeting cards to send to those who often send letters to Da Lan.