During 2 years affected by the epidemic,Vietnam Staraniseed Cassia Manufacturing And Exporting Joint Stock Company (Vinasamex) continued to expand its raw material areas, building 2 more production and processing factories. Revenue is still increasing steadily. What brings this strange success to a business that is just over 10 years old?
Bringing “revolution” to the cinamon and anise forest
Cinnamon trees are a source of livelihood for the people of Lang Son and Yen Bai. Cinnamon was still a dowry from parents to their children when getting married, so this tree is closely associated with the lives of farmers. But just because of raw export and dependence on one market, farmers have been devastated and left empty-handed in a few cinnamon and anise crops.
Falling in love with anise cinnamon more than 10 years ago, General Director of Vinasamex Nguyen Thi Huyen was determined to make “a revolution” in the homeland of cinnamon anise. Huyen recalls that when Vinasamex first came to farmers, it had many advantages because cinnamon was already familiar to farmers. But it is still a bit difficult because it brings new farming directions, techniques, and new thinking to control and create a raw material area that meets international organic standards.
“Vinasamex came with the desire to contribute to poverty reduction, increase income, improve livelihoods for poor people and many other activities that have good impacts on society, so it is also supported and accompanied by people for more than 10 years. That is what made Vinasamex’s initial success” – Huyen shared.
However, pressures always appear when Vinasamex wishes to bring Vietnamese spices (made from cinnamon anise) globally, especially to demanding markets such as Europe, America, Japan, Korea, Canada… It is product quality control, it is “pursuing” certifications that prove product quality is really good and meets the strict and demanding requirements of customers.
“We call these green passports – certificates for Vietnamese anise cinnamon products to be present in countries with the world’s top commodity standards” – Huyen said.
Achieving a “green passport” is not simple. Vinasamex has invested in a modern factory and machinery system to produce good products. Build a closed value chain, provide technical training for farmers in the chain, build a quality control system from raw material areas to production plants and until sold to customers, and at the same time apply technology. digital technology to ensure traceability and strict quality control of each shipment and each product.
Implementing the business philosophy of “think big but act small with kindness” and carry on the mission of a business enterprise creating social impact, accompanying ethnic minorities in the northern mountainous areas, Up to now, Vinasamex is cooperating with 3,000 farmer households, with an area meeting international organic standards of 4,200 hectares, creating jobs for 100 permanent workers and 200 seasonal workers. Notably, in the past 2 years affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, Vinasamex has received hundreds of local workers who lost their jobs to work at the processing factory located in Yen Bai, Lang Son.
Business is not just tricks and competition
Speaking about the impacts caused by Covid-19, Huyen said that Covid-19 brought many losses to most countries in the world. However, it has also presented opportunities and valuable lessons for individuals and businesses alike. For Vinasamex, Covid-19 also has certain effects. Sea freight rates increased 3-4 times, increasing dramatically, causing prices to increase. Many Vinasamex customers want to increase their purchasing volume but cannot.
Besides, despite being able to withstand high freight fees, booking ships and packing containers is also very difficult. The epidemic also prevented Vinasamex from participating in fairs. Meetings with customers and partners are held via the Zoom platform. Not only that, during the quarantine period, Vinasamex was unable to provide in-person training to farmers, but the Company organized online training for farmer households…
In addition to the obvious difficulties caused by Covid-19, Vinasamex has many opportunities from this pandemic. Vinasamex’s revenue continues to grow well, up 20% over the same period last year. The reason is that cinnamon, anise and a number of other Vietnamese spices are being exported to many places around the world, serving many product groups, including 4 main groups including spices, medicinal herbs, food and beverages, and cosmetics. That’s why during the Covid period, the demand for this product increased to create products that increase resistance and are good for health.
Not only that, according to this businesswoman, Covid-19 also gave her time to reflect on herself. Huyen confided: “For a long time, we often think that business is always about competition. Businesses need to look at what their competitors are doing to think of ways to compete and do better than them. But that’s not necessarily true. Because if your business itself is not better today than it was yesterday, how can you compete or do better than any rival business?
Therefore, according to Huyen, the most important thing is to cultivate and constantly improve so that your business’s internal strength becomes stronger every day, and your business gets better every day. “Covid-19 has given me time to return to do this with my Vinasamex. I focus on building corporate culture – we have hours of qigong practice, meditation together and understand each other better, sticking together to move forward with a common goal” – Huyen said.
Build new successful values
Normally, entrepreneurs are often associated with being busy and have very little time for themselves. Time to exercise is even rarer. But CEO Nguyen Thi Huyen is different. Huyen always puts her health first. That’s why even on business trips, Huyen doesn’t forget to practice health exercises such as yoga, meditation, and qigong.
Huyen said that Huyen had a period when she got caught up in the hustle and bustle of work, forgot about herself and the relationships around her, then fell into a state of stress, and got sick. “It was a time that could be considered an event in my life and I realized that I needed to love myself and be healthy. From then on, I focused on practicing sports. I chose to practice qigong, meditation and yoga. I maintain it regularly every day, even when I go on a business trip because my mind is bright, my mind is bright” – Huyen confided.
In addition, this female CEO also has the mindset that when you want something, you need to give it away. She understands that her employees are always there to support her and that there will be times when they are tired (like she was). And that’s why Huyen chose her employees as fertile land to plant. A rather strange decision suddenly came: inviting the teacher to teach qigong, meditation and yoga to employees at the company office.
Since then, every day, Vinasamex spends about 30 minutes for the whole company to practice together, sometimes meditating, sometimes practicing yoga, and practicing qigong every day. Huyen wants her employees to have good health – both body and mind – after those training sessions. When their body and mind are healthy, they will have many creative ideas, they understand the enthusiasm of the Company’s leaders and they work for the good values and culture of the Company, not coming to work and waiting for the clock to end. is to leave, get paid.
In addition, at Vinasamex there are 2 hours a week to read books and have training sessions to share knowledge internally with each other. “I personally see this as an act of kindness, an investment in people and developing corporate culture for a difference and sustainable development. And on my business journey, I always keep in mind that I need to succeed in another way – that is success in peace and happiness” – Huyen does not hesitate to share about her concept of success.
That is why Vinasamex perseveres with its vision of “being a pioneering enterprise creating community values in the production chain, and being one of the leaders in organic agriculture. At the same time, bring the best quality products to customers around the world. The certificates that Vinasamex has achieved are the clearest proof of Vinasamex’s compassionate business direction. Among them is the For Life certification for ethical and socially responsible businesses.
10 years have not been long for a business, but what Vinasamex has created for the lives of farmers in the northern mountainous areas has demonstrated the path of “success in peace and happiness.” “luck” that Huyen has set for herself…