To make it during difficult and demanding times requires innovative ideas and for Norwegian Jens Iver Wålen, it was the import of AntiBac Hand Sanitizer Dispensers from China that last year earned his company Smarttelt AS an operating profit of over NOK 9 million.
When the covid-19 pandemic hit Norway last year in March, Jens Iver Wålen quickly realized that he had to be innovative and fast to save his company which normally rents out party tents and equipment for parties and large events. In an interview with Norwegian media TV2, Jens Iver Wålen explains that after thinking long and hard about what item would be in demand during the pandemic, he came across a Chinese supplier he had happened to be in contact with before who sold Antibac Hand Sanitizer Dispensers.
Jens Iver Wålen ordered the first 100 dispensers, but quickly saw an enormous demand and decided to invest heavily into the idea. With help from his whole family, they contacted shops, restaurants and other businesses that might need a dispenser and the demand was big.
In total Jens, Iver Wålen has bought and sold over 20,000 dispensers. Initially, the dispensers were transported to Norway from China by plane but this solution turned out to be more expensive than expected so Jens Iver Wålen found a local company that took over the production of the floor stands for the dispensers.
Jens Iver Wålen’s innovative idea not only saved his company but also resulted in a growth of several million. Turnover figures for Smarttelt AS show operating revenues of NOK 29.6 million in 2020 which is an increase of as much as NOK 27 million from the previous year.
The operating profit for the company in 2020 was NOK 9.4 million, compared with NOK 100,000 in 2019. “If you look in isolation at the figures from Smarttelt AS, it is quite incredible. But I also have a company that has lost several million, so overall the profit has not been that big,” Jens Iver Wålen says.
Now well over a year into the pandemic, the market and demand for antibac dispensers have begun to calm down and Jens Iver Wålen is now concentrating on going back to renting out party tents and party equipment. “We still sell several dispensers, but the company is also back to doing what we actually did before the pandemic,” he says.