Lockdown was catastrophic for small businesses, but a very special woman living in Geneva didn’t skip a beat and helped serve a niche. She was confined at home and the shops she frequented were overwhelmed, so she started looking for local solutions. Her passion project turned into a national source of inspiration for consumers and small businesses alike.
There were trailblazing leaders during the Corona-crisis and we caught up with Josana Mendes, Founder of SwissDelivery.ch to find out more about how she has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to connect small local businesses and consumers during these uncertain times. She is one of the true #CommunityCultivatorsSwitzerland because as the nucleus to her business, she is dedicated to nurturing and growing everyone around her and we are thrilled to share her story…
Name. Josana Mendes
Heart. Support small businesses via SwissDelivery.ch
Backbone. Good people! This includes my fiancée, family and friends. Good people give me strength. I am lucky to be surrounded by many good people. I believe that there are more good people in the world than bad, it is just that the bad people make too much noise. Good people, let’s unite!
Inspiration. Tell us about SwissDelivery.ch. How did you jump from idea to building your dream?
Swiss Delivery was inspired out of a need. At the beginning of Covid-19 in Switzerland when all big chains were overwhelmed with orders, I started to look for solutions for my household with local producers and share these options with family and friends. At the same time, I was reading in many online forums consumers desperate to find solutions and also small businesses desperate, as they were lacking orders. It was the moment I felt I really needed to do something about it! I couldn’t stop researching and I could barely sleep. From a small PDF list created on the 16th of March 2020 to the release of the website www.swissdelivery.ch ten days later, it was a sprint with the kind support of my brother and his classmate, who are webmaster-students in Brazil.
Evolution. How has your business changed from the day you launched, through to before the Corona crisis and how has it evolved as of recent?
It has been just two months since our launch, though it feels like years, it all evolved so quickly. We have welcomed more than 110k visitors on the website! Our Facebook community has more than 3.6k very active members in Switzerland. Most importantly, we have received warm recognition of many small businesses and producers who not only received many new customers due to SwissDelivery.ch, but they also say it helped put them on the map to survive the tough Covid times. Many consumers also say they have changed their habits and will continue buying from small businesses and local producers in Switzerland
The Corona Community. You’ve been a trailblazer in adapting quickly. How did you do it?
I was just a connector between small businesses and consumers. Some mornings, I would wake up to more than 100 emails with new information and the PDF spreadsheet kept growing so after approximately 23 pages (100+ businesses around Switzerland) we decided to transfer all the information onto the new website. Now, there are almost 500 businesses on the platform and I do filter them to ensure they are truly locally established, as there are no international chains included in the list.
The Future. How do you forsee things changing in the short and long term future for SwissDelivery.ch?
I did not expect all this positive return and the fact that it would be useful for so many. I just kept doing it as a mission to be helpful, but I didn’t expect a big impact. It just felt right doing something I believe in with pure passion. Now I feel as though I know so many businesses and their details by heart that I can most probably advise on where to find even the funkiest products in Switzerland. Because of this knowledge, I now start to support and advice on collaborations between small businesses. I am very worried about the economy and during any crisis the smaller are always the ones with the most disadvantages, so if we all get together and help with each other’s strengths, this might be a smoother way out and everyone gets to win.
The platform is also going through improvements, I’m gathering a lot of feedback to transform it into a more user-friendly tool for consumers and businesses. I did not think of the future when it started, I just kept on a mission to be supportive. Now, I am taking all lessons learned during this journey and would like to help many potential Swiss companies that deserve visibility.
Network. Small businesses you support that we can highlight here?
All the 400+ ones in Swiss Delivery have my great support, I did not try all of them (not yet!) but I did filter them before adding to the platform. On the highlights, I would say:
Berridihei selling fruits and vegetables in the speed of light in Zürich, they informed me that they received many new customers through Swiss Delivery and I only get wonderful reviews about their products, services and delivery times.
Alver is an inspiring company, created by 3 women in Switzerland and it’s the first one in the world producing every day foods based on Golden Chrlorella which is an algae extremely rich in protein among other nutrients, they target their products to vegans and I so believe this can be amazing for many trying to reduce meat intake and also athletes.
Sade Chocolats in Geneva is possibly one of the best chocolates I ate in my life and after the delivery I discovered that the chocolate maker lives in my neighborhood! I can’t wait to meet her!
Bianco Latte, Nikols e-fine Grocery, Domaine Katrantzis are all based in Switzerland, but they helped with my Mediterranean food cravings! I also can’t wait to participate on the olive oils tastings provided by Nicole Katrantzis who’s an Oil Sensory Expert and an official taster of the Swiss Olive Oil Panel (SOP).
L’Atelier du Fromage and The Small Batch Project, same same but different, as these companies are basically finding the best cheeses and chocolates respectively in order to each offer those as a pack with constantly good discoveries.
And finally, Degustus Extra Virgin Olive Oil deserves attention, Elia Fuster Rius started her business importing Spanish olive oil at the beginning of Covid in Switzerland. She is Spanish and she stated to me “I’m sure I’m bringing the best olive oil I can find in Spain to Switzerland!”, I found it wonderful on how she trusts and she is passionate about her product when she described it to me. Wonderful enough, this olive oil just won last week the Gold Award Winner 2020 from the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, which is the world’s largest and most prestigious olive oil contest. She was right!
I’m sure I’m forgetting many, there are tons of wonderful small businesses in Switzerland. I invite everyone to go browse www.swissdelivery.ch to have many pleasant discoveries. I’m a fan of the Funky Discoveries category, so many businesses I didn’t think it existed, like the gluten-free condoms, yep, Swiss made!
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