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How Irvins S’pore went from selling salted egg yolk crab to regional snack empire

No lizard will defeat it.

Mandy How | January 4, 05:08 pm

Irvins, a famous brand of salted egg snacks from Singapore, was recently thrust into the spotlight thanks to a certain wayward lizard:

Deep-fried lizard, possibly salted egg flavoured, found inside Irvins Salted Egg Fish Skin packet

The company later took full responsibility and apologised, promising to look into the matter.

Irvins “sincerely apologises” for dead lizard in packet, promises to investigate further

One might find the apology admirable for confronting the issue and taking the proverbial bull by its horns.

As it is, a video by SCMP published in July 2018 provides another glimpse of Irvins as a company.

This is the eponymous Irvin Gunawan, by the way:

Screenshot via SCMP/YouTube

And these are Gunawan’s brothers, who are the company’s COO (Chief Operating Officer) and CFO (Chief Financial Officer).

Screenshot via SCMP/YouTube

Origin story

Irvins has been in existence for four years.

Before that, however, Gunawan had a restaurant business.

Their signature dish of salted egg crab drew plenty of customers, who also ordered fish skins and chips to be taken away.

After a while, the entrepreneurs decided to package it in a jar instead, to facilitate the takeaway requests:

Screenshot via SCMP/YouTube

That was when sales of the fish skins and chips doubled — even tripled.

They eventually changed their packaging to the zip-seal pouch we see today.

“We’ve never really spent anything on marketing”

In the interview, Gunawan also reveals that the company doesn’t spend much on marketing.

“People know about the salted egg thing. We didn’t spend a dollar on Facebook ads,” he says.

The video also takes its audience through Irvins’ centre hub, which all its products pass through before being distributed in Singapore, Manila, and Hong Kong.

Screenshot via SCMP/YouTube
Screenshot via SCMP/YouTube

In the near future, Irvins plans to grow a few more stores in Singapore and to focus on expanding their business internationally.

You can watch the video here:

Top image screen shot SCMP/YouTube

About Mandy How

Mandy is a pantry rat. She eats everything in the pantry (except other people's food).

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