The FINANCIAL — Despite the world economical crisis Santa Clauses’ marketing abroad is presumed to be always working. Meanwhile in Georgia Santa’s motivator is just enthusiasm with no financial encouragement. “It’s not a profitable business” claim most of the Santa Clauses questioned by The FINANCIAL.
“You can’t earn a million in a day doing this business. It lasts only a day. We take fun, as it’s close to our profession. Most of the Santas are actors,” George Rukhadze, Artist of Sponge Bob kid’s entertaining centre, told The FINANCIAL.
Tsitsi Gogsadze, Manager of GM Group, says “The season of Santa’s business lasts from December 22 to January 14. Actually it’s not a profitable business.”
“Santa services are not much developed in Georgia. The problem is the low popularity of Santas among Georgians. If 90% of Georgian families visited Santas with their children, then a lot more people would sit and think about the advantages of doing a job like this. Whereas the reality in Georgia is that the job doesn’t hold any interest. If I knew that these two weeks would be very financially beneficial for me I would postpone lot of things to solely focus on the job,” Rukhadze says.
Rukhadze says one of the main obstacles for the business is that most children do not believe in Santa’s existence. “Once a child asked me, if you are a Santa, then who is Grandfather Frost (Soviet Santa)?” Rukadze added.
“Santa’s business in Georgia isn’t really developed. Unfortunately nowadays Georgians haven’t enough experience of this business, but people still like to cheer up their children and make them believe that Santa truly exists,” Datchi Kikvidze, 24, declared.
“In our family we have a small child and so on every New Year we try to call Santa for him. Though it’s quite expensive, we always try to make the child happy on Christmas as he believes in Santa’s existence. The service that Georgian Santas offer isn’t perfect and should be made more appropriate to their price,” Kikvidze says.
Online Group which offers different types of services and started working from August 2008 added a New Year service among which is calling Santa Clause.
“We inquired in to different companies before starting this work. As it is the first time for us. We can’t say if it will be a money-making business. It will depend on the number of orders. We can’t yet state what number of citizens will call Santa Clauses,” says Kate Jishiashvili, General Director of Online Group.
“My biggest competitors are people who spend more on advertising. You can hardly find our service’s advertisements on TV or on the radio as the prices are too high. This is a one-time business and does not cost so much. I spent several years in this business and now I don’t want to lose the opportunity to make one day’s profit,” Rukhadze, Sponge Bob, noted.
“Our company has existed for six years. We started Santa’s Calling Service two years ago. Totally we have 4 groups of Santa Clauses and Snow Maidens. We have clowns, Spidermen, Georgian Grandfather-Frost, and Imps that are part of our show. We already have orders for New Year’s Eve. We expect to have about 100 orders for New Year’s night,” Gogsadze, GM, noted.
“We try to have accessible prices. Calling Santa costs USD 30. It is a 15-20 minute programme, with symbolic presents, toys and sweets,” Tsitsi, GM, says.
“The price of the national Grandfather-Frost is USD 45. Our prices depend on the time when you would like to order Santa. Santa and Snow Maiden cost USD 70. With every additional hero USD 30 is added. A 30 minute show costs USD 60. We have triple language Santas: Georgian, Russian and English,” Gogsadze says.
“The price of an order was USD 24 last year and we have not changed it. It includes about a 10-15 minute advertising programme and also sweets and presents. In case of 20 minutes you have to pay USD 36,” Rukadze, Sponge Bob, declared.
“We have about 20 Santas and over 7 Snow Maidens. Last year we had 8 Santas and received 100 orders only on New Year’s Eve. We start taking orders from 25 December which last till January 15. We also receive orders from kindergartens,” Rukhadze added.
“We have 5 Santas. Their programme lasts about 15-20 minute and the price is USD 60. This includes a symbolic present. The maximum price is USD 90. This is for kindergartens, where our Santa’s spent more time than at home. We did not have orders for Snow Maidens, but we are thinking of adding this service,” Djishiashvili, Online Group, noted.
“I am an actor and have big experience in Santa’s work. I already have loyal clients and don’t need to work at some kind of organization or make advertisements. The most important thing in this business is the attitude toward the kids. You must gather some kind of information about the children you are paying a visit to. My prices start from USD 60. I write down scenario with different leads. I already have my loyal clients and so don’t have to advertise,” Vakhtang Melashvili, actor, told The FINANCIAL.
“Our main advantage is our prices. I know that my rivals have too high prices, three times higher than us. I can’t understand why they should put such high prices as there is no difference in quality. They put too much money on advertisements and have to repurchase the invested amount. For me it would be too expensive,” Rukhadze says.
“Our Santas are actors. We bought the Santas costumes ourselves. The priorities of our company are making interesting types of Santas. We get different ways of advertisements. As our users are mostly internet users we choose this direction. Half of the cost is taken by the Santa Clauses. We plan to be more competitive next year,” Jishiashvili says.
“I was only eleven when I find out that the person covered in Santa’s costume was my sister. I did not even know that we had such a service in Georgia. I am a representative of the middle classes and for us it’s really better to spent this additional money on presents for our children and put it simply under the Christmas-tree, or to ask my brother to dress up and enter after ten minutes dressed as Santa and then present gifts to my child,” Nino Samsonadze, 26, says.
GM says the company can offer additional services to corporate clients: distributing congratulating letters to employees. “The price will be USD 3 for each letter,” Jishiashvili says.
Written By Madona Gasanova