1995–2000. From distribution to in-house brands
UPECO started in the middle of the 90’s as a distributor of shoe care products. However the company moved forward from the distribution very quickly, and in 1997 began to develop its own brands in several product categories of the consumer market.
The first brand in the UPECO portfolio was Raptor which in no time created a competitive environment in the insecticides market and became a trend setter in this product category in Russia. Raptor offered natural and eco-friendly, unscented, green anti-mosquito plates that were widely advertised on the TV. The main character of the TV commercial at that time was a flamboyant green frog, and the slogan ran «Only the green is dangerous for mosquitoes and safe for people. Only Raptor green anti-mosquito plates. Without any scent. Approved by the Ministry of Health of Russia.» Success was right around the corner: the new product soon became a best-seller; and in a year, Raptor gained a leading position in the market. The brand has remained No.1 in this category to this day.
This milestone inspired our company to achieve even more. In 1998, a bright star — the Salton brand — emerged in the market of shoe care products. This brand was the first to enter the Eastern market and paved the way for cooperation with the world’s largest manufacturer — China.
2000–2005. The road to the leadership
The turn of the century marked active accumulation of expert knowledge in the sphere of development and manufacture of in-house brands and products.
In 2001, the company discovered a new focus area and launched a new brand called Forester that offered branded equipment and accessories for grills and barbecues. The brand contributed to popularisation of the culture of picnicking in Russia, making outdoor recreation activities more convenient, comfortable and stylish for everyone. During the same period the company started to develop a new line of repellents called Gardex that, after a successful launch, became a true market leader.
The success of the in-house brands opened the way to new markets (in 2004, the second representative office in Kyiv was established), and catalysed renewal of the company ideology on the whole. The focus shifted to the development of products that are beneficial to consumers and help them to enjoy their lives to the full in different everyday activities.
The new mindset and values required a change of the company’s name. The new name emerged as an abbreviation of the people community united by shared values: UPECO (United PEople COmmunity).
2005–2010. One step ahead
After the renaming of the company it was time to renew all its best-selling brands.
The first campaign involved a major rebranding of Salton when the brand got a bright new yellow colour scheme. This colour alluded to the origins of the shoe care industry (natural oils, resins, wax) and added joy, dynamics and energy to the brand image. The Salton rebranding triggered a change in the product portfolio policy; the company gained valuable experience in multichannel distribution management and started to treat the in-house brands with even more attention and care.
The Raptor brand was completely renewed too. The focus shifted from the idea of disinsection to protection of people from insects. It was a revolutionary concept in the international insecticide market that had never been used before. The two important awards — Confidence Brand 2007 and People’s Brand 2008 — proved the correct choice of a new strategy.
Gardex made a quantum leap too. In 2006, the sales growth was +30% compared to the previous year, which was attributed to the improvement of the already existing products and release of new products for kids. During that period, Gardex started cooperation with the Research and Development Institute of Disinfectology of the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing, the leading research centre in the sphere of insectology in Russia.
At the same time, Forester set record after record. The brand got the first patent for a unique product — a charcoal grill with stiffener ribs. Around 200 restaurant teams from the seven largest Russian cities participated in the Forester Cup BBQ championships, and more than fifty thousand people attended the picnic festival. In 2008, during the celebration of the company’s anniversary, the UPECO employees assembled the longest charcoal grill in the world (101.4 metres). Thus Forester entered the Guinness Book of Records.
The company continued to build up the basis of its ideology — more possibilites for people. UPECO started to operate not as a business, but as a community of like-minded people sharing mutual interests, mindsets and values. Such an approach let the employees work and evolve in different directions with truly limitless possibilities for achieving success and leading positions.
2010–2015. Marketing as art
The 2009 economic recession influenced the operation of many companies and brands, but UPECO successfully overcame this challenge, and not only upgraded its leading brands but also launched products in new categories of the consumer market.
In 2010, two brands of air fresheners were launched. Breesal entered the market as a unique niche brand, and soon became the air freshener market leader in the category «Sachets» with a 49% market share. Deliss Auto shook the car air freshener market with constant innovations in technologies and design.
In 2013, a unique brand Racionika was launched. It opened a new innovative direction of healthcare and wellbeing products for UPECO. The Expel brand entered the market during the same year, adding the bio-activator category to the company portfolio.
The best-selling UPECO brands continued improving and strengthening their leading positions in the market. The main tools to achieve the consumer satisfaction were constant improvement of the already existing products, continuous release of new products and never-ending innovations. TV commercials were one of the main focuses too as the quickest and the most effective way of appealing to the consumer.
2015 — today. Change while staying true to ourselves
In 2015, UPECO celebrated two anniversaries: 20 years of being in the market and 10 years of the name «UPECO». The company reached this milestone with the portfolio of very different brands, including not only the Russian FMCG market best-sellers but also several great new products.
In 2016, Salton took the risk and launched a high-price sub-brand — Salton Expert, and for the first time its combined market share reached 31% which was 3.5 times higher than the market growth. Gardex continued to improve the whole range of products and launched, among others, an innovative sub-brand — Gardex Naturin with essential oils in the formulations. This sub-brand had so much success that in 2017, a new line of insecticides was added, and the market share doubled compared to the previous season.
Forester also discovered new horizons with sets of condiments, a children’s line, a mobile line which was convenient and easy to use even «in the wild», and also a new Soyuzgrill trade name in the mid-price segment. Our first «edible» brand, Racionika after only 2.5 years of operation has entered the Top-3, and even in the worst economic situation, when the largest players lose sales, it shows a considerable growth of 76%.
New challenges arising from the unstable and controversial routine stimulate UPECO to perform the internal revision and upgrade the corporate culture and existing ideologies. No matter how much the company changes, it always stays true to itself and continues on its pathway of creation and creativity in order to improve our everyday life. The core of the company’s ideology remains the same — it is unlimited possibilities for people. This is the only way to develop vivid and viable brands that are loved by millions and able to withstand any external hardships.