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Ibiza Business People: Daniel Witte, Sal de Ibiza

A new series on Spotlight......

A new series on Spotlight featuring some of the island's best known or best loved businesses and the people behind them.

Founder and managing owner of Sal de Ibiza, Daniel Witte has a long association with the island, having first come here with his parents as a baby. Here Daniel talks about the journey he has taken that leads to the launch of his company.

When did you first come to Ibiza?

“I first came here as a 3-month old baby, so I obviously don't have strong memories of that time, but I did spend all my summers in Ibiza and didn't really want to go anywhere else.”

What were your first memories of the island?

“My parents collected an interesting set of friends: architects, artists, lots of dissidents. It was the pre-hippy period when lots of free thinkers came to the island to escape the war and the Franco regime in Spain. My parents had a Jewish friend who had managed to escape the Nazis twice. He was a very interesting man: an art dealer and poet. As back then and now it is a place for independent minds.”

Tell us about your business in Ibiza; what does it do and who for?

“We make very natural products; the area of Salinas is very protected, so what you get is a very organic base product. Our Fleur de Sel salt pots are very popular in Germany, whilst the more design-conscious Scandinavians like our glass and wood salt grinders. Our granita salts have a variety of flavours, things like chilli, Mediterranean herbs and flower petals – all these sell very well. We also have a boutique outside of Santa Eulalia, which sells other products that are either made on the island or have an association with it, so you'll find decorated baskets, bikinis from Laura Sanchez and men's, swimming trunks made in Formentera.”

What led you to create Sal de Ibiza; where did the idea come from; what was your inspiration?

“Apparently I had the idea first when on my birthday I was having lunch in Las Salinas with my friends and I said to them: ‘you know that big mound of salt over there, I'm going to put it into little bags and sell it.' I didn't do anything about it until later as I had a different career as a film producer and had started a film production company. The 2002 financial crisis put an end to that and I realised I needed a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I went in search of a new idea by going to see old university friends in the US and Canada. Reading through magazines like Wallpaper and Interview Ibiza seemed to jump out at me. I went back to my original idea; spoke to the managing director of the salinera, the salt works, who was very supportive. I then created a recognisable brand and got patent protection for Sal de Ibiza. It's surprising, people had talked about doing it, but no one had ever done it.”

How does Ibiza differ as a place to run a business?

“It depends on who you deal with. We have always had a good relationship with the managing director of the salinera in Ibiza and this has been very important to our success. Also, here the product is sold everywhere and has a completely different distribution strategy; you'll even find it in petrol stations. In all other markets it is a high-end gourmet product and the distribution strategy is very narrow; you'll find it in fine food places next to the olive oils and prosciutto, so for example, places like Fortnum and Mason and Harvey Nichols in London and Dean & DeLuca in New York.”

What is your proudest achievement?

“That was when shortly after I had started the company I went to the rural shop in Ibiza that my mother used to take me to; it's still there. There amongst all the other groceries was a range of our products. It was a very touching moment.”

As a business leader, what advice would you give to people wanting to start a new business on Ibiza?

“Don't try to milk the cow till it drops dead; to build a credible brand, you need to have a good story behind it. What you create has to be real; and, you have to believe in it.”

What have your learned as a person through your business on Ibiza?

“Don't just think that you can do yet another CD compilation, try and look what is around you and make a business out of that. It has to be authentic.”

What are your plans for the future?

“There is a lot more high-end tourism in Ibiza and consequently more choice and refinement; this fits in with what we are about. We can still grow geographically and spread the brand more widely and open new markets. I have a long list of products that I'd like to do, all within the scope of the product range. New product development is costly; however, all our profits are put back into the company, so step by step we will see more Sal de Ibiza products in the future.”


Vital statistics

Business: Sal de Ibiza

Founded: 2004

Website: www.saldeibiza.com

Main products: Fleur de Sel, Granito, Molino, Chocolate a la Flor de Sal

Availability: All over Ibiza and specialist shops in the UK, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia and now the US and Japan

Spotlight product pick: Granito salt with chilli


WORDS | Julian Heathcote

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