Entrepreneur cashes in on family recipe


Owning a business gives you a chance to become an expert in your field. When you’re self-employed, you often handle all of the work, especially in the beginning.

Self-employment has many perks to it. First and foremost is connection with customers. When you’re self-employed, you often handle all of the work, especially in the beginning. That means you get to build strong relationships with your customers. You’re working directly with each person who uses your services or buys your products. You get a unique opportunity to get to know those customers, which gives you insight into what they want. That connection can also help build loyalty in those customers to help keep them coming back to your business in the future.

Growing your own business is often more satisfying than helping another company grow. You don’t have to become a nationally known brand to feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. It’s often the little milestones that mean the most when you’re self-employed: finding your first client, moving to your first commercial space, expanding to a second location. As your company grows, you can look back to see how far you’ve come and know it’s all because of what you started.

When you first start working for yourself, you might simply want a change from the corporate world or to gain more independence than you can have working for someone else. As your business grows, you’re establishing a company that can last. You might pull in other family members to help grow the business. If you have kids, you may pass down the family business to them when you decide to retire. Starting a small business can give you a legacy that lasts.

The owner of Pula Brands Mpho Gebert is living proof of. She attended workshops to learn how to make bar soap, and used her family recipe to make ginger beer, which makes her an expert in her field. She gives theReporter some insight into her business.

Tell us about yourself and your business

My name is Mpho Gebert and my business is Pula Brands. I make khemere (ginger beer) and handmade bath soap. Pula Brands was established in March 2019 as a source of additional income. With limited cash flow, I had to look for something that did not require a lot to start doing, something I was familiar with and would enjoy doing. So I started bottling khemere. Right about the same time, I attended a soap making workshop. This was exciting because it meant I could make and customize my soap. I had all this rosemary, mint and spinach growing in my garden and I thought why not use it in my soap.

What are some of the challenges that you experience in this business?

The challenge at the moment is breaking into the market and having to compete with big brands and more established individuals. I didn’t study for what I am doing per se; I attended a workshop on soap making and from there it’s gathering information as I go. As for the khemere,I have been using the same recipe from my family for as long as I can remember.

What advice would you have for other young people who want to venture into business?

For anyone wanting to start a business, I would say go ahead and start it, do a market research, don’t be afraid to start small, stay determined, do something everyday to further your business (no matter how small it may be), stay focused and remind yourself each day why you started. Mostly importantly, believe in yourself. Learn something new every day about your business/product so as to improve yourself. Be open to networking.

What are you hoping to achieve in the near future?

I am hoping to have a range of soaps in the near future and to eventually have a factory and an outlet for the soap. In the same breath I am hoping to grow the ginger beer business by tapping into a wider market. With the growth of the business I would be able to create some employment. Since the start of the business it has been an ongoing learning experience and I thrive on producing quality products.