What started out as a hobby, has now turned into a lucrative business for 043 Sweet Garlic Sauce founder Siphelele Zekani.
He went from selling hotdogs to launching his business in 2018 which now supplies a major retailer in the Eastern Cape.
Zekani told Vutivi News that although he took consumer studies at school, he did not pursue it while at university.
“While I was studying Forestry at the University of Fort Hare I enjoyed cooking, so in 2017 decided to turn my hobby into something that can earn me money,” he said.
“I started operating a shisanyama in East London and I was selling hotdogs, sausage rolls and wings on the streets. I had a gazebo and a gas grill and a marinade that I researched from the internet.” Zekani, who is from East London, said that it was at this time he decided to make his own sauce and turned to the internet to get information on what was required. “When I started producing the sauce, I used primary ingredients and I told myself that I wanted to be different from other sauce manufacturing companies. The biggest challenge that I faced was being able to find the right preservative so that my sauce wouldn’t expire quickly,” he said.
“I also wanted to change people’s perspectives on garlic. In black communities, people don’t like garlic because of how it smells and tastes, so I used a sweetener so that the taste of garlic is not dominant even though it is the dominating ingredient.”
Zekani said that his biggest achievement was clinching a deal to supply Spar in his region with his sauce. Before that, he sold directly to customers. He currently supplies the retailer in Dutywa, Gatyana, East London and King William’s Town.
“I had been dealing with direct selling, and people knew the sauce and how it tastes and that it is well-preserved and expires after two years. When I approached the managers of Spar, it wasn’t difficult to convince them to let me supply because some of them have seen me on the street selling my product,” Zekani said.
“It also sells fast because when people see it on the shelves, they remember that it is the one I used to sell on the street. At first, it seemed daunting to approach them, but I did not let that deter me. “Soon I will be able to supply nationwide because I just received funding,” Zekani said.