By: Tebogo Mokwena
Angel Theledi grew up in a family that made alcohol from scratch, and she always knew she was destined to turn this skill into a profitable business. As an adult, she learned that she had to tweak a recipe to make it more commercially viable, which resulted in a gin brand that Theledi believes is more palatable and healthier. Theledi told Vutivi News said she inherited Mkhala African Gin from her grandmother, who used to make alcohol in small portions.
When she did her research, she discovered that her grandmother’s recipe needed some work. “When I started the business in the early lockdown stages, I realised that we did not do it the right way when I was growing up as the alcohol level was too high and we did not know how to stabilise it,” said Theledi, who is from Dennilton in Limpopo but is now based in Johannesburg. “My research also revealed that South African laws did not permit me to manufacture alcohol for commercial sale in my own backyard, and this encouraged me to look for a distiller.
“Once I found the distiller of my choice, I was able to begin the process of manufacturing and selling Mkhala African Gin.” According to Theledi, her experience as a salesperson came in handy when she approached new clients. She said that Mkhala African Gin was distributed nationwide, with a strong presence in Gauteng. She also supplies a few restaurants and establishments in Gauteng, where her client base grows every month. “I set goals for myself each year in order to make and meet realistic targets, something I learned as a salesperson,” Theledi said.
“During the previous year (2021), I focused mainly on building a solid client base. “I found it challenging to sell the gin to people because they wanted to know why they should spend R300 for a bottle when they could get something for less. “I would inform them that the alcohol level in Mkhala African Gin makes it enjoyable for the drinker and is for those who want to wake up in the morning feeling fresh without nursing a hangover,” she said. The businesswoman also offers people samples to take home and try, and she believes this approach has also helped her secure a solid customer base.
Theledi’s focus for 2022 is to achieve a level of consistency throughout the year. “I set for myself a target of producing and selling at least 300 bottles per month,” she said. “It has been difficult to maintain, but I have succeeded in meeting that target as well.” Her target for the next two years is to tap into the retail space. “I decided to take my time in approaching the retail space because I believe that it would be unprofitable for me to go into retail without my brand being known,” she said. The company employs two people and the hand-crafted gin comes in three flavours – Mkhala African Gin original, Mkhala African Gin Citrus-Infused Oranges, and Grapefruit.