The founder of South Africa’s first black-owned kettle brand, Yandisa Zulu, had to sell a “smart mirror” to find money to launch his company. It also took him seven years of researching the kettle industry.
And his efforts have paid off.
Zulu named his product Zuluish, which is pronounced “Zulu Wish”. “My surname is Zulu and I named it Zuluish because it has always been my dream and my wish to build a brand like this that is globally competitive,” he said. Soon after launching Zuluish this year, orders started streaming in from South Africa and the rest of the world for his electronic kettle.
Zulu said that when he launched the kettle, he had residents who live in townships and rural areas in mind. “Here in South Africa we have an issue of high electricity bills, so I fixed that by creating a kettle that consumes less electricity,” he said. “On top of that, the kettle is 70% bigger than the biggest kettle in the market which is 1.7 litres.
“This will help people living in a one-room house or in the rural areas who cannot afford a geyser and depend on a kettle to boil water to bathe,” he said. The kettle uses induction technology, which means it consumes up to 75% less electricity. It also keeps the water warmer for longer than regular electric kettles.
Zulu, who works for an interior designing company that provides high-end luxury furniture, told Vutivi News that to establish his business, he sold a smart mirror to one of the clients he was working with to raise the capital “The client was building a house in Gauteng and was looking for furniture and other household items,” he said.
“I told him about a smart mirror and how you can use it to automate your whole house, monitor surveillance, listen to music and browse the internet. He bought into the idea and we designed a mirror that is almost two metres in length. I took that money and started my business.” Zulu also said that 50% of the expenses manufacturing the kettles were carried by the company he works for, Quatre Saisons Pty (LTD).
Zulu’s invention is also making a contribution to the re-industrialisation of the South African economy, which mainly imports major household appliances. “Appliances like this kettle are not manufactured in South Africa so I want to change that and empower South Africans into believing that they too can manufacture what they do not believe they could,” he said.