A 23-year-old entrepreneur Katlego Komana from Mankweng Unit C in Limpopo has her arms up the sleeves as she is set in making her mark into the coffee and wine markets respectively under her company Kay Holdings. Kay Holdings, which Komana describes as a premium female black-owned company was founded in May 2019 and specializes in Kay Coffee and Kay Wine(s).
Initially, when the second-year Master of Medical Sciences Wits University student founded the company, her sole purpose was to tap into the coffee industry but was captivated to tap into the wine industry too. “Well, I am a coffee lover and I have always wanted to tap into the market,” she said. With the latter market, the interest developed when she was out and about, dining with friends and relatives. “I was out with friends and then the concept of manufacturing wine popped into my mind since research has also shown that there are a few black-owned wine brands, particularly female-owned.
I felt the need to fill the space,” Komana said.
“Also, I was inspired by Beth Malatji – founder of ReBeth Wines. Her story gave me confidence that I could do it too,” she added. Though she is still in the process of manufacturing both, she sources ethically produced products from artisans in Africa, as well as organic and natural wines from independent winemakers with admirable stories. “We source specialty coffees from around the world that are traceable to the Rwanda Farmers Coffee, and carefully roast them ourselves,” she said.
“I am also working with the Frater family yard in Cape Town. Our collaboration transpired as I made a proposal to become their partner since I have a solid foundation of knowledge in wine,” she highlighted. But she also maintains that it is quite hard to tap into the wine and coffee industries, as there are a couple of challenges one faces such as sustainability of the business, funding and access to the market which makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to launch their products.
“Also, late payments or no payments from clients are quite a challenge as well as selling wine directly to a consumer outside the state. Direct to Trade (DTT) and finding a comprehensive technology solution to streamline sales (E-com, wine club, tasting room point of sale, etc.) is also quite challenging,” Komana
said. The venture was also severely affected by the nationwide lockdown as Komana had to let go of her staff of 5 due to some financial constraints in maintaining the business since it is self-funded.
“Well, I was quite devastated as I had to let go of my employees and do a lot of the work on my own. It has also affected the sales as I was in a transformation process where I wanted to introduce the re-branded edition of Kay Wine. It has caused a delay in that process,” she said. Komana, who is the eldest of three children, holds an honours degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Limpopo.
She is also the founder of The Limpopo Business Club – a non-profit company established in June 2019 to drive the development of youth entrepreneurship. “We are also established to drive the economic growth through targeted entrepreneurship activities that collectively address the issues of SMME’s. We provide our members with an opportunity to advance their businesses, as well as linkage to business and market,” Komana told Mukurukuru Media. In the long run, she hopes “to become the established premium wine and coffee brand across the country and furthermore around the world and to create job opportunities for the youth”. – Mukurukuru Media