- Tell us about yourself, a bit of background.
I am a wife to Richard and mom to Mikaylin. We have a cat and a dog who live with us in Johannesburg. Richard and I used to live on game reserves before moving to the big city. We love nature and often travel to the beach and the bush.
2. What were you doing before you started this business?
Straight after school I entered the world of hotels, restaurants and game lodges. I’ve worked in London and Florida, Cape Town and various game lodges in the Eastern Cape. It’s here that I found my passion for people and food.
Currently, Max & Bella is a part-time business. It is not making enough money (yet) to justify resigning from my full time job.
- How do you juggle the responsibilities of being a mom with your work?
It’s tough being in an 8-5 position but fortunately I have an employer who understands that you don’t employ people, you employ families. They’re understanding and offer me flexibility with my time. When I spend time with daughter, I try to be present. We go for walks and I read to her every day. We have baths together and we have dance parties. When I’m preparing food or baking biscuits, I try to involve her. Mikaylin remains my priority and I always ensure she has received attention from me before I focus on work.
- Do you have a business plan? If so, can you share a bit about your strategy to make it successful?
We started out without a plan, but we have since understood the importance of having a plan. It keeps evolving. I know we should have something concrete in black and white but we haven’t had time to do that yet. Right now our plan is to grow awareness of our brand.
- How do you get clients/ market yourself?
This is tough! The dog biscuit industry is competitive. There are a lot of people who bake for their own dogs and who sell their baked goods. We attend markets to build a customer base. We also utilise social media to grow awareness. We focused on our website and our online store to make it easy for people across South Africa to get our treats.
- What’s your biggest challenge right now?
Time and money. We’re working on an exciting new product but for it to be successful, we need to invest our own funds (not easy when our employment is uncertain) and focus a lot of our time and energy on development and strategy. We feel we have one chance to get this right which is a lot of pressure!
- Did you need a lot of money to start off? And how long was it before you made a profit?
We did need some money, but luckily not too much. We calculated the risks and we decided to invest our own money into the business. We have made a profit but we have re-invested all the profit to allow us to build the business. According the books, we’re breaking even at the moment.
- What makes your business unique from other brands?
Our passion and our services. We love what we do! We’ve always dreamed of having our own little “dog deli”. I’d still love to open a shop where we bake treats for our “best friends”. We’ve focused on quality products, quality presentation and accessibility. Our customers can order from our website with ease.
- Share with us your social media links and website.
Instagram: @MaxandBellaZA (https://www.instagram.com/maxandbellaza/)
Website and Online Store: http://maxandbella.co.za
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