Mosibudi Makgato and Rosemary Padi, founders of YaMama Gemmer, plan to distribute their traditional ginger beer internationally. They created the ginger beer of YaMama Gemmer from a family recipe.Mosibudi Makgato and Rosemary Padi, founders of YaMama Gemmer, want to distribute their traditional ginger beer internationally. “Our product must be something that is on tourists’ list to get whenever they come to South Africa.” (Image: Melissa Javan)Melissa JavanSocial media was the number one marketing tool to get a traditional South African product into the hands of more customers, said the founders of YaMama Gemmer. Rosemary Padi and her sister, Mosibudi Makgato, created the ginger beer of YaMama Gemmer from a family recipe.The two recently took part in the Japan Summit in Johannesburg, where they got a chance to give the ambassador of Japan and other delegates a taste of their signature product.Digital transformation is neededThe National Small Business Chamber survey found that 43% of small business owners struggled with the sales and marketing of their businesses.The chamber’s Mike Anderson said that more than more than 10,000 small business owners took part in the survey, which was released last year. He urged entrepreneurs to become rainmakers. “Give your business a digital transformation. Be brutal on money.”Makgato and Padi are not afraid to take their marketing to social media. Makgato said people tagged them in images on Instagram whenever they were drinking YaMama Gemmer. “Someone tagged us in an image showing they’re having the drink with cereal,” she said. “Instagram is a beautiful platform for us.”Neighbourhood markets were also a good way to get more sales. “We also exhibit at a lot of expos. We work closely with Proudly South African and that’s how we find out about the expos.”The @YaMamaGemmer stand looks so good, waiting for their slush puppy #MakhelwaneFest #VayaSoweto @visitgauteng #TravelMassiveJHB pic.twitter.com/2DAmkLIDbu— PULY (@PulyBeast) December 2, 2016The beginningIt all started with their mother, Mmapula Makgato, who was always asked to make ginger beer for functions. “When there’s a function, everyone asks certain people to do certain things.“We know who does it best so we stick to a certain person making that thing at a family gathering. I won’t ask my sister to make salad, because I know it’s not her strongpoint,” said Padi.The skill of making products such as ginger beer was dying. Many of the older women who used to make it, no longer have the physical strength needed to produce it, explained Padi. This opened a market for them to produce and sell their family recipe.Their researchBoth Padi and Makgato were working full time in the corporate world when they started YaMama Gemmer. They started with research first.According to Makgato, there were a lot of products on the market that were close to ginger beer. There was also several synthetic products that claimed to be ginger beer. “A lot of people had bad experiences with these products.”For example, people complained of getting heartburn.“We then had to educate people about our product. We told them that it was a natural product,” she said. “Since we started we have never had bad experiences. Clients who complained about the bad experiences with other products, came back to us with positive feedback.”Makgato said that they also talk to people about health concerns, especially diabetes. “We talk about the amount of sugar that is in our ginger beer versus in other drinks. Other drinks have more sugar in them, which may be harmful. Our drink does not have preservatives in it.”They did not only learn about market research; they also learned about the different sugars that went into the drink as well as food safety and complying to certain standards, said Makgato.They were continuously learning new things. “Things change – so we have to keep up with the local as well as international trends.” Last year, for example, they rebranded YaMama Gemmer so its label would be suitable for an international market.Taking the leapYaMama is sold as a concentrated drink and as ready-made bottles. (Image: Melissa Javan)In August 2014, Padi quit her corporate job in the information technology industry and went to work on YaMama full-time with an assistant.YaMama’s shop opened last year in Randburg, Johannesburg and the factory has been running since November 2015 at the Riversands Incubation Hub in Midrand. YaMama Gemmer now employs five people.YaMama Gemmer is distributed to Soweto, Vosloorus and Lesotho, among others, and the sisters are planning to expand the business outside the country.Watch Rosemary Padi and Mosibudi Makgato talk about how people responded to their leaving their corporate jobs to start their own ginger beer-making business:Working togetherThe sisters said that it was great to work together. “We are best friends,” said Padi, referring to her father’s belief that family relationships laid a foundation. “He said that we must make friends at home first.“We know each other’s strengths and we capitalise on these. So each of us can deal with pressures and situations differently.”Makgato added: “It helps us to go about business because we know each other’s strengths. For instance, if it’s a situation where someone has to be firm, I’ll come in. When it’s a merry situation, (my sister) comes in.”Padi agreed. “I’m the people pleaser. I’m much more patient than Makgato is.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
South Africans have long had a love affair with cooking over flames. A new restaurant in Johannesburg, Marble, captures that essence by cooking most things – from meat to veggies and bread – on an open fire, in a kitchen open to diners’ view. Acclaimed chef David Higgs and his business partner, Gary Kyriacou, opened their doors in August.Gary Kyriacou (left) and chef David Higgs (right) open the restaurant Marble in August 2016. (Image: Supplied)Priya PitamberWhen the sun sets in Johannesburg, the teal ceramic tiles on the far rear wall of the kitchen glisten and gleam. It makes for a surreal setting at Marble, David Higgs’ new restaurant in Rosebank.Despite the cool aloofness of marble itself, which forms many a table-top in the restaurant, the décor and earthy hues are instantly relaxing as you walk through the doors.A bonus is the panoramic view of Johannesburg. It is easy to see that the lush city is one of the largest man-made forests in the world.Higgs is one of South Africa’s most acclaimed chefs, with a solid reputation. From 1997 to 2004 he was a member of the South African National Culinary Team. He also represented the country at the Culinary World Cup in Switzerland and the Culinary Olympics in Germany.He and business partner Gary Kyriacou teamed up to open Marble. The concept began over two years ago when Kyriacou came up with the idea for the restaurant because he and his wife were looking for places to get dressed up, to go and have a great night out; to enjoy good food and spend time together.“So Gary put together the concept for Marble, for a restaurant which would offer its customers more than just a plate of food,” said Higgs. “He had a name, a logo, a whole concept. What he didn’t have was someone who could not only cook, but who had the passion to bring this idea to life.”Kyriacou had a chance meeting with Higgs; following a meeting to talk about Kyriacou’s idea, the chef instantly took to it. Higgs, in turn, showed Kyriacou a proposed site for the restaurant: Trumpet on Keyes in Rosebank’s Keyes Art Mile. A week later the lease was signed. The rest, as it is said, is history.Marble’s doors opened on 15 August 2016.A good South African fitThe restaurant specialises in live fire cooking with a custom made grill imported from the US. This has been a growing trend internationally – not that South Africans are strangers to cooking over a fire.“Marble embodies South Africans’ love of cooking with fire, a quality that makes our food culture different from the rest of the world.” The restaurant not only prepares meat over a fire, but all other food items as well, such as fish, poultry, vegetables and breads.In fact, the fire is lit in the morning and is maintained throughout the day.The speciality at Marble is food cooked over a fire that is constantly burning. (Image: Supplied)Spoilt for choiceThe team at Marble worked together to develop a menu. Higgs grew up in Namibia so he included an array of seafood dishes.“There’s also great steak and other cuts of red meat – South Africa has some of the best meat in the world, so that needs to be showcased,” he said. “For the salad and vegetables, the items on the menu demonstrate the flavour that vegetables can derive from being cooked on wood and coals.”So far, the blackened octopus has proved the most popular. It is served with crushed paprika potato, candied lemon and squid ink dressing.For those with a sweet tooth, there is the signature ice-cream sandwiches.Though Marble is not certified halaal or kosher, it will cater for religious or cultural dietary requirements. “For more complicated dietary requirements, we just ask that our customers let us know in advance and we will do our best to assist.”Looking aheadAlthough Cape Town has a higher number of fine dining restaurants compared with Johannesburg, Higgs said the City of Gold’s residents were cosmopolitan and had a lust for an experience that went beyond a plate of food.“South Africa’s restaurant culture is well-recognised as vibrant, with its patrons growing savvier and demanding better food, great service and a dining experience with personality.”Higgs believes that Marble has international appeal and while they are concentrating on Johannesburg for now, future plans could include ventures in cities such as Dubai, London and New York.And the name? “Marble refers to the marbling in a good cut of meat, but also marble stone – elegant, classy and timeless.” And the restaurant encapsulates that, and more.See more images of Marble: (Images: Supplied)
I’m fresh off of the road attending the US Department of Energy’s National Weatherization Training Conference in Indianapolis last week. This was my first trip to the Circle City, and I was pleasantly surprised. Clean, great architecture, nice bars, including an authentic 1897 German Rathskeller beer hall (I went there twice in three days).I was also surprised by the information presented at one of the conference sessions. Michael Blasnik of Blasnik & Associates in Boston facilitated a session called “How Not to Save Energy.” I was excited about the session because I had heard lots of colleagues talk about Blasnik’s research.Blasnik first explained his basic approach to energy efficiency data analysis: It’s easy to lie with statistics, but it’s a lot easier without statistics. So he reviews raw data, and lots of it. He analyzes information from as many homes as possible to get a realistic representation of performance without skews for occupant behavior. In the weatherization business, the savings-to-investment ratio (SIR) is a hugely important bit of datum. This is an indicator without units: the savings generated divided by the retrofit investment. If the SIR of an improvement is 1 or greater based on a 10-year payback period, it’s good. If the SIR is less than 1, then in some states weatherization assistance funds can be used for the percentage of the investment equivalent to the SIR ratio. For example, if a particular upgrade has a SIR of 2, then for every dollar invested in the upgrade, $2 is saved. If an upgrade has a SIR of .6, then DOE weatherization funds can pay for 60% of the strategy as long as the remainder of the funds are coming from somewhere else.Blasnik discussed a few trends in residential energy efficiency that make sense. Homes that use a lot of energy have the potential for the most savings. Big energy users equals big energy savers. Low energy users equals low energy savers. This relationship follows around a 15% trendline. To put it another way, average homeowners can save around 15% on energy bills with some simple weatherization techniques, no matter the size of the home and the energy usage. This goes for natural gas and electric baseloads.There are inaccuracies in what really saves energy and why homes that are weatherized aren’t saving as much as anticipated. Many times, occupant behavior gets the blame when it’s really that the wrong measures were taken to upfit the home. The data that Blasnik has seen over the years does not indicate that occupants altering thermostats is a significant reason behind lower-than-expected savings. The blame game also points the finger at people removing CFLs and low-flow showerheads, but Blasnik’s data shows that this only happens 25% of the time. Some folks blame lower savings on poor workmanship, but Blasnik again shows this to be false. Studies indicate that weatherization crews actually do a pretty good job with upgrades such as insulation installation.So what is the real culprit? According to Blasnik, the reasons are twofold: The algorithms that are used to calculate the savings are just bad, and this leads to some of the wrong strategies being employed to save energy. The algorithms, Blasnik argues, are outdated and underrepresent equipment efficiencies. He says that these calculations ignore basic physics, assume a high heating balance point, and underestimate heat regain from basements and attics.Bottom line, the algorithms used to calculate savings only measure the easily measured and implies that more sophisticated analysis is necessary to get to the root of the issue: What does/does not save real energy and real money?
zoom Switzerland’s logistics provider Agility Logistics has signed an agreement with Danish shipping giant Maersk Line to cut CO2 emissions by 15% per container transported for Agility shipments by 2020.The deal is part of Maersk’s Carbon Pact Challenge, an initiative which aims to drive down harmful emissions and reduce the environmental impact of container shipping, the Danish container carrier said.Under the contract, the parties will look for ways to cut emissions by shipping cargo on more fuel efficient ships, optimizing shipping routes, and taking other alternative steps to reduce CO2 emissions such as investigating how to integrate CO2 emission indicators into the regular business information flow and procurement of ocean shipping.“Responsible companies are looking for innovative, commercially viable ways to reduce the impact of their business on the environment,” Cas Pouderoyen, Agility Senior Vice President for Global Ocean Freight, said.The International Maritime Organization says ocean shipping accounts 3% of the world’s global CO2 emissions and 10% of global O2 emissions from transportation.