Business Focus – Nourish

Nourish’s story started early in 2016 when Sharon (Nompumelelo Nqenqa) attended a workshop at iKhaya le Themba for community members, on skills development. They were visited by a gentleman from Durban who showed them how to bake bread in a wood oven. The person running the workshop asked the ladies in attendance what they would like to do with their lives and what they wanted to be. That was the question that changed it all for Sharon. She had always wanted to do her own thing and she told the man that she wanted to become an entrepreneur. So, he organised places for them to be trained and before she knew it she was part of a three-woman bakery. The bakery didn’t last long , as it became very apparent that the ladies she was partnered with were not as ambitious or committed to the bakery as she was, and the bakery required a lot of time volunteering. However, Sharon kept on going as she knew what she wanted and she could see where it was going. She could see herself being greater.

Before Sharon’s house burned down in the tragic fire that devastated Imizamo Yethu in March this year, she had a small braai where she would sell meat and vetkoek. To her that was where her entrepreneurial journey began.

“I can see myself going places with what I am doing, and what I love about what I’m doing, I didn’t do this because of money, it’s because I love doing it. I love baking, I love cooking and I love helping people.”

Sharon is also very passionate about helping her community. She has demonstrated this by training and transferring the baking and bread making skills she has acquired through the various courses she has taken in previous years, to people in Imizamo Yethu who have asked for help. When things get busy at Nourish she also asks some of the people she has trained to come in and help her for the day, and she pays them for their time. She is very concerned with creating employment and skills development in the community of Hout Bay.

” I wish that in years to come or in months to come that I can get some sort of marketing and then I can get people employed, I can get people trained I can get people to gain skills like, baking skills.”

When asked what her biggest challenges are in “being her own boss” and becoming an entrepreneur, she said that she has to work six days a week and even when she feels her body getting tired she has to keep pushing. She also says that she has to be persistent, even though some days she knows there won’t be any customers she must still be at her shop; the people must get used to seeing her there. Sharon never used to be a talkative person but when working with people and having to sell products to them it is very important to be able to speak to people and tell her story. She has to explain to them why they should buy her bread.

“What is special about my bread is that I don’t have to use electricity, I bake it with love, I take my time, I use my fists, I don’t rush it. I know I’m creating something beautiful. That’s what’s special about my bread.”

“If I’m stressed I know when I get into Workspace I walk through the door, it’s sort of relaxing me and comforting me, that’s why I find comfort in making my bread because it’s where I give all my love.”

Sharon’s ambitions for Nourish for the future are for it to give birth to Vendors, so that people can push Nourish trollies around with Nourish products in them, or stand on corners with nice Nourish banners selling bread and coffee to passers-by. Sharon wants people to be employed. She would also like for restaurants to come and order bread from her.

In Three to Five years’ time Sharon says that she would like to be able to rent out the entire space at Workspace and have tables and umbrellas outside for people to sit and enjoy the food being created, served and the entire business run by people from Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu. Then to eventually open other franchises for Nourish around the Western Cape. Sharon wants to create skills and jobs and of course make money.

“I have this…you know when you have something growing inside you and you are just waiting for when is it going to explode, I’m waiting for that moment. At least I’m hustling here and there asking people to market me and do this and that but I can see where I’m going, because I know where I’m coming from. It’s better now than from the start, so I see greater things that are coming.”

Sharon also does catering, she loves anything to do with food and baking. Next year she is looking into Catering more,but  for now she caters for some events just to add something else to the Nourish brand.

When asked what she thinks she needs the most in order for her business to move from where it is now, to become more successful Sharon said, “A guy came and asked me Sharon what’s your wish list? He thought I was going to ask for money. I wrote down a list of things that I wanted, I didn’t mention money. I know that everything costs money but I just said that these are the things that I need. For my business to prosper I need for people to know where I am, because people are surprised when they come here. So, it would help for someone to donate skills for me to learn more about what I am doing. It would help for someone to inject some cash for me to buy some other stock that I want to use, because some things are holding me back but I’m not being held back, I’m moving forward. It would also help to be sent on a course to learn more. I know what I’m doing but I want to get more experience about what I know.”

Some of the people she has trained are now either working in the baking industry or some are now selling vetkoek to the community as a means of income.

Currently, there is a coffee bean roasting initiative that Craig ( Founder of The Workspace) has created, where the coffee bean roasting is done manually by pedaling what looks like a bicycle. The bicycle chains are attached to a rotating metal ball that holds the coffee beans inside it and spins above a fire while the person is pedaling. There will also be a collaboration between the coffee bean roasting initiative that is happening at the Workspace and Nourish, where the freshly roasted coffee beans will be used to make coffee at Nourish. Sharon taught herself how to make Coffee, Cappuccino’s, Latte’s etc. and she says that it’s going to be nice for some younger guys to come and roast coffee and make some money for themselves.

Sharon has learned a lot from having her business run from inside the Workspace and it has also brought on many new opportunities. One such opportunity being that she has had a new oven made specially for her, that can bake 30 loaves of bread at a time, in 25 minutes. She says that working at the Workspace has given her courage. She says she can see the ins and outs of the other businesses there now and that it has encouraged her not to lose hope.

“Because when you start a business sometimes it goes slow and sometimes you just want to give up but the people here have encouraged me not to give up. We are like family here now. They call me when I am not here to come in and make food for them. When you have your own business, you can’t sit at home and say no I’m not going in to work today. I know that there are people who are there to support me. It’s like I have big brothers and big sisters here. Even though there may not be customers coming in, I know at least there are people here that will buy something from me.”
” Every day I have to prepare lunch so I have to use different amounts of money for lunches but I learned something new. I learned to reuse muffins from the day before and make them into rusks. I also make garlic rolls with the rolls by putting in garlic butter. So, I’m learning something new every day.”

Nourish operates from inside the Workspace and her shop is open from Tuesday to Sunday every week. Her operating hours are from 8:00am-15:00 pm weekdays and 10:00am-15:00pm on weekends.

If you would like to learn more about Nourish, use their services or arrange an appointment to go in and hear Sharon’s story please contact her on 073 082 1528.