When it comes to infant enterprises, I always say despise not the days of small beginnings and I am pleased Tumelo Matsheng concurs.
Tumelo is the founder of MY MY’S CHILLI, and her small business which she founded in February 2017 is growing. She is definitely enjoying the process of developing her enterprise.
She strongly believes that when one door closes another opens, and her newly open door came as an enterprise opportunity. It is easy to be disheartened when finding out you would be laid off work but for Tumelo it turned out to be a blessing.
Her former employer approached her to let her know that their business had incurred major financial mismanagement and she would have to be terminated.
What the ex-employer also told her was that she had so much potential that she could venture into other things, be it a business or another job. He gave his blessings to her to proceed on with life.
Instead of sulking, Tumelo took the advice and made most out of it. This would be the start of her chilli business.
I had the opportunity to chat with the humble 27-year-old young Motswana woman from a village called Borobadilepe, Ramatlabama and this is what she had to say.
What triggered the birth of My My’s Chilli?
MyMy’s Chilli is a homemade chilli that I make. It started off as an experiment. I used to make it then give it to friends and family to taste.
One friend, in particular, liked it so much after the third trial taste, and I was encouraged to approach it as a business. I choose to say MyMy’s Chilli was born February 2017, with orders mostly from close family and friends.
Tell us more about the name of your product.
My name is Tumelo. Tumie and TuMyMy are nicknames. So I opted for the mymy from the TuMyMy nickname to brand myself as My My’s Chilli.
How has your background influenced who you are with regards to your work?
From an early age, I enjoyed cooking, experimenting and playing with food in the kitchen. The kitchen is my favorite place in the house.
When I got laid off from work in January 2017 that is when I became more serious about making my chilli. I didn’t cry after I was laid off. I was thankful. I felt God presented the opportunity for MyMy’s Chilli.
What is it about your chilli that makes it uniquely yours?
The secret is in the spices I use which I shall not disclose. I choose to remain tight-lipped about it.
Tell us more about your range of products.
For now, I only make one flavor. I am however working on making other flavors and expanding the range to offer a bit of variety. I will say that it will be something creamy.
It is often said that you can’t supply what isn’t in demand. How do you ensure the requests for My My’s Chilly keep coming?
I do per order. What helps boost the sales is with the markets I go to. The orders are growing by the day.
How did people receive it, and how easy is it for local retailers in accommodating My My’s Chilli?
It’s been positive feedback all along. One of the local store (Choppies) advised I must take a sample for food testing and that I need to get a batch code. I now feel at a point where I could afford the Naftec route expenses.
I want MyMy’s Chilli to be able to sustain itself without having to fund the expenses myself and it’s in the process.
What keeps you going when you feel like throwing in the towel?
I can’t afford to give up. God always makes a way. He always comes through, he never fails me. It may take time but God is at work. That is how I work.
What advice do you have for African women wishing to be entrepreneurs?
Success always demands a little bit more! Be a little more and when someone tells you that you can’t achieve your goals, let it fuel you to prove them wrong.
Keep dreaming big. Dreams do come true. Above all let God be God and be humble.
If you had the opportunity to export MyMy’s Chilli to any African country, which would it be and why?
South Africa. It is the food basket of Africa. I love their food culture (restaurants, shisanyamas, sports etc) and population.
Which local woman entrepreneur inspires you?
Her name is Eteng Mohwasa. It has been amazing watching her grow. She is an entrepreneur who started off as a baker now she is the owner of Body Signature Spa at The Village. She is a friend, has a bubbly personality and loves God. She uplifts me. I admire her love for god.
What’s next for MyMy’s Chilli for the next three to five years?
I want to see it on the shelves internationally.