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Soaring Free Superfoods

Peter and Beryn Daniel, known for their Rawlicious cook book, also own and run the Soaring Free Superfoods business, importing high quality superfoods from around the world. In this interview, the second of a two-part series, they talk about growing a small business.

Western Cape

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You've already met Peter and Beryn Daniel, in our interview with them where they told us about their raw food journey. In the second installment of our two part series,  Peter and Beryn talk about Soaring Free Superfoods, and what it's like to grow a small business.

How did you get into the super foods side of the business?


Beryn: When we started running raw food preparation workshops, at which we used things like raw cacao, we were buying in our supplies from the UK. People obviously wanted to get hold of the products, which weren’t being sold anywhere in South Africa yet, so we started bringing in more for our students.

Peter: We were also looking for ways to earn money so we started selling raw food and superfoods at festivals, which then led to us having a stall at the Neighbourgoods Market. Then we started running more courses, and the demand started growing.  Soon we realised that if we were going to make it profitable we would have to start importing from the source. Our first attempt at this was with goji berries. We ordered a tonne - and spent all our savings on it. When they arrived, we were so excited and when we opened the container – it stank like moth balls! Contaminated. They’d been shipped alongside diesel engines. So our first import was trashed!

Wow - all your savings were in that! What did you do?


P: Well actually, it was only because we had become so sensitive from eating raw that we could detect the smell. Other people couldn't but we couldn't ethically sell it knowing something was up. We had to get it tested to see what had happened. It went for a bunch of tests and came back as positive for contamination, and we ended up throwing it all away. Luckily it was covered by insurance. We tried again, and made sure everything was in order, and our next batch was perfect.

So it was humble beginnings, but how did the business grow?

B: We had started selling to students through our courses, and they went forward and began asking at health shops about the products. The health shops got wind that we were importing the superfoods and they started contacting us to buy in for their stores. And it's just grown from there.

What has the process of growing the business been like?

P: Initially we were doing everything ourselves. And then we met a retired business consultant who attended one of our courses, and he called us up and offered us advice. That was really lucky because neither of us knew much about business. He is still our financial advisor.

B: It’s not a walk in the park. We just had a big jump from four to 15 staff. So cash flow has slowed down as we build the infrastructure that will serve us in years to come. You have to be able to have some foresight. The small business mentality of doing the day to day side of things has to go out the window and you have to focus on the long term growth.

P: A big one has been learning to trust others to do their jobs properly, and realise that in fact, they can probably do it better than us! That’s really helped us. Because it also frees us up to do what it is we really love, and not get overwhelmed with all the administrative processes that could drive us crazy.

B: It’s also helped us separate business from our personal lives.

P: Yes. Our business was run from home for the first four years so it was business 24/7. It wasn’t glamorous; we were busy all the time.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?

P: You have to be passionate about whatever you do. Because running your own business will consume your life, so you have to be able to enjoy it.

B: One of the core philosophies we founded the business on was “adding value”. We believe in what we do and we keep coming back to the question: How can we add value?

You can purchase Soaring Free Superfoods from their online shop.

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