Kareema Shaik

Razia's Pickle (Pty) Limited

What does your company do?

Razia’s Pickle is a mother-daughter team offering a range of sauces, pickles and spice mixes, all Indian-style and made with love and care. Our products are all made at home, in small batches from the highest quality ingredients, using recipes passed down in the family through generations and sold in environmentally friendly packaging. When my retired mother started making her traditional pickles and sauces for my colleagues at work, the feedback was overwhelming. We realised two things. One, although these are flavours that are commonplace in Indian households - these pickles and sauces were always a staple in our home growing up and we simply took them for granted - they were not accessible to the broader population in South Africa. Two, South Africans love Indian flavours and don’t mind a bit of a bite in their food at all! We started by doing small neighbourhood street markets, mostly in Pretoria. There we would engage and immerse ourselves with what our target market wanted. We noticed, especially during and after COVID, a renewed interest in home cooking and, importantly, a concerted effort to support local and small businesses as the consumers wanted to know where their food was coming from and what it contained. The street markets soon became our research and development space, where we would engage on what our client's needs were and how we could suit not only an Indian household but a South African household, embracing all cultures and traditions. These engagements allowed us to further expand our brand and the spice mix for making home-made curries was developed, where the mixes all come with Razia’s easy-to-follow recipes at the back which creates a personal connection for the customer.

What is your biggest success?

Surviving as a small business throughout the post-COVID financial crisis. There have been many hurdles but we have endured, maintaining the quality and reliability of our products and service and establishing ourselves as a home-grown brand. We have won many loyal customers and have become a staple in their pantry – that, for us, is the greatest victory. Getting listed with luxury retailers such as Yuppiechef and UCook is also a proud moment, proving that we have what it takes to swim with the big fish.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Access to funding. Our growth has been very organic over the past few years. Income has been reinvested in the business to facilitate growth thus far. However, we currently require funding to realise our growth plans for the next 5 years. As a family business, we are not keen on the idea of bringing an equity investor onboard so we have been looking for loans and grants. Many of the grants available locally have qualifying criteria that we don’t meet. That, or our enquiries lead to a dead-end. If we do qualify and go through the lengthy process of completing an application, we often receive no feedback. Insofar as loans are concerned, our current financials are looked at when determining the loan amount we would qualify for and not the projected income based on the growth plan.