Born and raised in Kayamandi in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, Vusumzi Mokoena is passionate about teas. His premium tea brand, Mavusana Rooibos Tea, is available nationwide, and he even delivers door-to-door in his hometown.
Mokoena created the brand with working-class people in mind, aiming to provide a quality product at an affordable price.
“I was born and raised here in Kayamandi. That’s why I spent all my life in Stellenbosch. I’ve been here for as long as I can remember; I grew up here. The tea business is how I actually interact with my people – the people who are on the ground. That’s the most exciting part for me.”
When doing his research on various teas available, he found an unexpected passion for the rooibos plant.
“There is a premium rooibos which is made from a certain fynbos rooibos plant, and it has a certain wood in it. By wood, I mean the blocks in the tea bags, and I just fell in love with its aroma, with its [strength], with its unique taste in the mouth, and also with the benefits of a premium rooibos.”
The rooibos tea sold by Mokoena was destined to be exported, but instead became a part of his brand.
“After tasting quite a few of them, I decided that this is what I want for my own brand and then it came to life. It is usually a rooibos that [the supplier] exports to Japan, but they decided, ‘Ok, we’ll give you a certain part of it,’ and that’s how Mavusana Premium Rooibos was born.”
5 tips to get you started
Mokoena’s business is fairly new, but he has already learnt a great deal about the tea business. Here he shares five tips with us on how to start:
Know your product: “Know your tea. You must know your tea. That’s a given.”
Understand the market: “You must understand the people to whom you are [selling] your tea. So, I give my premium rooibos to the average low-income South African, and I’m giving them an affordable price but a very premium product. Understanding your market is the key.”
Market your product: “Regardless of how healthy tea can be or how fruitful, you need to be able to market it. It needs to be out there.”
Close the deal: “Marketing something doesn’t mean selling something. Be able to push the sales. This applies not only to people who want to open their tea [business], but to every entrepreneur out there. Be able to make a sale. Sales matter. Sales sustain your business.”
Enjoy the whole scene! “If you’re going to get into the tea industry, be able to enjoy your tea. You will always…encounter people with different tastes and preferences. So, if you don’t enjoy the whole process, you won’t be in a good space.
“If someone comes with different flavours, say ‘I’m game’. It’s like being a fan of football. Whatever team is playing, you watch. You don’t just watch your own team. So, with tea it should be the same thing. Enjoy it. Be the person who’s always up and ready to just enjoy this premium tea, or whatever tea developed.”
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