Entrepreneur Success Story

The Journey of Two in a Bush Rooibos Cordial

Two in a Bush Rooibos Cordial is a versatile Premium Rooibos Cordial range, crafted from natural ingredients in an old-fashioned way with no added sugar, preservatives, or artificial additives.

Beyond taste, this cordial stands out for its business success, and how founders Marie-Louise Oosthuizen and Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche navigated the creation, growth and export of their product.

Here they share their invaluable insights on perseverance, seizing opportunities, strategic growth, and the nuances of exporting to Africa.

How did you get started?

Creators Marie-Louise Oosthuizen and Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche share a lifelong dedication to good food and wine. The idea sprouted from a SodaStream gift given to Hetta,  years ago. Since mixing and creating cocktails is one of the many talents of Marie-Louise, the Sodastream machine was put to task. Unimpressed with the lack of ingredients available in the existing market, the duo set out to develop their own cordials, testing recipes on lucky friends and family members. The end goal was clear and uncompromising – it had to be a 100% natural drink, with the health properties intact and outstanding taste.

What was your largest learning curve?

Retail was and is still our largest learning curve. Initially, it was tough to develop a 100% natural product. When we started out, we asked advice from many experienced and knowledgeable industry people and often the advice was negative. We were told not to proceed, a 100% natural rooibos cordial would not work, and a natural product without preservatives, brewed from tea leaves (versus just adding aroma and spray-dried powder) will fail and not sell.  Little did we know that the development is the easy part. We developed this outstanding product, a first on the market, beautifully packaged, but then what? We had to learn how to take the product to the shelf. We had no experience in retail and had to learn how to sell this product, how to explain to a potential retailer or client what it is, how versatile it is, and learn a whole new retail language. We are now selling in 4 African countries and dipped our toes into the UK market, while pursuing other potential export opportunities. We have also come to understand that every market is different, talk about a learning curve!

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What advice do you have for new importers and exporters?

Persevere and have a line in the water – grab opportunities. We got the most amazing opportunities, because we try to show up where there is any potential opportunity to meet other people in the industry, potential clients or knowledgeable people. After two and a half years of working with dedication, it is finally bearing fruit. Often you must attend a trade show more than once, go back and never say no to an opportunity.

Advice on growth?

Share with others, and help where you can. We believe that when we help each other, we grow stronger together. We also try to stay focused on what we do best. It is easy to find opportunities outside of your main focus and then pursue them when you have an entrepreneurial mind or are creative, but it is essential to stay focused. We have also learned that bigger is not always better, and it is often better to grow organically.

Advice on exporting to Africa?

Be prepared to support your agent and grow the market. We have been very lucky with our agents in Africa, we see them as partners in our business, and we were willing right from the start to sacrifice profits by rather ploughing it back into marketing and working on reaping long-term benefits.

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