If you haven’t already, be sure to read part 1 and 2 first:
Adcorp presents Sihle’s Brew part 1: Overcoming adversity
Adcorp presents Sihle’s Brew part 2: When opportunity knocks
“I worked for Ciro as a barista trainer, facilitating training all over the country at international hotels etc., and one day I thought to myself, I’ve gained so much knowledge and experience from all these jobs. I think I’m ready to take the leap and start my business.”
In 2012, Sihle registered his company and Sihle’s Brew was born.
“I was earning good money and I got to travel a lot. I had everything I had wanted for so long. But this was something I needed to do.”
He was outsourcing the blend when he started out, using a contract roasting company.
“We didn’t even have a logo or branding on the packaging yet.”
Despite the business being in its infancy, Sihle’s Brew was doing really well right out the gate. He was still facilitating training which included training an entire coffee shop to open a branch. Soon after, that branch became one of his clients.
“I first sold the shop 2kgs of coffee for the week. The next week they asked for 4kgs and so on. After facilitating the training for them and servicing their machines, they were making more money from coffee sales simply because the baristas were brewing the coffee properly and incorporating latte art.”
Sihle’s Brew became their preferred supplier and he agreed to provide complimentary training for their baristas.
“The problem was, as much as the money was coming in for the first two years, it was going out just as fast which I knew wouldn’t be sustainable. I needed to evaluate my business plan if I was going to be able to build my brand over the long term.”
In 2014/2015, Sihle received an offer to join a supplier development programme at Massmart. He was offered an opportunity to attend GIBS business school where he learned how to run a business over the yearlong course.
“It was a lot to learn in such a short time, but I graduated as one of the top four students, and now Sihle’s Brew is one of the GIBS top 50 alumni-owned companies with a promising future in Africa.”
This is only the beginning
Sihle heard about a tender at Adcorp last year through a friend of his.
“My friend said to me, “You are the only person I thought of for this tender, you’ll be perfect for the job.”
Sihle tendered alongside a few other companies, and after a month interviewed for Adcorp’s supplier development programme.
“From there we started engaging with Adcorp and now here we are.”
Working in a corporate environment has been a new experience for Sihle’s Brew and has resulted in tremendous growth for the business.
“I’m so excited about this opportunity. I used to have a staff compliment of six people and since starting at Adcorp I now have eighteen permanent employees.”
They have also trained more than twenty people, two of which have opened their own coffee shops already, creating more job opportunities. Sihle went on to share that this has been an adjustment for him and his staff, going from working in a coffee shop vibe to a professional corporate environment. They are growing fast and learning a lot.
“This opportunity has opened up a whole new market for us. As we grow, we hope to leverage this experience we’re gaining to build new business.”
As part of our supplier development programme, the Group has plans to build Sihle’s skill set through identifying gaps and helping him to fill them, to be an enabler for Sihle in building a sustainable business and growing his brand. As much as Adcorp has plans, Sihle has a few of his own for the future that expand beyond the brew.
“My passion is not only coffee. I want to teach and share my knowledge with other young people.”
Sihle’s plans include opening up a fully accredited training centre to build up the youth in South Africa. An admirable venture that the Group supports wholeheartedly.
“My hope is that through partnering with Adcorp, I am able to grow my business to the level where I am able to live this dream.”
Sihle’s Brew bonus feature: Sihle’s Insights
Across the Group we have a number of end-to-end workplace solutions solving a wide range of business challenges. We search, place, develop, train and manage people for temporary and permanent job opportunities. We also supply people resources on an outsourced basis and manage people-intensive processes on behalf of our clients. Our mission is to build workplaces and careers of the future by transforming the places we work in. We do this by connecting potential.