I had the privilege of doing some SEO copywriting work on a new startup’s website. To be more precise, the website is the startup. However, the brains behind it all is owner, Reinette Wiechers. Today Reinette will be launching her online artisanal and speciality food shop called Feast Food Market.
Reinette is a Capetonian who, like most Capetonians, is a foodie at heart. After a fateful first bite of a macaron in Australia, she headed back to the Mother City to try her hand at baking her own and soon after Swoon Treats was born. She eventually decided to combine her foodie sensibilities with her passion for entrepreneurship and her IT smarts in the form of an online food shop with a twist. Said online shop would only feature local independent food producers and would bring together the best of local markets’ artisanal and speciality products. Oh, and it would also make foodtrepreneurs’ lives easier!
There’s so much to love about this brain child of Reinette’s: not only does it offer the best of Cape Town’s food markets AND a Saturday lie in; it also assists the people responsible for rejoicing taste buds with their businesses.
Because I always enjoy picking an entrepreneur’s brain and because working on the Feast Food Market was so much fun, I decided to sit down and chat to Reinette about Feast and her entrepreneurial journey.
AA: What’s your favourite item in the Feast shop at the moment?
AA: What’s been the biggest challenge in getting Feast going? And how did you overcome it?
RW: Breaking a HUGE idea into smaller pieces and just getting started without being totally overwhelmed! I wanted to have everything figured out before I started and that actually kept me from moving forward. I did the Daddy’s Dragons Crash course which gave me insight into my particular entrepreneurial profile, which gave me a lot of insight on how to approach and develop the concept.
AA: How is the experience of creating/running Feast different from your previous business venture, Swoon Treats?
RW: The process of creating Feast was a great fit for my practical skills in IT and my passion of food. Although I still love baking, with Swoon Treats it is very much production focused. You learn the skill once and repeat. Feast is all about coordination, outsourcing, problem solving and figuring out what to do next! A process I thoroughly enjoy but at the same time is very challenging.
AA: What specific goal do you have for Feast in the next year?
RW: I would like it to become the household name for South African foodies who want to find and buy quality specialty and artisan food online. And at the same time I want to provide producers with a vibrant and visually engaging platform to showcase and sell their products and, with them, build their online presence.
AA: Which of your strengths or talents do you rely on most as an entrepreneur?
RW: My background as an IT business analyst has helped me a lot in navigating the software development process of the site. Having an intuition for software and technology and understanding the fundamentals has surely helped me to learn things quicker. I am, however, still learning lots and will continue to develop skills. It is inevitable in this journey.
AA: Do you find that doing business as a woman is more difficult than doing business as a man? Why or why not? And how do you get around it if at all?
RW: To be honest, so far in this journey I have not experienced any difficulty and the feedback I have received has been very encouraging. I find people are still reluctant about the concept, perhaps because they don’t fully understand it yet. It is also tricky to sell a concept without a concrete product. But luckily, from today on I’m past the point of selling only an idea!
AA: What’s the best advice you received prior to starting your journey as an entrepreneur?
RW: That you can’t do it alone. And to be honest, it took me a while to set my pride aside and realise that it is SO true. It is impossible to do it all by yourself.
The second piece of advice I received is that perfectionism can impede an entrepreneur’s progress. ‘Done’ is often times better than ‘Perfect’ and ‘Progress’ more valuable than ‘Perfection’.
AA: Starting a new business is taxing; how do you stay sane?
RW: It truly is an all-consuming thing. Even in your down time your thoughts are always engaged with what needs to happen next, which can be exhausting. In the process you learn a lot about yourself and you learn to overcome some of the things that are holding you back – with the support of others, of course. Having solid sounding boards to bounce ideas/issues off, has also proven to be a must as is having people cheering you on. Accepting that not having it all figured out at this very moment is OKAY and that things will unfold as they must. Also trying (it’s hard!) to maintain some sense of a balance like sleeping enough, even though there is a lot to be done, has ultimately made the journey easier. And hey, just doing something basic like cutting yourself some slack every now and again for stepping out and trying something new.
To start Feast-ing your eyes on everything Reinette’s new venture has to offer and learn more about the Feast story, click here.