Tenacity Magazine caught up with Maeshibe Marema who is the founder of Maeshibe Coffee to share with us her journey of creating her own coffee brand. Maeshibe narrates a personal story of identity which is inspired by the aroma that brings “a sense of belonging.” We learn about her business and challenges along the way.
Please kindly tell us who is Maeshibe Marema?
Maeshibe Marema is a 31-year-old, born and bred in Zebediela, Limpopo Province. Growing up in a village with lack of basic amenities, general apathy and all social ills was never easy. I could have easily been a statistic as most children from rural areas are. However, I was determined to break the norms and go beyond the society’s ceiling for a village girl. I never wanted my socio-economic background to define my destiny and I was motivated to succeed. I won numerous silver medals on national levels as a poet and performing in dramatic arts. Maeshibe is a philanthropist involved in initiatives that gives back to the disadvantaged communities and individuals.
Tell us about your educational journey.
I completed my matric at Lehwelere Matlala Secondary School with good grades and enrolled at Capricorn FET College. College was not my first choice but a combination of factors led to me going to an FET College instead of University. I had little information about funding and I knew my parents will not afford University fees. The least they could afford was a College tuition and therefore I enrolled and completed my National Diploma on record time and graduated. My dream is obtain PhD degree before the age of 40 and I am continuing my studies towards achieving this dream.
Please kindly tell us about your business.
On the 17th of August 2019, I celebrated my 31st birthday and launched my own coffee brand called Maeshibe. I love coffee with passion and it only made sense for me to start my own coffee brand.. My business provided jobs to people with disabilities and gave them a meaningful and productive life. Maeshibe employs 90% of deaf baristas from St Vincent School of the deaf.
What inspired you to start your own coffee brand?
I was driven by passion and the love I have for coffee. I wanted something that will last for generations to come. Something that is a household brand and can be consumed anytime of the day and by anyone. I want to break the stereotypes that says coffee is for certain racial groups. I could have done other things because coffee is uncommon, but instead I did my research on coffee and decided to start my own business. I also wanted to create employment for other people because I see what unemployment does to young people.
What are the aspirations, aims and objectives of your brand?
My aspirations and objectives are to produce a limited edition blend coffee. Maeshibe is working with a local coffee farmer to produce a 100% South African coffee product and brand. I empower local farmers by offering coffee training in partnership with Ladha Academy which provides an accredited coffee diploma. The future is for Maeshibe Coffee to be an international brand, produced and sourced from South Africa.
What are the challenges you encountered when establishing your coffee brand?
Entrepreneurship has opened doors for me as a young person even though the journey came with challenges. It is not easy being a female entrepreneur, because people doubt your capabilities generally. My other challenge was lack of access to funding. It has not been easy because I had to learn many things along the way at a cost. I had to put some of my studies on hold so I can start this business and I still do not have sponsors.
How did you overcome the challenges thus far?
I believe in what I’m doing and I’m determined to see the business grow and succeed. I dealt with every challenge as a stepping stone towards my goal and chose to stay positive. I took all my savings from the day I started work, and invested in my dream. Many things required more money than I expected and I had to spend less on personal luxuries. The disabled people I am working with, give me so much hope and knowing that I am making a difference in their lives is good enough to propel me forward.
What makes Maeshibe Coffee unique from other coffee brands?
Maeshibe Coffee has a rich sweet chocolate aroma. Medium (berry and lime) acidity with good body. Complex flavours with biscuit honey-comb notes. Creamy mouth-feel and vanilla coconut chocolate notes in the after-taste.
How can people get your product? Is it available in stores?
I am currently on e-commerce. www.maeshibe.co.za to order online or WhatsApp the business line which is 067 315 9223.
What are your social media platforms?
We are on all social media platforms as Maeshibe_Coffee (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).