What sparked the desire to start this business? We know you owned a coffee shop before Freesweet, but to get from flavoured coffee syrups to a full-on sugar-alternative is a big shift. What prompted that shift?
As a mom of 5, I was desperately seeking a product that was safe and delicious for my kids to enjoy! I felt like there was a huge gap in the market. I tried and tested several sugar replacements from all around the world and none hit the sweet spot! So I decided to blend my own recipe, one that could be used in a variety of ways and most importantly one that tasted delightful and had no artificial ingredients!
Sugar-alternatives already exist on the market, how did you know that yours was going to be different?
Freesweet is a blend of 7 ingredients, it contains no artificial ingredients, it has no bitter aftertaste, it bakes and caramelises beautifully, it is Low GI and Carb free, being endorsed by Diabetes SA was also a huge factor for us. Freesweet tastes delicious there is nothing quite like it, the test really is in the taste.
What stage of your life were you in when you started Freesweet? Married/single, what else was going on?
I started Freesweet after a number of businesses had been created, some sold and some failed. I was a single mom, with 5 children – the twins were 8 and my little boy was 7 and the other two girls were working and out the house.
Did you study after high school and if so, did anything you study help create this mind shift to see this gap in the market?
I went back to varsity at the age of 33, and did a degree in things that relate – specialising in Philosophy, History, Marketing Media and Internet Studies. I would have to say that any education is preparing the brain for fertile new thoughts, but it was later that I started to discover the kinds of philosophies and thinking that push the mind and consciousness beyond the limits of what we know about business etc.
What advice do you have for other budding entrepreneurs reading this?
My advice is never quit, never give up and never give in. at the same time do not operate from fear or force. It’s an interesting combination of always giving your best, but knowing when to yield to the alternative directions that may be opening up for you.
In the process of starting this business, you must have faced a couple of obstacles. Would you mind sharing what some of them where and what you learned from them?
Yes of course there have been obstacles, it is terrifying to be running out of funds and your project isn’t ready to launch yet and carry it’s own weight. Then begins the scary search for outside investment to be able to float your new offspring as you care deeply about this project you want to put it with the right partner. Taking your product out into the market for the first time is quite a sales role and often entrepreneurs are really creative minds so it’s bridging that gap.