TEENAGERS START WATER COMPANY ! | A conversation about the state of South Africa’s economy led Mthatha-based teens Khanya Mngqibisa, 16, and Thando Phantsi, 17, to become entrepreneurs by starting their own bottled water business.
“We were these guys who loved to discuss the issues of the nation,” Phantsi tells News24.“We would just sit down and discuss issues about parliament, the economic state and the discussion of the economic state is one that lasted.
“And it resulted in us wanting to change the economy of South Africa. Then we started to think, how could we do that? Then that was how we started being business-minded.”
Since that conversation, the two boys have managed to close a deal with an angel investor who had acquired water purification equipment he no longer had use for.When the boys found out about him, they wanted to make sure they bagged a good deal with him.
After giving what they themselves would describe as a stellar presentation, the investor was sold and they achieved the first step in their journey to creating a beverage empire.
They created their first batch of bottled water called “Aqua TK” in February this year. Initially they began making a few hundred bottles and tried to sell them at events in and around Mthatha.
Eventually, they approached the owner of a well-known supermarket in the area and told them they believed their water could sell in their store.
Apprehensive at first, the store ordered two pallets of bottled water – which consists of 1000 bottles on each pallet and four days later, they had sold 500 units. The boys then received a call asking for more stock.
“People are really reacting well to the brand.“We started selling really well in August, we sold about 4 000 units, in September it was up to 7 000, October it was 7 000, November it was the best month ever because we went to 9 000.
“In December we are currently sitting at 3200 bottles,” he said.In their Mthatha-based factory, the duo employs three permanent staff members but when big orders come in, it is all hands on deck, sometimes calling for them to spend consecutive nights sleeping over to make sure they meet the demand.
They have not been alone on the journey though, Phantsi says.“Everyone is involved in helping to make it a success. Our few friends like our hustle so sometimes they come over and help with the filling process.
“Everyone is involved because sometimes we have to travel around and because we have family from Durban to Joburg to Pretoria to East London to Port Elizabeth. So sometimes they just help us with accommodation and we cut the costs.
“Everyone is just interested in helping; everyone wants to be part of this.”