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ON THE GRIND WITH MARY NJERI

 

So what is your name?

Mary Njeri Maina

Tell us about  your grind?,

I’m a dairy technologist/ food scientist by training. I deal in value addition of milk, especially yoghurt

What made you start Maribelle Yoghurt?

It started after a lot of interaction with farmers in the industry and realized they were throwing a lot of their produce away. I started training them on how to increase value for their produce and the results were pretty good. I figured that dairy business would be a good idea.

So just like that you decided, people need yoghurt in their lives…

Honestly *laughs* I’m a fan of yoghurt. Basically all things dairy ice cream, milkshakes the like. So is I DECIDED to take something I love and offer it to the market. Also, yoghurt is a healthy food. I decide to offer something wholesome for people’s events and concerts beyond cliche tea and alcohol

 

Is this something you encourage other guys to venture into?

Yes, if you can handle production and processing, the market will definitely be there. Why not?

 

Is this the first business you tried?

I had tried others, I tried knitting and selling what I had knitted. However this probably the first ‘serious’ venture.

How long has it been since you began full production

It’s been 10 months now.

 

Must have been a very heavy initial capital investment

Relatively speaking, I would say yes. Most of the money went to machinery and ingredients. So I have a small plant where production happens.

How many employees do you have?

3 ……….and me   *chuckles*

 

Who is your target market?

Companies, households, families, concerts and social events. We mostly use social media marketing. I also have two people who do door to door because some people require a more personal touch.

We do both large scale (Hotel, Retail) and small scale orders.(Personal delivery) but we fall somewhere in between…. I guess you can call as medium.

How much do you then sell your product?

A 3 liter pack would be Kshs 630 but economies of scale apply upwards. If you do not have a refrigerator we sell 200ml cups as well.

 

What inspires you?

I read books. I write a lot.  The last book I read was Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy.

Honestly, I would advice anyone to read Jim P Harrison.

 

So if you were trapped on a desert Island and you could only have two people as company, who would they be?

My mum and my best friend.

 

Parting Shot

If you give it your best, and still fail, there will be a lot you will have gained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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