Women’s Month Mompreneur #13 – Kathryn Cronje – Health Bar Creator

In light of August being Women’s Month, I thought it would be the perfect time to promote some hard working mums. You could find the service provider you were looking for or be inspired to take that leap you’ve been dreaming of.

Q&A WITH KATHRYN

1. Tell me a little about yourself without including details of your family and work (it’s tough I know)

I consider myself very blessed in terms of what I have done in my life and my passions I have found and pursued. I am 37 years old. I grew up in JHB and have lived in the same area for my whole life although I did go to California for 6 years for our winters (and their summers) each year to race as a professional triathlete. I was also a swimming teacher there which allowed me to purely train and race here in SA during our racing season without worrying about finding an income here –  South Africa doesn’t support our athletes financially. I am still obsessed with all things sport, especially running, as there is nothing like that runners high!

2. How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

I have two amazing girls that are 3 years and 1 year old (they are 2 years and 6 days apart)

3. What is your side hustle? And when did you start?

Bare Nature has been going for almost 7 years now. It is a natural nutrition business where we hand make all natural raw bars and treats including smoothies, granolas and snack boxes. All our products have no added sugar, preservatives and can be made to have no gluten and whey. As we make  everything to order we can make them vegan friendly or eliminate anything that you or your family might be intolerant to. Our most exciting product we offer is a design your own bar. You get to choose the ingredients from start to finish and can even choose if you would like your nuts chunky or fine, if they should be sweeter or saltier and if you would prefer bars or balls. Our most popular flavour is the choc beet bars which is my take on a red velvet cake. Our snack boxes have become our top seller where you get 20 small snacks size bars and balls from our whole bar range. They are amazing for school lunch boxes or for a mid morning or mid afternoon snack. You can then custom make the box with the more popular flavours after your first month!

4. What did you do before starting your own business AND what made you leave?

As I mentioned, I am incredibly blessed with having so many passions that I was able to turn into businesses. It started with studying OT at Wits for a year, and as much as I loved the medicinal side of it I realised I wanted a little more action. That interest turned me to paramedics and what an incredible decision it was. I studied fulltime for 4 years to become an advanced life support paramedic. We did so many rescue modules as well such as swift water rescue, hazmat, trench rescue and many more…and most importantly it kept me so interested in my health and sport.

Once qualified I went across to America for the first time and continued racing and training in the full ironman distance. I then met my amazing husband here in SA and after returning to California for two more years I realised I wanted to be here with him, so I found an amazing job as a medical rep for a herbal company. This allowed me to learn just how powerful natural foods and medicines can be for us.

I started playing around with some natural food to use with my own training and racing, realising that what you put in is literally what you can expect to get from your body! Some friends started asking me to make some for them as well and when I got amazing responses from these friends I took the leap of faith and quit my job and started making my raw treats full time!

5. How do you allocate your time between work and family? 

I have a full time employee who makes the yummy raw bars and treats, she is my rock! I do all the admin/marketing/recipe design/selling.  I don’t have a nanny or regular domestic worker so I am able to spend a lot of time with Annabelle in the mornings and fetch Brooke from school and watch the two of them grow as sisters in the afternoons. Weekends are a little more tricky as we do 6 markets a month, so Pierre and I swop out between selling at the markets and spending time with the girls. We spend a lot of time as a family doing sport, especially doing running races whilst pushing the girls in our running prams. We love having an active life with them!

6. What have been the hardships of running your own business?

I think the hardest part for me is not knowing what everyone will think of my product. My bars are my passion for food and health rolled into a convenient meal, and getting any negative feedback is always difficult for me to hear. The second hardest part is the salary aspect..you don’t know what each month will bring with sales and expenses so hoping you have enough to give yourself a salary on payday is always an uncertain time.

7. What have been the highlights?

When I was growing up I always knew I wanted to own my business as I wanted to have children and have the time to do all the amazing ‘mom’ things – go to swimming galas, fetch them from school etc. Being my own boss and not having to answer to anyone else is amazing! Being able to go and collect my sick daughter from school, and just spend the rest of the afternoon with her on the couch without having to worry about asking my boss for another afternoon off makes all the other worries worthwhile!!!

But as a business owner seeing a customer’s face light up when she tastes a bar makes my heart sing and remind me what I am doing and for what reasons.

8. What advice do you have for other women who are on the cusp of taking the leap into entrepreneurship?

Just know that if it is a passion you will find a way to do it! You will have problems and setbacks but keep that goal and dream in mind and never be scared to ask for advice and help.

9. How can we get in touch with you?

Personal contact is always so important for me and it is what my business is based on so my cell phone is always my first line of contact. Calls, whatsapp and messages are my preferred method of contact so my number is 0836001826.

My email addresses is kcronje@gmail.com or sales@barenaturenutrition.co.za.

My website is www.barenaturenutrition.co.za (but this is busy being revamped and updated). Our facebook account is Bare Nature. We make all products ourselves and they can be collected from my house or delivered depending where you are based.

We are at the Bryanston Organic Market every Thursday and Saturday so I love to meet any clients there as it has an amazing vibe and you get to sample all my goodies there. We are looking for a new retail premises so will keep you updated with regard to that : )

*****

I have purchased Kath’s bars, smoothies and snack boxes before and they are AMAZING!!! The Lemon Meringue Bar is my absolute favorite and I pick it out of the snack boxes before my kids see it so that I don’t have to share…bwahahaha! My girls love the health bars and see them as treats which is fantastic.

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