The idea of healthy eating honestly never sounds appealing if we are being honest.
And the thought of munching on a “boring” bowl of steamed veggies or a bland-tasting salad does not particularly spark fireworks.
Johannesburg foodpreneur Bontle Tshole (29) is, however, trying to dispel misconceptions of healthy eating with a healthy alternative, fast-food business she calls Baaa Smoothie Bar.
With enough effort and thought, healthy eating can satiate your palate, she believes.
“Changing the narrative surrounding healthy eating involves a great amount of consumer education as well as providing healthier food alternatives,” Tshole explains.
In 2017, the Gauteng-born entrepreneur unlocked a golden opportunity when she merged her passions for entrepreneurship with her passions for health and wellness, creating her very own juicing business.
Tshole’s food business offers mouth-watering, quick and healthy alternative meals for health-conscious consumers from her flagship store in the Johannesburg suburb of Fourways.
Business dream with humble childhood beginning
Tshole had visions of becoming an entrepreneur since she was a young girl growing up in Boksburg.
Her mother, Mphai, a tenacious businesswoman, was the inspiration behind her intense drive for entrepreneurship.
“Growing up with a mother who is a businesswoman was one of the biggest privileges I had. My journey has been a lot easier because there were things that I learned just from looking at her and how she does things.”
She even developed her first business plan at age nine.
“I wanted to open a confectionary store. I remember writing it down, to this day I still have the designs I penned of what the store would look like.”
These ideas were refined as she grew older. “My vision has evolved, I can see beyond that pencil drawing I made as a little girl,” she jokes.
Teachings from the novel The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho have taught her that if you believe in the universe’s plan for you, things will work out. “On the first market we ever did, we sold out twice and for me that was just a big moment. I didn’t actually think it would go as good as it went, the success of that day was confirmation that I was on the right path.”
Health is wealth
Tshole may specialise in organic smoothies, but she describes her eating style as “moderately indulgent.”
“I believe in balance. You won’t find me out and about drinking green smoothies, I still eat burgers, I go out, I drink alcohol. Life is about balance and that is something I preach to my clients as well.”
The most unusual flavours on Tshole’s juice menu is a beetroot and banana smoothie, she reveals. “It’s one of those things you hear and think OMG no! But it tastes good,” she giggles.
Her ode to indigenous food comes in the form of a sorghum smoothie. “We blend mabhele (sorghum) and some strawberries with some coconut milk as well. It’s one of those products that people who know sorghum absolutely love.”
Her appreciation for her heritage resonates in some of the labelling of her juices, which include Setswana names like a self-titled smoothie, Bontle, as well as Batho, Lethabo and many more.
“It was really important for me to come back to who I am as an African.”
“Having names like Batho (people) or Bophelo (life), really makes people relate with the brand more. You would find a customer would be so happy whenever they find their own name on a label.”