Chocaloes.. and meeting Barbara KleinschmidtPosted: June 21, 2011
If you have a love of chocolate, coupled with an addictive personality, I don’t suggest you read on!
A few weeks ago I did an interview with Barbara Kleinschmidt. She owns the company Totally Wild which won the award for ‘Best New product ‘at the SAB Eat-In awards this year.
The product in question is the Aloe and Baobab juice which they produce from all natural, indigenous plant ingredients with absolutely no additives or preservatives.
They also make a range of jams and preserves, aaaaaaand..dum dum dum- these chocolate treats!
Essentially what they are made of are little aloe “jellies” (all natural again) covered in dark chocolate with orange extract- to give it that nice citrus flavour.
They make two types of these, what they call “chocaloes”- the orange and dark chocolate and then milk chocolate with strawberry.
All I can say is They. Are. Addictive !!!!!
You can find them at high end Deli’s in Cape Town and across the Western Cape. Don’t be put off by the fact that they are made of aloe though- I promise they are not bitter (like one would expect) AT all!
Barbara was kind enough to give me a huge sample box of her most popular products and of course I dived into these head first! (I mean, who wouldn’t??!)
You can go to the Totally Wild website to find out more about the company, otherwise here is my story I did on Barbara. Such a lovely person (I was there for about two and half hours, but could have stayed for five!)
Totally Wild wins top honours
Having just won the SAB Eat-In ‘Best New Product award’ for her Aloe and Baobab juice, showcasing products at three different shows in five days, and preparing for a new digital launch next week, one would expect Totally Wild’s CEO, Barbara Kleinschmidt to be worn-out and exhausted.
Barbara is sitting at her desk intently chatting on the telephone as I walk in, she smiles and waves at me to take a seat while she finishes the call. ‘Sorry’ she mouths at me apologetically with her ear still stuck to the phone.
Barbara’s office is light and airy and I am taken in by an enormous map of the world adorning the back wall. Having exhibited her wares in France, Germany, New York and the East, one can almost certainly say that the world is her oyster.
‘We’ve been finalists in so many competitions but we’ve never won anything’ says Barbara.
Baobab is a rather intriguing ingredient and not very common in South African cooking but, she says excitedly, ‘It’s actually taking the whole Northern hemisphere by storm, to the point where Pepsi has even brought out a Baobab Pepsi!’
‘It was a great thing to win for us’ she says. ‘We’ve known all along we’ve got good products but the problem for us and where we struggled was that although people have a perception of Aloe being good for you, they all think it’s bitter.’
That’s not the only challenge this strong-willed entrepreneur has faced in the last twenty years. As a single mother with three young sons, Barbara was responsible for fundraising and PR for Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens back in the ‘90’s. This formed her link to Prof. MC Botha, who established the first Aloe Ferox processing plant in South Africa.
Together, in 1994, they started Simply Aloe, a small business that sold aloe-enriched cosmetics at craft markets and to various pharmacies. Unfortunately, after dealing with deceitful business partners and investors, Barbara was forced to liquidate the business resulting in her car being repossessed and having to pull her children out of their studies. It was a tough time and she struggled.
‘I used to borrow friends’ cars and go sell at flea markets’ she giggles.
‘All my friends, my kids- everybody, have said to me over the years, “Just give it up, go find a job”. I said no, I know we’ve got good products and I know it’s a good thing and the aloe can actually help a lot of people medicinally.’
Barbara was determined, and so she began experimenting in her kitchen. ‘It was always my goal to make juices that tasted better than all that other stuff’. It appears this goal has been reached and it’s clear that Barbara is a self-made businesswoman.
‘There’s a lot of room if you actually do your research, know what people are looking for and know what puts people off’ she says.
When asked what her measure of success is, she pauses, looks me in the eye and says, ‘To be able to prove to my three boys that if you are determined to do something, you can succeed’.