Sweet success of synergy

2016-09-27 06:00
Photo: supplied  Melissa Cuthbert and Karen McIntosh.

Photo: supplied Melissa Cuthbert and Karen McIntosh.

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TWO dynamic Durban brands have joined forces and are ready to rock the ice cream industry. A newly formed partnership between Miss K Ice Cream Food and Huberto’s Luxury Ice Cream was a strategic decision taken towards collective growth and leverage.

This communion of two businesses was an essential component of evolving the business from a Lean Start up where synergising business practises allows for greater efficiency. Many mergers falter because of incompatibility between founding partners, an inability to build a common sense of purpose or to forge a culture that can be embraced by all members. Having worked together before cementing a partnership, time was spent understanding each other’s business culture, vision and work ethic.

Upper Highway’s Karen McIntosh and Melissa Cuthbert are a family team, parents and active participants in the health and wellness of the community. McIntosh is a mother and a marketing graduate having majored in logistics business management and marketing. She has experience in starting up and running a company in the decorating and furnishings sector as well as extensive experience in the marketing arena within the FMCG environment. McIntosh launched Miss K Ice Cream Food, ice cream that’s good for you, in 2013. Operating in the wellness space, which is the fastest growing food market sector in the world, Miss K takes a notoriously unhealthy food product, and through the intelligent combination of alternative natural ingredients, brings you an ice cream that tastes every bit as good as regular premium ice cream, but without all the unhealthy ingredients typically found in ice cream. Miss K was recently invited to be a case study for Juta text books and was also asked by Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) to attend a conference on preparing a business for export.

Cuthbert studied at the American International College, Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S., on a sports scholarship, and achieved an undergraduate degree in marketing and later an MBA, again on a scholarship. Upon returning to South Africa in 2012 Cuthbert achieved her goal of acquiring a business in the FMCG industry, and now owns and runs Huberto’s, an established KZN based ice cream operation. Cuthbert has been manufacturing and working with Miss K for the past four years and recently acquired a majority shareholding in the company with a clear strategy in place.

By pooling skills, talents and resources, customer service excellence and a strong marketing orientation this dynamic, female duo are aiming for improved economies of scale that will make their combined portfolio of products far more cost-competitive to produce. “This new partnership extends our reach in the market, provides preferential manufacturing costs and distribution, and essentially brings our brands into a bigger fold, allowing growth nationally and globally,” says McIntosh.

They plan on establishing their route to market as a Spar exclusive brand, based on Spar’s openness to working with smaller home-grown brands. In addition, new packaging is being developed to bring both brands in line with each other and maximise shelf impact.

“We believe that unlocking synergy, partnering and sharing knowledge and resources is key to the development of entrepreneurs in South Africa­,” says Cuthbert.

- Supplied.

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