Local besties transform their love of coffee into a business

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Karabo Makakaba and Katlego Mathibela. (PHOTO: SUPPLIED)
Karabo Makakaba and Katlego Mathibela. (PHOTO: SUPPLIED)

One of life’s simple pleasures has to be catching up with your bestie over a good old cuppa java. Nothing better, right?

Karabo Makakaba (27) and Katlego Mathibela (24) have taken it a step further, however. The childhood best friends have turned their friendship and love of coffee into a money-making venture.

The pair are full of beans about their new coffee distribution company, Karabego, which is a combination of their names.

The idea of having their own coffee blend had been brewing for a while but when lockdown hit, they used the time to get down to business.

“We started small and did research into what is needed,” Karabo tells YOU.

“We knew the machines for roasting and freeze-drying the beans would cost too much, so we approached a local coffee supplier for a specific blend and taste, and they got the beans and did the roasting for us. The long-term plan is to export and have our own factory so we can do it all for ourselves, but we’re still working on the funds.”

To help raise start-up capital, Karabo and Katlego – who met at Sunday school – sold bags, art and logos Katlego had made. Once they got the money to get the business off the ground, they turned to social media to promote their products, taking orders via Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp.

A selection of bags the pair created to raise mone
A selection of bags the pair created to raise money to start their business. (PHOTO: SUPPLIED)
A range of bags the pair created to raise the fund
A range of bags the pair created to raise the funds for their venture of love. (PHOTO: SUPPLIED)

“We’re working on launching a website, but for now we’re working with what we have and have posted information to those platforms for customers to contact us,” Karabo says.

Even though they live in different cities – he’s from Hammanskraal and she lives in Pretoria – they’re a dream team. While Karabo takes all the orders, Katlego is responsible for posting the orders to clients.

Karabego coffee comes in a dark-roast filter option, as well as a sweeter instant coffee. “When it comes to coffee, not everyone likes it too strong, so we tried to accommodate a range of customers.”

Their formula seems to be working as business has been perking up lately, with orders coming in from all over the country.

“When we started out, we went with the flow and thought the batch of stock we had might only sell by the end of the year, but I’m currently placing our fourth order with the supplier,” Karabo tells us.

Two of the coffee blends the pair created for the
Two of the coffee blends the pair created for the brand. (PHOTO: SUPPLIED)
One of their blends of coffee and the accompanying
One of their blends of coffee and the accompanying mugs. (PHOTO: SUPPLIED)

“Trust me, we really didn’t expect this!”

Now they know nothing is impossible.

“You don’t need someone to give you a million bucks. All you have to do is start something to bring a small profit which can be saved towards your bigger goal.”

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