Sprinkling a zesty soupçon of aromatic flavour over pallid dishes, Ayesha Seedat wants us to change how we season food in a whole new, exciting and organic way. Her exotic range of all-natural spices and condiments have quickly permeated through the kitchens and cabinets of South African home cooks, and the reviews have been astounding. This mistress of spices established Kr3A just over a year ago, and already has well-known stockists around the country queueing up to sell her mouth-watering range of artisanal relishes, tea blends, spices, sauces and ready-to-cook meals. The Johannesburg-based momtrepreneur shares her passion for wholesome food, authentic seasonings and growing her flavourful empire.
Where does your love of exotic food come from?
Through my diverse culture and upbringing. My great grandparents were from the village of Surat in India. During the early 1930s, they migrated to Burma.
My grandparents then moved from Burma to Pakistan. Growing up in a household and family with such diverse cultures, authentic food and flavours sparked my love for food.
Also, my mum has always been my biggest supporter and critic. To this day, her nod of approval means everything to me.
What inspired you to start your company?
I’ve always been into fitness and training. I would always find it so odd that most of the dishes in an ordinary Indian household would be so far removed from traditional Indo-Pak dishes.
I think I would just be like whyyyy would you not stick to the authenticity of that particular dish; be it Chinese, Indian, Thai or Burmese. Cook that dish how it’s meant to be.
Kr3A came about because we found there was a huge gap in the market in terms of flavours in food. My aim has always been to get this message across: “Flavours come from spices, not sauces”. I would find that when diets were mentioned, there was an automatic assumption that you could only eat chicken fillet, steamed broccoli and beans. Spices are a ‘no no’ because these are full of added salt, and sauces contain added sugars and preservatives.
All I wanted to show was that you can still eat clean, and you don’t need to be adding ½ a bottle of 10 different sauces from different brands to create a decent dish.
Where does the name Kr3A come from?
So many ask why Kr3A and what does it stand for.
K – Kehkashan (my mum’s name)
R – Rayyan (my youngest son’s name)
E – which in actual fact is a ‘3’, and
A – (Annas and Ammar, my other two sons’ names and my own, Ayesha)
so that’s the 3 As.
Kr3A stands for everything that’s closest and dearest to my heart.
Could you share three vital tips for starting a company:
1. Be true to yourself.
3. Have confidence and faith in what you’re doing, but at the same time, be open to criticism and taking advice.
How would you describe your business and products?
Kr3A is a family-based business. To date, I’m incredibly hands-on with all my products.
Our biggest aim has always been authenticity, and staying as far away as possible from refined sugars, preservatives and colourants.
What makes Kr3A stand out from other similar products on the market?
We firmly believe that KR3A is one of its kind currently. Our aim at Kr3A is to put authentic, full-bodied flavours on your table.
What was your very first sale and how did that make you feel?
Kr3A spices were packaged in little cloth pouches as Eid gifts to friends and family in 2018.
We then started getting requests for more, and before we knew it, we were sending out orders
To this day, it’s an absolutely surreal feeling!
What challenges have you faced as a FEMtrepreneur and how have you overcome them?
To be able to accommodate all our different types of clientele.
As difficult and challenging as that is, I’ve always found that being who I am and staying true to myself is the winning card.
Where do you find the inspiration to create new products and ideas?
My boys, my mom and the Kr3A customer fan base.
Through my stories and the food that I make at home for my family, the feedback from my followers gives me inspiration. We are a family of people who all love good food; my boys are very adventurous when it comes to trying new flavours – they keep me grounded and on my toes.
I always have this joke where I say: I only train to eat.
What has been the most effective way of marketing your business?
By word of mouth and Instagram.
What is the most courageous thing you’ve done as a FEMtrepreneur?
When we moved our packaging from little cloth pouches to bottles, I had wanted a particular kind of look for my brand. The labels on the bottles were designed and sent in for printing to the company. They emailed me back to say that the minimum quantity on that set-up was 500 labels.
I was dumbfounded! It was a huge risk and a helluva lot of money at stake, and what was I even meant to do with 500 labels?!! I thought that it would take me years to sell 500 labels – and that was just one type – we had eight spice blends for our first launch. That was a total of 4000 labels! It was either going with an ordinary look or taking a huge risk.
I took the risk…
We placed our next order for the labels exactly 6 weeks from the first order.
Describe yourself in three words:
Determined. Resilient. Passionate.
What do you love most about your work?
The fact that I can pursue my passion and make it into a career at home, with my boys around me.
What has been your greatest business achievement thus far?
– To be able to hear from my customers every single day about how their dishes have turned out after using our spice blends.
– To see how slowly, but surely, we are creating the awareness that healthy food doesn’t mean broccoli and green beans.
– That eating ghee doesn’t mean one is going to be obese. Balance is the key as with everything in life.
Where would you like to see the Kr3A brand in 5 years’ time?
Six months ago, the answer to that question would have been to have Kr3A on the shelves of Woolworths.
Now, I feel that Kr3A has an identity of its own. There are still many things I would love to change and perfect, but I feel without being prejudiced or bossy, Kr3A follows nobody.
We’re just out here doing what we think and what we know feels right to us.
Who do you look up to most and why?
My mum, without a shadow of a doubt. She is the most resilient, hardworking and clever person there is out there.
My sons, they inspire me every day to be my best.
I am a single mom to my boys and every single day a particular thought would cross my mind, (especially during my divorce), that years from now I didn’t ever want them thinking or saying that their mom just sat back and waited for things to happen. She just made it happen.
Although I have a successful career as a professional make-up artist for the past five years, I still felt the need to do something that was truer to me, and thus Kr3A was born.
What advice would you give to other young female entrepreneurs?
Don’t set a time factor or age limit to anything.
Just keep doing what you believe in. The rest will all fall into place.
Fun facts about Ayesha
|Favourite business tool:||My phone and Instagram|
|My personal style is…||Classic and chic|
|Heels or flats?||Heels|
|Three things I never leave home without:||Being well presented, even if I’m in training gear.
My phone and my handbag.
|I unwind and relax by:||Coffee at Paul or a training session at the gym.|
|Favourite shade of lipstick:||Bashful by Girlactik|
|A Kr3A product I can’t get enough of:||Kadak chaai|
|Favourite spices to cook with:||Cumin, coriander and whole spices.|
|Book recommendation:||The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini|
|Tea or coffee?||Both, but maybe coffee slightly more.|
|Favourite coffee haunt or restaurant:||Paul (Melrose Arch)
and The Big Mouth (Sandton) Johannesburg
|If I had an unlimited budget, I would shop at:||Louis Vuitton and Chanel|
|The one thing required for success is…||Patience and faith.|
A single mum, professional make-up artist, businesswoman, recipe developer, and now, CEO of Kr3A Lifestyle, Ayesha Seedat is a vivid illustration of how well women can multitask, juggling a fruitful home-based career and family life, and still look remarkably put-together while doing so. This ‘Spice Girl’ has seasoned her way to success with gallons of hard work, dashes of immeasurable determination and a heaping dollop of love and enthusiasm.
Spice up your dishes with the Kr3A range, available via Instagram
or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Keep an eye out for the Kr3A website which will be up and running soon!