People with a passion for what they do often make the most successful entrepreneurs, and in the case of Lezel de Vos and her company Fox Ingredients, her interest in the flavours and essences that go into making wonderful tasting and visually appealing food products is what took her into business.
LoA met with Lezel this month to get the inside track on what it is like to be a startup in the specialist world of supplying food ingredients in Africa, and to get an insight into the challenges of that sector
Tell us a little more about your new company and what it does.
Fox Ingredients is an ingredient supplier to the food and allied industries, focusing on the Sub Saharan African market. Our basket of goods include flavours, colourants, oleoresins & spice extracts. Additionally chilli powder, paprika powder, onion and garlic powder are also offered. Fox Ingredients has also launched a retail brand called Devoa, which provides baking essence to the discerning baker. Our essence is available at selected retail outlets.
"I have always wanted to have my own business. When I saw a viable business opportunity in my industry, I did some financial planning and set out to achieve some business goals whilst still in employment. After that the stars seemed to align, and I jumped at the opportunity."
What inspired you to start your company?
I have always wanted to have my own business. When I saw a viable business opportunity in my industry, I did some financial planning and set out to achieve some business goals whilst still in employment. After that the stars seemed to align, and I jumped at the opportunity.
Why should anyone use your service or products?
My company, Fox Ingredients, aims to be an invaluable supplier to our customers through our outstanding service, high quality ingredients and sound technical advice.
"Entrepreneurship is tough - and not your average gym session tough. It really tests you on levels you probably never knew existed."
Tell us a little about your team
My business only started in May 2015, hence at this point in time it is only myself in the company.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I don't really come from an entrepreneurial background. Growing up, my parents were both formally employed, although they both have their own business now. During University I baked and supplied muffins to the local Cafe. After University, I followed the normal journey up the corporate ladder, but I always had thoughts and new ideas for businesses whilst I was working. After 10 years of working in industry, I was ready for a new challenge that offered me greater satisfaction and more flexibility - my entrepreneurial journey started at that point.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
It would really be great to reach the point where I can break even, whilst paying myself a small salary.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Making a sale for the business! Also, I love the flexibility that comes with entrepreneurship.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
You need to find ways to cope with the toughness of being an entrepreneur. Join a community, meet with like minded individuals, exercise, do what it takes to keep you sane!
Contact or follow Fox Ingredients
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA, we always like to feature those women entrepreneurs who are out there doing something different, starting up new businesses in interesting business sectors. Lezel de Vos is one such entrepreneur, taking her passion for, and interest in, food ingredients including essences, flavours and extracts, and turning it into a business opportunity. She is also building a new brand in the marketplace, using all her commercial acumen and personal market insights to establish her brand Devoa Flavours as a successful new player in the world of food ingredients. We look forward to seeing this brand grow over the coming months. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa