As consumers are becoming more educated and conscious about the need to make healthy eating choices that are also kind to the environment, a South African company is opening minds to the health benefits of legumes. Happy Earth People, founded by Teleszia Pillay and Candice Perkins, is exciting consumer tastebuds with their wonderful range of handmade, healthy legume based food products.
LoA chatted to co-founder Taleszia Pillay this month to find out more.
What does your company do?
Happy Earth People are a community of wellness warriors who have created a range of wholesome, superfood products. We are passionate about conscious living and connection – connection with ourselves, each other and the planet. At Happy Earth People we believe that legumes are the answer to many of our global health and sustainability issues. Legumes not only support healthy bodies, but when they are grown, the good bacteria found in their root systems leave soil even healthier after harvest.
The Happy Earth People range of handmade products includes Red Lentil Fusilli Pasta, made with nothing but 100% red lentils. They are high in protein and fibre, are low on the glycaemic index, and are naturally gluten free. There is also a 100% Chickpea Fusilli Pasta, which is high in fibre, protein and is gluten free. Delicious, guilt-free pasta. Happy Earth People love creating products with a purpose. Products that offer you delicious, nutrient dense meals while keeping consciousness and producer responsibility top of mind.
You can find our products in Pick ‘n Pay and Dis-Chem stores nationwide. For more information about their stockists, visit their websites.
“We are passionate about conscious living and connection – connection with ourselves, each other and the planet.”
What inspired the start of the company?
Co-founders Taleszia and Candice saw the need for all people to reconnect to wholeness. Wholeness in how we eat, how we think and how we all see ourselves. They knew they wanted to make a difference using naturally powerful, delicious, legume-based foods and are so passionate about the dynamite that legumes are – nutritionally and environmentally!
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Happy Earth People have created a first-of-a-kind on South Africa soil legume pasta. The perfect alternative to carb and gluten-laden pastas. Made from 100% pure chickpeas and lentils, the humble legume has major health benefits as it ups your protein and fibre intake, giving you a boost of sustained energy. They also high in vitamins and minerals and to top it off, gluten-free. Chickpea and lentil pasta are not only a really tasty dish, it’s one of the easiest meals to rustle up with whatever sauce or toppings your heart desires. We add value with a brand so authentic it makes you smile. Everything from packaging to raw materials has been sourced mindfully and ethically #ProductsWithPurpose
Tell us a little about your team
We are a fully female powered start-up. Juggling all the aspects of womanhood!
“Happy Earth People love creating products with a purpose. Products that offer you delicious, nutrient dense meals while keeping consciousness and producer responsibility top of mind.”
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Taleszia is a creative eco-entrepreneur, with a bright-burning passion for integrated medicine and wellness. With beginnings in the marketing world at Redbull ZA, she quickly learnt the importance of customer interaction and word of mouth marketing. This was her introduction to the world of branding, and with three solid years at Redbull she fast became an integral part of the consumer collecting team in Johannesburg. Subsequent to her position at Redbull, she was offered a job at Johannesburg agency Lampost. This is where she acquired invaluable skills and expertise in the advertising and production world. Combined with her passion for creating kitchen wonders with natural ingredients, her very personal journey with wellness and her grandmother falling ill. She meditated up Happy Earth People, and intended it to be a platform for wholesome living on a healthy planet. Taleszia holds a bachelor’s degree in consumer sciences, a diploma in English language studies and is a student of GIBS, Gordons Institute of Business sciences; having secured a scholarship for a business boost in green economies; due to graduate in February 2019. She is also studying to be a qualified lifestyle practitioner in the holistic sciences field Ayurveda.
Candice is a driven and eager eco-entrepreneur, she started working immediately after matriculating. Hungry for success she wanted to immerse herself into the workplace from the get-go. Officially starting her career whilst on a gap year in London. Candice worked as an Events Assistant and studied Events Planning in her spare time. She was promoted to Conference Manager within three months and took charge of coordinating large-scale events at HMS President. Two years later, having returned home to Johannesburg she jumped straight into managing a fully-fledged business, with no previous industry experience or knowledge of running a business. Tenacious in her pursuits, she led a team of 15 people, took on a few short courses, implemented new systems and turned a somewhat low-key business into a thriving organisation. During her time at the helm, profits increased and there was zero staff turnarounds. She introduced a new shop fitting division to the business to ensure a more robust and diverse business model; increasing turnover by R1.5 million and welcoming five new employees to the team. With key strengths in operations & financial management she saw first-hand the importance that cash flow, financial planning and ensuring liquidity plays in a business. Soon thereafter Candice moved to Cape Town, where old school friend Taleszia Pillay asked her to join her on a mission to create a ground-breaking new health product offering.
The team say that in combining their strengths, they have increased their turnover by R800 000 in just one year and they forecast that this will increase to R4 million this year. Keep watching this space!
“Happy Earth People have created a first-of-a-kind on South Africa soil legume pasta. The perfect alternative to carb and gluten-laden pastas.”
What are your future plan and aspirations for your company?
Aim to procure locally first
Investigate growing conditions as well as processing infrastructure
Form trade partnerships with farmers
Create a demand for locally grown legumes by securing off-set agreements for necessary pulse crops.
Form partnerships in the value chain
Increase pulse consumption and therefore production in SA
Educate on the value of pulses in sustainable food production and independent food security.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Service to others.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Take the time to do your business plan and keep track of cashflow from the beginning.
Contact or follow Happy Earth People
Why LoA loves it….
With a growing movement to create innovative, sustainable and healthy food brands and businesses in Africa, Taleszia and Candice are making a welcome contribution to the range of product choices on our shelves with their brand HappyEarthPeople. Their products are world class (we have tasted them personally!), provide genuinely tasty and healthy alternatives to their mainstream alternatives, and their growth suggests the market is ready. This is a great brand that we tip to go places over the coming months and years. — Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa