In March we celebrated International Women’s Day with a big party at Cannizaro House in Hotel Du Vin. To conclude our party our guests left with a fabulous goody bag filled with the gorgeous nut butters from Kukuya Kitchen. We share their story during our Artisan April campaign, which aims to show off a range of Artisans and their products.
Who/ What inspired you to start your own business?
I will have to say the pandemic is what led to the birth of Kukuya, but my grandmother was definitely the inspiration. I was born in Zimbabwe and one of my fondest childhood memories was visiting my grandmother (which is gogo in my language) in the village. My gogo was a phenomenal woman. She became a single mother when my grandad died and she raised all of her children by herself. She never received much formal education, and she didn’t have much in terms of money, but one thing she did was work hard to ensure her children had the best education she could afford and made sure they had all they needed. On those village visits, one of the things she did was to make sure we never left without her peanut butter which she would stone grind by hand. As such my palate struggled to adjust to the taste of the store-bought peanut butter when I moved to the UK at age 14. So anytime we went to Zimbabwe we would always bring back some peanut butter. However, covid happened which meant I was not able to replenish my stock. As my gogo is now late, I called my aunt who talked me through gogo’s method of making peanut butter and that’s how Kukuya was born (we even use stone grinders to make our butters just the way gogo used to make it).
What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Navigating the business world with no experience has been quite challenging, I’m pretty much learning as I go along. Making a few mistakes here and there, but I’m so grateful that I have met some incredible people along the way that have helped me immensely.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
The freedom to create, but also seeing people actually liking what you’re making. I always say to people, the first sale is always good, but what excites me and what keeps me going is seeing people coming back to buy more or when I hear people saying someone recommended our products to them or when people tell us how much they love our products. I hope I never lose that feeling.
Which product/service have you enjoyed creating the most?
I would have to say I have enjoyed creating all my products because they are unique in their own way. I’m currently in the middle of creating something super fun which will be out by summer, which is very different from the butters (so maybe that might be the most fun I’ve had in the KukuyaKitchen for a while).
How did you be celebrating International Women’s Day?
This year I hung out and met some awesome women at Lady Wimbledon’s International Women’s Day Party, then afterwards I hung out with my sister.
Written By: Lydia Ray | Lifestyle Editor