I was born in a town called Bulawayo, Rhodesia many years ago. I was christened Patricia Mary Gibson – when I was two I renamed myself "Tasha", little did I know then that I was already starting to set my mark! My great grandmother was a confectioner and my grandmother had many a food talent from icing to making her own mulberry wine; the spare room cupboard always had funny noises coming from it.
In the school holidays we had idyllic times, my brother and I staying at Gran's house and this is where my love of baking began. Gran encouraged me to enter a few competitions, one of which we watched from a distance while the judging took place. I shared first place, they loved the design I had used to decorate the cake. It's amazing what you can do with a fork!
Cooking and baking became a way of life for me. I have always been passionate about food but definitely have a Love for creating confectionary delights.
Having moved to South Africa and settling in to Grade 11, I discovered Home Economics; remember the days when it was called that! It was my best mark for Matric!
After a fantastic Gap year at Maritzburg business college, where I learnt what would be a very worthwhile skill for my future business - 40 words per minute on the typewriter and 90 words a minute at shorthand, I set off for Cooking school – the next step in reaching my dream - Silwood Kitchens (www.silwood.co.za).
I loved it and threw myself into learning all I could – and when you are happy, you usually flourish and I did! Year-end arrived and all projects were handed in, I won the award for the best sweets, one of them being FUDGE and I also remember making jubes jubes with three colours. How adventurous I was!
Life goes on, marriage; a baby- called Darryl BUT some where there was always fudge! My first business was called "Nyum Nyum goodies". Darryl was not quite two then and today is over twenty two! Along my culinary journey - fudge became an integral part and a top-seller. So my "second baby Tasha's fantastic fudge was born! The dream has come true and Tasha's fantastic fudge has grown further than I ever imagined or planned to be.
I have discovered a talent for marketing and networking. I love seeing my team grow and gain confidence in themselves. I love experimenting and taking fudge to a level it has never gone before. The best of all I have had my husband Leuis, my son Darryl and my family behind me, with me and supporting me.
Tasha's Fantastic Fudge was an unplanned baby conceived quite simply because there wasn't enough money at the end of each month to comfortably single parent! The business began as an aside with a few schools here and a few shops there - single pieces of homemade fudge in glass jars to supplement earnings at a real job. Then a serious accident at work turned full-time employment on its head...and the sideline had to become the breadwinner!
With this very strong "why", it wasn't long before Tasha's Fantastic Fudge was a label; a branded four-piece pack showing up in recognized outlets and a factory-at-home with the first team member – Lizzie. Fantastic Fudge soon adorned all available surfaces at home; oozed into the garage space and then into the wooden hut purchased for extra storage. Nomusa and Victor joined Lizzie and then there were four.
Business-wise Tasha's Fantastic Fudge was also growing: greater volumes meant the need for new systems, planning, technology, training and trade/business associations that would ensure the product became known, loved and sought after. Two piece packs joined four piece packs; bar-coding improved the professional look and feel; delivery routes and a driver joined the picture; one stove became two and more; equipment took up residence; mum resigned from corporate to "do the books"; registration for VAT happened..... and Tasha's Fantastic Fudge started picking up publicity – lots of it!
Distributors become part of the business to leverage time and took responsibility for selling; organizing tastings/promotions and being the face of Tasha's to a growing customer base. From there it was a short jump to a first big show in Johannesburg (scary!) then onto the Good Food and Wine Show in Cape Town (fraught but successful with 6 new flavours launched to applause!).....and then via the Hilton Festival, to the Richards Bay Expo onto the Durban Good Food & Wine Show (and a gold medal for stylish design, conceptual and interactive elements of the stand, enthusiasm of the staff, superlative services and the finest attention to detail!!) Oh yes, and let's not forget the distributors, the East Coast Radio House & Garden Show (GREAT reception).
Now in 2013, 12 flavours to choose from in stores, over 50 flavours in our shop in Hilton, gift packets, bars, cookies, fudge consumption is still on the rise.
Online buying has now become a reality and watch the stores for our other new exciting releases.
Tasha’s Fantastic Fudge Achievements
Three external businesswomen were selected to judge the 2014 Achiever of the Year competition. Susan Mercer Williams, a financial planner based in Westville, Helet Borchardt, the marketing manager for Sanlam in Cape Town and Ingrid Roberts, a motivational speaker based in PMB. All 16 applications were sent to these 3 judges independently, and their scores were added together for each applicant, which is how they arrived at the top 3.
Applicants were judged based on the various criteria including any recognition received for outstanding entrepreneurship, innovations or promotions over the past 12 months; personal social responsibility activities over the past 12 months; reasons given for why customers should do business with them; motivation for what inspires and drives her; and how the applicant contributes to UWA.
Janine O'Connor of Books and Books who took 3rd place, told us that she has provided 8 years of excellent service to her customers, and acknowledged that family and friends are key to her existence. She loves coming to UWA meetings as our speakers remind her of how many people need help and support.
Opthamologist, Dr Kavitha Naidoo took 2nd place, and she is a lady who has a very tough job. She owns 2 practices, and is very passionate about fundraising, training, counselling, and giving back. She is a sought after speaker both locally and internationally. She says that the experience of working with people who are less fortunate than herself drives her to always try to do the best she can and she is always considerate of people with disabilities.
Tasha Jardim of Tasha's Fantastic Fudge was awarded 1st place, and our Achiever of the Year believes that even as her business grows, nothing is permitted to compromise the quality, and it is a business that can be relied upon even when she is not there, she has worked hard at establishing a reputation for delivering as promised and going the extra mile. She joined UWA for support, accountability and community.
Tasha Jardim honoured at the 2015 Business Excellence Awards
18 May 2015
South African business woman, Tasha Jardim of Tasha’s Fantastic Fudge has done South Africa proud at the annual Business Excellence Forum & Awards (BEF) held this month in Troia, Portugal for entrepreneurs from Europe, the Middle East and Africa who competed across 15 different categories to be judged among the region’s best.
Adjudicated by an international panel of judges, the BEF is designed to celebrate and award business owners who have grown and leveraged their businesses with excellence, resilience and ahead of their peers.
Hosted by internationally acclaimed entrepreneur, Brad Sugars, the 2015 awards had entrants competing for Best Manufacturer/Wholesaler, Best Retailer, Best Import/Export Company, Best Service Based, Best Customer Service Results, Best E-Commerce, Best Community Impact, Best Marketing Campaign, Most Innovative Company, Fastest Growing, Best Company Culture, Best Manufacture/Wholesaler, CEO of the Year, Young Entrepreneur, Female Entrepreneur of the Year and Best Overall Company.
Coached by Industrial psychologist and award-winning Cape Town-based business growth expert, Kathi Clarke of Building Best Business, Jardim was placed third in the category of Best Female Entrepreneur, which was looking for a business with profitable and well-scaled growth; impressively increased market share; a winning team; increased/improved product offerings; proven and growing publicity; significantly more free time away from the business and a great work/life balance for the owner; tangible giving back to the business and broader communities; great test and measure and a good long term plan with smart goals.
“Tasha has achieved phenomenal growth as a business owner. She is one of life’s overcomers who has taken her fudge business from a hobby at home to a nationally-distributed brand with her own factory, a team of distributors, contracts to supply the likes of Dischem and Food Lover’s Market and the freedom thanks to her production team to go away for a month at a time without things missing a beat. Not bad for a single mum who started with a pot at home on her stove and who used to work every weekend at a market.”
Jardim was pipped to the trophy by a French entrepreneur who has grown from 3 to 56 cinemas throughout France with a 2000% increase in profits. She was also beaten by Deliciously Sorted – a conferencing and Events Company based in Ibiza whose owner, Serena Cook, currently works only 10 hours a week.
“It was an honour to lose out to such brilliant competition – to be on an international stage and counted worthy to stand next to them was brilliant,” said Jardim.
Clarke is an Industrial Psychologist, international award-winning and certified ActionCOACH Business Coach and a business growth expert. With over 25 years of experience in growing businesses in five African countries, she returned to Cape Town in 2010 where she started Building Best Business. She has now successfully helped more than 150 entrepreneurs to significantly grow their profits, develop entrepreneurial muscle and enjoy the lifestyle which prompted them to start their own business in the first place.