Female-owned Businesses that Should Be on your Radar

Words: Crush

Beyoncé had the right idea when she sang, ‘Who run the world… girls’ – but in this case, we’re talking womxn. We’ve come up with a list of female-owned businesses that should be on your radar, not just for Women’s Month, but all year round! You might be familiar with some of these brands, while others have just stepped onto the entrepreneurial scene – either way, they can take all of our coins.

Women in Food

Eat your heart out! These female powerhouses are shaking up South Africa’s culinary scene.

Cream of the Crop Micro Dairy

Having grown up on a biodynamic farm and selling her family’s fresh produce at weekend markets, Maria van Zyl developed a passion for farming at a young age, which eventually led to her starting her very own agricultural and artisanal business, Cream of the Crop.

The micro-dairy supplies small-batch artisanal butter, labneh, halloumi and yoghurt. They currently produce this and more from five grass-fed Jersey cows at the family’s Piket Bo-Berg farm, where they also offer cheese-making workshops. Maria is focused on creating a sustainable offering with a Committed Value Chain programme, to foster better transparency between farmers and customers.

Instagram


Post & Pepper

Post & Pepper is a fun-dining restaurant that’s become a favourite for many. Having worked in some of the country’s best fine dining kitchens, Jess van Dyk figured it was high time she started her own establishment. One yacht cheffing gig, food photography stint and pandemic later, her vision finally came to life.

Located in the (now revamped) old Stellenbosch post office, the restaurant has a casual yet sophisticated appeal. Inspired by childhood food memories and influenced by chef Jess’ favourite dishes, the menu features approachable yet elevated cuisine. If you love fancy Mac ‘n Cheese or appreciate delicious food, Post & Pepper is where it’s at!

postandpepper.co.za | Instagram


Mmabatho Molefe

Mmabatho Molefe is celebrating Zulu cuisine and bringing people together with food at Emazulwini Restaurant. You may know her from her communal fine-dining pop-up restaurant, The Long Table Experience, where she brought strangers together through a shared dining experience. These days, Mmabatho is celebrating her Zulu heritage by highlighting Nguni cuisine at Makers Landing at the V&A Waterfront, where Emazulwini is located. We are excited to see what comes next!

Instagram


INDIKAAP

After studying in Kerala, India, and moving to the Southern suburbs of Cape Town, INDIKAAP founder, Michelle Mistry, became homesick for the food culture she knew. Being a certified Ayurvedic Nutritionist, she bottled that knowledge in the hopes of inspiring people to incorporate nourishment and balance through everyday eating.

INDIKAAP has a line of delicious vegan butter, chilli and seasonal vegetable pickle products. In addition to selling great pantry products, they host Ayurvedic retreats, cleanses and workshops where you can learn all about the 6 different tastes used in Ayurveda and nutrition. Mistry even offers personal consultations, which involves food mapping. You can find INDIKAAP at Makers Landing, V&A Waterfront.

indikaap.com | Facebook


Fehmz Mocktails

Half the fun of drinking cocktails are the vibrant colours and questionable names, that often make up for what they lack in taste. As a teetotaler and foodie, Fehmida Jordaan saw a necessity for equally interesting non-alcoholic beverages on the market…

Fehmz Mocktails offers an extensive and affordable range of  flavoured non-alcoholic RTDs, ranging from Lemongrass Ginger to Watermelon, and sugar-free drinks. We just love the playful packaging and innovation of this delicious product.

fehmzmocktails.co.za | Facebook | Instagram


Grumpy & Runt

Run by chefs Johke and Carla, Grumpy & Runt is a female-owned deli and doughnut shop in the heart of Cape Town. Their quaint deli and bakery in Dunkley Square offers a wide variety of New York-style deli foods and sweet treats, all with one thing in common – everything is completely plant-based! Another distinct feature about this deli is that almost all food components are made in-house, from vegan butter to sauces to ‘cheeses’ and ‘meats’. Enjoy their delicious Reuben on rye, bagels, vegan ice cream and keep an eye out for their weekly doughnut flavour drops – Grumpy & Runt’s food is sure to keep you coming back!

grumpyandrunt.com | Instagram


Khayelitsha Farmer, Ncumisa Mkabile

Ncumisa Mkabile, also known as ‘The Spinach Queen’, has gained national recognition after she started a small-scale farming business during lockdown. She has a small chicken farm as well, but what gained Mkabile notoriety is the spinach and cabbage she has been able to grow on unused land in between houses in Khayelitsha.

She was able to use the power of social media to get people to start buying from her and see the value of her farming. The Spar in Khayelitsha Mall noticed and stocked her spinach. Follow her farming journey on Instagram, or place an order through her Facebook group.

Instagram | Facebook


Kirsten’s Kick Ass Ice Cream

This female-owned business is run by none other than Kristen herself. She started her business with an ice cream-maker attachment that she received as a wedding gift. Ice cream made for parties quickly turned into ice cream orders for friends, and then strangers, and then an invitation to open her own Kick Ass Ice Cream shop in the Noordhoek farm village.

Other locations include Constantia Uitsig, Newlands and Stellenbosch; they even have a tropical outpost in Mauritius! Kristen’s mission is to be the little community scoop shop where everyone feels welcome. While the majority of their ice creams are made with milk, cream and sugar, they also offer dairy-free and sugar-free options.

kristenskickass.co.za | Instagram | Facebook


Lexi’s Eatery

Lexi Monzeglio is the co-owner of Lexi’s Eatery. Inspired to bring a fresh, sustainable and plant-based eatery to South Africa, Lexi joined forces with her business partner to breathe some life into the culinary scene and encourage people to eat wholesome, delicious and plant-based food. Do your belly a favour and visit this Jo’burg eatery.

Instagram | Facebook


Sweet LionHeart

Nikki Symons is one of the OG’s when it comes to female-owned and run businesses in Cape Town. Starting out in 2015 by sharing her drool-worthy and visually stunning cake creations on Instagram, Nikki has built her online cake business into a fully-fledged sweet treat powerhouse. Her all-female Sweet LionHeart team is responsible for creating some of the most instantly recognisable cakes in the country; from cute mini cakes, pops and cookies to striking, multi-tiered celebration showstoppers. Constantly innovating and fiercely championing the female agenda, this team of ‘gurls’ are a force to be reckoned with.

If you’re looking for something beautiful and deliciously indulgent, head over to their website where you can order online or pop by their retail counter at Maker’s Landing. If you love what they do and want to upskill, check out their calendar of interactive workshops, where you can create your own sweet masterpieces under their expert tutelage.

sweetlionheart.com | Instagram


Theonista

Brewmistress and Theonista founder, Meghan Werner, built Theonista around the need to heal her gut and microbiome. Now, she’s helping many others do the same with expert fermentation methods, and kombucha. Meghan started Theonista back in 2011 and her first customer was Clarke’s Dining on Bree (also female-owned). Theonista became the first local brand to sell kombucha commercially and has since become a household name.

theonista.co.za | Instagram | Facebook


UKUTYA

Female-owned businesses
Female-owned businesses

UKUTYA, meaning ‘to eat’ in isiXhosa, is a food movement started by entrepreneur, cook and food activist, Nabo Binase and her partner. They focus on cultivating vibrant and immersive experiences for people to learn about indigenous produce through food education and preservation. You can catch them at Makers Landing where they host insightful Masterclasses and intimate food experiences.

Facebook | Instagram


YIAYIA’s Table

yiayias table
Female-owned businesses

Named after Elli Parolis or ‘Yiayia’ to her family, YIAYIA’s Table is a neighbourhood bakery and coffee shop offering home-baked Greek confectionery. With a menu inspired by Elli’s own recipes of traditional Greek delicacies and vibrant Mediterranean flavours, YIAYIA’s Table is dedicated to keeping her spirit alive through wholesome, comforting foods.

yiayiastable.co.za | Facebook | Instagram


Tessa’s Bakery

Tessa Dasopatis of Tessa’s Bakery, has been passionately baking for about 25 years, making delicious treats from home. In 2012, she decided it was time to share her baked goods with the rest of us by opening up a shop and setting up a delivery service.

Her baked goods are all made from the finest ingredients, each with a unique touch ranging from chocolate caramel cake, red velvet cake, carrot cake, cheesecake, Peppermint Crisp tarts, cupcakes and more! The perfect treat for birthdays, celebrations, tea time, and basically any time of day.

Instagram | Facebook


Women in Fashion & Lifestyle

From fitness to make-up and everything in between, these local female entrepreneurs are changing the game!

Cards for Conversation

Daily social interactions often don’t go beyond the good-intentioned yet surface-level ‘How are you?’ Founded by Meg Carrie, Cards for Conversation was created out of a need to reconnect with loved ones after grieving the death of her brother, and she figured she wasn’t alone.

Desperate to avoid small-talk, she created Cards for Conversation – a small box with big questions. Since having launched, it has helped thousands of people by taking the awkwardness out of vulnerability. Cards for Conversations can be found at Poetry stores, nationwide, and on their website.

cardsforconversation.com | Facebook | Instagram


Bellyoncé

Female-owned businesses

Bellyoncé specialises in handmade belly and body oils made from vitamin-rich oils. Founder, Lauren, created her own blended oil of Kalahari Melon, Apricot Kernel, Baobab and Avocado oil when she struggled to find natural, unscented oils when she was pregnant. While the product helps minimise the appearance of stretch marks, Bellyoncé is not ‘just a belly oil’, it’s great for anyone wanting to boost their collagen or promote skin elasticity. They do nationwide delivery, check out their site to order.

bellyonce.co.za | Instagram


Best Jewellery

best jewellery female businesses
best jewellery

Rebecca Scher, founder of Best Jewellery, designs jewellery with the wearer in mind. Her 18ct gold-plated jewellery is designed to be functional yet fashionable. Her earrings are hollow, making them light-as-a-feather and perfect to wear from morning to evening. Rebecca believes that everyone deserves to feel the Best. She developed her brand in response to popular consumer culture that thrives off making the consumer feel ‘less than’. Instead, her brand’s ethos is to uplift and support women through jewellery.

ourbestregards.com | Facebook | Instagram


Black Betty Design

Female-owned businesses

Started in 2012 by designer Kristin Weixelbaumer, Black Betty is a jewellery and piercing studio. Aesthetically gorgeous and edgy in design, Black Betty proves that diamonds are indeed girl’s best friend. All their collections are uniquely crafted, ensuring there’s something for everyone. If you don’t see something that catches your eye, have at it and design your own bespoke piece. We especially love that for every Black Betty online purchase, a portion is donated to the Kolisi Foundation, which supports women affected by GBV (Gender Based Violence).

blackbettydesign.com | Facebook | Instagram


Julie Baby Punch Club

Nomvula ‘Julie Baby’ Mxubane, started making gorgeous punch needle cushions during lockdown. She realised she was super talented and started taking orders! Now, the Julie Baby Punch Club is a group of domestic workers who are “nannies by day and punch needle superstars by night”. We absolutely love their beautiful and colourful cushions!

Instagram


LEEBEX

Many local fashion brands miss the mark when it comes to inclusive fashion, making it difficult to not only find well-fitted but stylish garments too. LeeBex manages to do that and more. Founded by Rebecca Garande and Lesego Legobane (Thickleeyonce), LeeBex is a start-up retail shop catering to plus-size women. Initially an online retailer, LeeBex now has a store in Melville, Johannesburg. If you’re looking for beautiful clothing for functions or just want to ‘zhuzh’ up your wardrobe, we recommend checking out their online boutique.

leebex.com | Facebook | Instagram


Me&B

Female-owned businesses

Me&B is the mother-daughter fashion duo we never knew we needed! This eclectic brand’s mission is to make fashion fun, one vibrant garment at a time. Started in 2018 by Betina Swart and daughter, Kelly-Grace Gibberd, the brand uses local designers and experts to create chic yet comfortable garments. Check out their online store if your wardrobe needs a splash of colour.

meandb.shop | Instagram


Noa & Co

Female-owned businesses
Female-owned businesses

Founded by Meghan Pietersen, Noa & Co is a brand built on the pillar of self-love and the name says it all – Noa means ‘my love’ in Japanese Kanji. After spending some time in Japan, Megan was particularly inspired by the dedication to wellness culture and traditional health, thus the birth of Noa & Co. We love that this brand doesn’t focus on diet culture, but rather wellness. Noa & Co sells a range of products from collagen creamer to protein powder.

noaandco.com | Facebook | Instagram


RushTush

Female-owned businesses

Rushda Moosjaee or ‘RushTush’, is a powerhouse entrepreneur, mom and all-round inspirational human. She started her career as a personal trainer and helped facilitate the opening of a functional training gym, where she saw the need for tailored workouts specifically designed for women. Fast forward a few years and she now has a fitness app, RushTushFit. This online store offers beauty products, make-up and pharmaceuticals, as well as a range of fitness e-books made to suit anyone’s needs. It is so refreshing to see a personal trainer focused on enhancing women’s health and building confidence!

rushtush.com | Facebook | Instagram


swiitchbeauty®

Female-owned businesses

Rabia Ghoor started swiitchbeauty® from her bedroom when she was just 14 years old. Seeing a gap in the South African beauty market, Rabia dropped out of school at 16 to pursue her career in beauty. Her vision was to create an affordable makeup line that South African consumers would feel proud to wear. Fast forward to today, Rabia is 23 years young, and has already been awarded Forbes Woman Africa Young Achiever. swiitchbeauty® is over 100k Instagram followers strong and is growing from strength to strength.

swiitchbeauty.com | Instagram


twyg.

Female-owned businesses

Twyg (pronounced ‘twig’) is a not-for-profit company that highlights sustainability and slow and a circular fashion. With over two decades’ experience in the media industry, founder and editor, Jackie May, launched Twyg in 2018 with the intention of promoting a more mindful society. Twyg creates events, campaigns and content to inspire people to do the same. In 2019, they launched the Twyg Sustainability Fashion Awards to garner recognition for designers who honour sustainable practices. Check out their website and social media to learn more about this great collective.

twyg.co.za | Facebook | Instagram


Women in Alcohol

It’s so refreshing to see how many female-owned businesses are taking control in a heavily male-dominated alcohol industry. We love to see it!

Matawi Mead

Co-founded by Nokukhanya Mncwabe, Matawi produces traditional Xhosa mead, iqhilika. After being subjected to the Western Cape drought, Nokukhanya saw a need for more sustainable alcohol production, as most offerings require lots of water consumption. She pitched her product at the Startup School Africa’s Incubation Programme, and Investec supported the idea.

Matawi fosters job creation by collaborating with and offering training to black-owned mead makers. The eco-friendly brand offers Honey Liqueur and Honey Gin, fermented with Fynbos honey, yeast and water, and infused with indigenous African botanicals.

matawi.co.za | Facebook | Instagram


Aslina Wines By Ntsiki Biyela

Female-owned businesses

Aslina Wines, is a company wholly owned by Ntsiki Biyela, the first black female winemaker in South Africa. Ntsiki has built an impressive resume over the years – she was awarded a scholarship to study winemaking, she then graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BSc in Agriculture (Viticulture and Oenology), slowly thereafter joining boutique winery, Stellekaya Wines.

She has consulted and worked with winemakers in California and France, and sits on the board of directors for the Pinotage Youth Development Academy, which provides technical training and personal development for young South Africans in the Cape Winelands. She creates a wide range of wine stocked across the country and has already won many accolades and awards. You can shop Aslina Wines online at their website below.

aslinawines.co.za | Instagram


L-Gin

Female-owned businesses
Female-owned businesses

L-Gin, a handcrafted gin brand, was created by three female friends who live in Elgin, and just love gin. After completing distillation courses in Johannesburg and Stellenbosch, under the guidance of master distillers, L-Gin was born. The business is female-run, and we love the fact that this gin is produced from fruit and botanicals growing in the Elgin Valley. Their gin has been favourited by gin lovers across the country, and took Gold at the SA Craft Gin Awards 2019. They truly take pride in what they do.

l-gin.net | Instagram


Trizanne Signature Wines

Female Owned Business
Female Owned Business

Trizanne Barnard, owner of Trizanne Signature Wines, graduated from Stellenbosch University with a degree in viticulture and oenology. She worked multiple vintages abroad and upon returning home in 2004, was offered the opportunity of starting Anwilka Wines in conjunction with Klein Constantia role-players and Bordeaux winemakers. In 2008, she decided to start her own brand and Trizanne Signature Wines was born.

She focuses on two very diverse wine regions, namely Elim and the Swartland. Trizanne Signature Wines creates a wide and delicious range of wine, with stockists all across the country. Make sure to check out where you can buy her wine at their website.

trizanne.co.za | Instagram

Meet the local female winemakers behind some of SA’s favourite labels.  

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