Two teenagers in ice-cream manufacturing business
UMAICECREAM spelt nothing but bliss for many youngsters back in the day, who would spend the greater part of the day playing outside their homes.
Now two female teenagers are riding on that with a start-up selling ice-cream in Bulawayo.
Zimbabweans abroad are even sending them money for them to deliver the ice-cream to their loved ones while some in Europe buy as giveaways to be given to the underprivileged as a means of supporting the business.
Back in the day, as umaicecream (the one who sells ice-cream) approached, children would run to their parents or guardians to ask for money, a daily service that became a favourite for many children.
While many youths have since grown to find amusement in other things forgetting about umaicecream, Miss Siphathokuhle Nozithelo Ncube (19) and her friend Miss Michelle Thanya Moyo (20) have turned their childhood memory into a thriving business.
The two completed their Advanced-Level in 2019 but because of financial challenges, they have not yet managed to further their studies.
While surfing through the Internet, the two realised they could while up time by selling ice-cream and also start a business of their own. With just US$50 as start-up capital, they birthed a mobile ice-cream service which they later named UmaIceCream simply because they sell sweetened frozen food eaten as a snack or dessert in many communities.
The two also gave unique and vernacular names to their five flavours which are meant to create a memory never to be forgotten.
Ibhubesi (lion-king of the jungle) drips with chocolate goodness, just for the fearless and bold which is the world’s most popular flavour.
The Lozikeyi (the late queen and heroine) creamy crunchiness is crafted for the powerful and resilient woman who takes the bull by the horns. The flavour, according to the ladies, should remind customers of their history.
UMaMthembo, a Ndebele totem for the Zebra is the young women’s delectable treat with artistic excellence and a strong taste of dark chocolate oozing with sweetness as a mother’s love.
Umchilo wamakhosikazi (rainbow) is a burst of colour and a fusion of fruity flavour made to wreck deathly delicious havoc in one’s mouth.
The ladies also got a flavour dubbed Madlodlo-not the beer garden, which is crafted for the wilder clients which has a hint of Amarula and smooth caramel. Madlodlo beer garden is one of Bulawayo’s oldest and biggest drinking spots located in Makokoba suburb.
Since its inception in October last year, UmaIceCream has grown.
Miss Ncube says the use of social media has played an important role in the growth of the trending brand.
“UmaIceCream, is a Bulawayo-based start-up company that makes gourmet ice cream which was established in November 2020, by two female entrepreneurs barely in their 20s. We have an efficient delivery system where consumers can be reached anywhere in the Bulawayo CBD,” she said.
“UmaIceCream makes desserts that are crafted artistically and we thrive in providing consumers with convenience.”
She said the idea was to initially start a business while waiting for opportunities to go to university.
“Our friend gave us US$50 which we used to buy cups and cones for starters while we were checking possible ingredients for our unique flavours. Initially we used 250mls cups and our first customers were sourced by my neighbour who opened a food outlet in Nkulumane Complex named Ezimnandi. We attended the ceremony and served our ice-cream which had melted and still got support which boosted our confidence,” she said.
The owner of the restaurant unfortunately succumbed to Covid-19 recently but her gesture was all that the duo needed to grow their business into a recognised brand in the City of Queens and Kings.
Miss Ncube said last November they took their business online and created Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages where they got a lot of positive feedback.
“So, we had decided that we were going to name the company UmaIceCream because we thought the name was familiar with this side of town, that bell brings a lot of childhood memories of when all we ever wanted was for our parents to buy us ice-cream. We decided to give our flavours vernacular names knowing well they would scream ‘Bulawayo’ whenever one came across them. We also realised we had to give our flavours unique names and not go for the cliché; chocolate, sweet candy etcetera which is known by everyone.”
Like every other business, UmaIcecream has faced Covid-19 related challenges which often left the proprietors without ingredients for their flavours.
“We have faced challenges as well due to the lockdown. There was a time when we couldn’t deliver as we did not have exemption letters. At one point we couldn’t easily get our ingredients from South Africa and we had to stop serving ice-cream,” she said.
Miss Moyo said for now they are selling 500mls cups of any of their flavours for US$3 adding that the growth has left them overwhelmed.
“We have had our own fair challenges but we appreciate where we are coming from. We are indeed grateful for the support we keep getting from our people. We have people from overseas who are even sending us money to go and serve their loved ones ice cream. Some people are contacting us from Europe and sending money so that we just do giveaways to the underprivileged as a means of supporting our business,” says Miss Moyo.
She said they cannot afford to rent an office yet and they are working from a friend’s place in town where they deliver from.
“We have used our social media platforms as our market base. It’s really working well for us. People contact us through WhatsApp and sometimes we are overwhelmed as we will be walking to and from delivering the orders. In the future we wish to secure transport so that we are effective and maybe be able to rent an office where our customers can walk in and collect their orders,” says Miss Moyo.
“We have also partnered with other local brands who often ask us to serve ice-cream to children’s homes and we also managed to attend the Sneaker Expo before lockdown where we sold our ice-cream. People can reach us on Twitter @umaicecream2020, and then we use umaicecream for both Facebook and Instagram.”
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