In an industry flooded with both big and small fish, Fresh Aqua are confident they can stay afloat and avoid being swamped by the competition.
Running since 2019, the Tlokweng-based enterprise manufactures bottled water and bottles, specialising in 500ml when it comes to the H20 side of things and then 1.5 litres for their plastic containers.
Clients range from retailers, individuals, corporate companies and restaurants, with the brand previously boasting a significant presence on the shelves of Payless Supermarket. Fresh Aqua is also stocked in Puma and Engen filling stations’ quick shops.
Bubbling with excitement as she talks to Voice Money, the company’s new owner and Director, Rebecca Douglas, revealed she took a serious interest in the water bottling business when she realised it had the potential to generate plenty of Pula.
“I bought some shares in this business in November 2022 and in April this year I improved my shareholding which allowed me to fully own the entity. The business of water bottling is something I have always loved and after some thorough research I made conclusions that water is used every day, it’s something that I can make a living and some profits out of,” said the Mmankgodi native.
Despite the saturated market, Douglas is confident the profits will flow thanks to the quality Fresh Aqua prides itself on.
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“Our packaging is more special and the way we do things we make everything here in our factory for ourselves,” she states, revealing they plan to add sparkling water as well as 300ml to their product line in the future.
Boasting a plant capable of producing up to 10, 000 bottles a day, Fresh Aqua currently operates at around half that, while also pumping out an average of 5, 000 units of bottled water on a daily basis.
General Manager (GM), Masego Losika, 40, is optimistic the factory will hit capacity once the summer heat sets in.
“Since taking over there hasn’t been much growth since we came in at winter time. This business is seasonal and in winter sales generally go down plus the market is saturated and some are taking shortcuts without following requirements. So you find that we compete with people who don’t spend or invest much in this but with time we will see how it goes,” said Losika.
The GM also pointed to a lack of raw materials available locally as one of the major humps they have to overcome.
“Raw materials are sourced from where we only have one supplier. Sometimes it takes long for materials to arrive and therefore affects production. Even our spare parts for our machines, we procure them from there,” she explained, noting the ‘expertise’ required to work the machines was also gained from the Asian nation.
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“When the business started we bought our machines from China, so we underwent training for making bottles and water production by the same Chinese company before we opened doors for business,” revealed Losika, who is one of five employees involved in the day-to-day running of the plant and the production process.