Then vs Now: The HOT Black Mamba Journey from Kitchen Door to Global Brand
When we look back at where it all began, it's hard to believe the incredible journey that Black Mamba has been through over the years. Our story started in 2010, quite literally from the back of Claudia and Joe’s kitchen. Little did we know back then that our passion for creating unique flavours while supporting rural communities and treading lightly on the planet would lead us on the amazing path we are today.
Our very first breakthrough came at the Bushfire Festival in 2010. Claudia and Joe cooked 420 bottles of our Cayenne Chilli sauce, which were all snatched up by eager customers.
This early success ignited a spark within our founders, giving them the courage to pursue their vision even harder. The next year, in 2011, we took a giant leap forward, producing 3900 units – a significant step towards turning a passion into a thriving venture.
As the years went by, our dedication and hard work paved the way for transformation. 2011 was not only a year of increased production but also the year we shifted from our kitchen to a small workshop. Convincing Joe's mom to let us convert her cottage into a workshop is still a fond memory that makes us smile. With a team of just four, we took on the task of manually mincing chillies, pouring our hearts into every step.
Our first international order in 2013, a shipment to Germany, was a defining moment. Sending out 20 cartons prompted a victory dance! Even back then, with just three sauces in our arsenal, we felt the immense potential of sharing our African flavours with the world.
The next pivotal shift came in 2014 when we upgraded to our first factory – a 250-square-metre space where we felt that a big company already! However, it was in 2016 that Black Mamba truly came into its own. A comprehensive rebranding started our transformation from a small startup to a modern, vibrant African brand. Looking back at photos from our early trade show appearances to the more recent ones, the change is deeply gratifying.
What has remained steadfast amid all these changes is our core commitment. Our bond with local rural communities, our emphasis on an inclusive value chain, and our dedication to using organically grown ingredients have remained unwavering. These principles were at the heart of our brand's identity and continue to guide us forward.
Fast forward to the present day, and the numbers are a testament to the incredible journey we've undertaken. We export our diverse range of products to 12 countries, producing over 200,000 units annually. Our product lineup has expanded to an impressive 25 offerings, and you can now find our creations on the shelves of supermarkets in South Africa, the UK, the US, UAE, Norway, and Taiwan.
Yet, it's not just about the numbers. Our team now comprises 21 amazing individuals, with 85% being women. Our network of 60 farmers and our impact on over a thousand people from rural communities in Eswatini reinforce the real change we've been able to drive.
The pinnacle of this journey was the opening of our new factory in 2022, a momentous occasion graced by the EU Ambassador. Stepping into that space, we felt the weight of our achievements and the excitement of all that lies ahead.
Looking back at this incredible voyage, we are filled with a sense of gratitude and pride. Every challenge we faced, every decision we made, and every step we took, both big and small, have brought us to where we are today.
As we stand on the cusp of the future, we're exhilarated by the endless possibilities that await us. The journey has been nothing short of extraordinary, and we're more eager than ever to embrace what's next on this thrilling adventure called Black Mamba.