Why I started 1701

After school I started at the University of Johannesburg as a lost and unsure typical student, contemplating the meaning of life and how to make money and be successful. I enrolled to do a BCOM Law degree and after two months in I soon realised that following in my fathers footsteps wasn’t for me. This left me even more confused and without a back up plan. I spent the next few months struggling to keep myself busy and decided I wanted to focus on becoming a professional golfer. This came to an end and I made a grown up decision to put the clubs down and stop fooling myself that I had it in me to make millions hitting a little white ball around. Depression set in and I was not in a good space at all. I needed to find something.

I found what I was looking for after many conversations with more experienced individuals around me. I decided that advertising looked like the avenue for me, it looked like fun. In 2011 I started at the Vega School of Brand Leadership and completed my 3 year BA Degree in Brand Building and Management in 2013.

I soon found myself looking for a job, a daunting reality check I must add. Being a youngster with no experience I grabbed whatever opportunity I could. I started at a chemical ingredient manufacturer and found myself cold calling and looking for as many opportunities I could to sell xanthum gum or PEG-40 (whatever this was). Anyways, I worked for 9 months at this company and whilst I was there my 1701 journey started.

A work colleague and I got chatting one day, I mentioned that my mother makes nougat. Being a sweet fanatic he soon asked for some samples. One piece in and he said to me, “why aren’t you selling this all over the place? This stuff is the best nougat I have ever tasted”. This sparked something inside me, I went away and thought about it for a moment. I hated working behind a desk and having restricted working hours and this was my opportunity to get out.

I developed the 1701 brand from my desk, instead of being on Facebook (maybe I should keep this on the down low). Soon I had a logo developed, had a mini strategy in place and was ready to start approaching a few people. And so I did!

This is where I am now, 18 months in and we have a small business that myself and my business partner Peter Hemsley run. We have added 1701 Luxury Collections (originally hampers) to the business and we have plans of taking the 1701 brand internationally. We have realised that there is so much potential in South Africa and we want to showcase us to the world!

Join us on our journey of adding value and special moments to everyone who comes into contact with our brand. We are here to be the cherry on top, the icing on your cake and the cream of your crop! Start by taking a look at our products here and then get in touch to place your order.