Phenomenal Woman: CEO of Nthabe Maqache Holdings and Bumbles – Nthabe Maqache

Nthabe Maqache was my first ever featured guests on Phenomenal Woman Blogs, and I decided to share this blog again. Nthabe  is one of my dearest friends – Nthabe Zanele Zondo whom I have known since she was my neighbour in Durban and we both worked for Unilever.

I have known Nthabe now for almost 17 years, and she is a dedicated mother, wife, friend – and a hardworking “hustler” and a strong businesswoman.

Nthabe has a Masters’ Degree in International Marketing Management from Leeds University Business School in the UK and has worked at Sun International, Unilever, Old Mutual and her last corporate career she worked at Barclays Africa as General Manager: Marketing for the Wealth, Investment Management and Insurance business.

She is CEO of Nthabe Maqache Holdings and co-owner and CEO of Bumbles, the Baby Food that is making waves in SA. Nthabe is one heck of a smart lady – always thinking of how she can build on what she has, and her vision is still clear.

What made you leave corporate and start your own business:

After a very rewarding 18-years in the corporate environment building some big brands and companies, it becomes imperative for me to start making a brand and business that will be a legacy to my children and family – and to be allowed to be Nthabe in totality.

In the time that I was in corporate, I become a mother, a role that became my priority. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, the conflicting priorities of being a mom of 3 children (all under the age of 5 years) and building a career in corporate – become a challenge that fully became my opportunity. I wanted to and needed to fully own my time and skill. My International Leadership Development Programme (ILDP) with GIBS nudged me into taking a  leap of faith. I wrote and followed my life-path.

I am also extremely grateful for the experience, skill, competencies and confidence that my corporate homes gave me. I had some of the best leaders who took great interest in my personal development; Rahman Murtuza, Kim Morgan, Kim Lombard, Kim Macilwaine, Ed Hall, Gail Klintworth and Mohale Ralebitso to name a few. I use my experience and network every-day in my business. It also helped that I have a very hardworking and supportive husband, who is himself an entrepreneur and has in many ways enabled me and ‘cushioned’ me in my endeavour to be an entrepreneur.

What can you tell us about your business?

The businesses that my company has interests in are mostly extensions of me. I love my work, and I am involved in all aspects of my business. The business has interests in marketing consultancy, property and baby food manufacturing.

Bumbles Baby is the youngest baby that I’m nurturing. Bumbles™ Baby Food range is South Africa’s first healthy range of baby food offering a clean label status, meaning unsalted and unsweetened, with no preservatives, no fillers, just 100% real food. The Bumbles™ Baby Food range organoleptic criteria and the use of the freshest produce with superfood ingredients such as quinoa, beetroot, peas, baby spinach, blueberries, carrots, sweet potato, as well as organic ingredients is what differentiates our baby food from our competitors in Southern Africa.

Bumbles™ Baby Food range is available in Dischem, Clicks, Checkers Hypers in Gauteng and Checkers in the Western Cape. We have just secured a listing with one of the leading retailers in SA.

What have been your greatest lessons

My greatest lesson and realisation is that most successful businesses are not built over-night! I have learnt to be very patient with myself and focus on building the business one day, goal, achievement and failure at a time.  

What would your advise be to someone who wants to start their own business?

Fear is the most significant inhibitor of progress and success. The fear of leaving a fixed salary, benefits and resources can create procrastination.

When and if the entrepreneurship bug bites you – don’t over-think it –  go for it! I know without a doubt that if I allowed fear to rule my thoughts, I would not have pursued some of the business projects that I have successfully pursued.

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