Kgothatso is a young black woman who studied business administration and now works as a business advisor. She co-owns the franchise with her spouse Frank Hails from De Aar.
Their journey began in July 2017 when Kgothatso suggested to her spouse that they open a Kauai franchise in Kimberley. Though her desired location was for the Franchise to be opened at the mall, she was informed that the prospects of opening it inside a gym were higher than at a mall, so that’s what she did. They applied in 2017 but received no feedback. In 2018 they did a follow up on the application and were informed that Virgin Active Kimberley had not decided on whether they want a Kauai on their premises. In October 2018 they were invited for an assessment test in Cape Town and were informed on the 28th October that they had been approved as candidates to open the store.
“We were informed in November that the store is to be opened in March but we weren’t sure if it was definite because we waited so long for it and we did not have anything in writing”.
The time frame became a challenge as accessing money for small businesses is a major task in South Africa, “It is not good enough that we’ve secured a franchise as we had to depend on family members to assist us financially in order to get things moving,” Kgothatso explained, adding, “We even approached financial institutions to offer us funding and at the eleventh hour they dropped us which was 2 weeks before the opening”.
The store was supposed to open on the 1st of March but the financial constraints delayed the opening to the 3rd of May.
Kauai is a very reasonable company as they started building the store with their own money and informed the couple that they’ll need to reimburse the company before opening. While Kauai took care of the financing of the building, the store owners were given all the rights to choose whatever needs to be bought up until the store was completed.
The couple ended up selling one of their cars to sustain the business and on the 30th of April they paid everything in full and the opening date was finally scheduled for the 1st of May.
Kauai has had 6 employees from January but increased the amount to 7 in May. They have an arrangement with the gym manager, allowing members of the public to come in and purchase from the store although the sit down is reserved for gym members only.
The store co-owners encourage the public to make use of their online application to make orders and to receive great specials. Most of the Kauai employees are female and black, this is a principal the co-owners firmly believe in as much as uplifting and buying from black businesses.