With 2016 still fresh on many people’s schedules and minds; a stream of articles and other similar media on the next big things, are pouring onto people’s phones and computers. Some garbage, others gems. Well, add Kiff to the A-List of the finer things in life and a delectable mouthwatering bobble for your stomach. Kiff is a new food company that is taking over America by storm, with delicious snacks that have both their inspiration and their recipe DNA from South Africa. Kiff is actually South African slang for Awesome. Over the past several decades, South Africa has moved from her not to pretty past into a future that is bright and cosmopolitan and resembling a coastal Australia feel to living. Cape Town being the center of this change with her many chic cafes and shops, modern architecture, and a fashion week that’s is both stylish and out of this world. Cape Town Chic is growing and this brand, although solidly American; crafts itself with the sophisticated and sexy side of South Africa.
Kiff is based in America and is the brainchild of Mandy McKenzie, a working mom who turned in her cubicle keys and laptop, and found creative bliss in creating the newest and hottest comfort food on the planet. A perfect treat for anybody, but especially good nibbles for romantic couples or even a bridal shower gift.
We sat down with Mandy and had a chat.
- What is the inspiration for Kiff?
My parents and South African roots have been my inspiration.
My father has always had his own business. His ambition, fearlessness of the unknown, passion for building something from nothing, and entrepreneurial spirit has definitely rubbed-off on me.
I have also inherited my mom’s zest for life, and passion for music and baking. The South African recipes I use have been handed down for generations, in now old, faded books, scraps of paper, letters, e-mails, and texts. Anyone who has tasted my home bakes has said: “You should sell these.” So in January 2015, I decided to do just that and created Kiff (ww.kifffood.com).
- What makes South African sweets different than other cultures, such as German or Italian pastries?
To be fair, I don’t actually know. All I know is that living away from South Africa for so many years, I’ve always craved the homemade sweets I grew up eating. For me, music, smells and tastes conjure up vivid memories of my happy childhood. I love being able to pass down knowledge, smells and tastes of South African sweets to my children.
- What has been the response from the market?
The response to Kiff has been absolutely incredible! I’ve done a number of house parties, farmers’ markets, local community events, and am now in a growing number of select retails stores. The positive feedback has been overwhelming and the number of repeat customers is growing. For me, the market’s response is extremely exciting and motivating.
- What is your best seller and why?
The best sellers are the Kiff Crunchies, Granola and Rusks. Kiff Crunchies are similar to Granola Bars and are perfect on-the-go nutritious snacks. Rusks are similar to Biscotti – a delicious dunking accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. Kiff Granola is packed with nuts and seeds and is made using olive oil and honey, so it’s nothing like any Granola you’ve ever tasted before. I believe these products are best sellers because they are functional; healthy; unique; visually, they look delicious; and stores love to stock them because of their long shelf life.
- How do you find managing a family and a business at the same time?
To be honest, it’s really difficult. A start-up requires lots of thinking and lots of doing. Also, having had no direct experience in this industry, the learning curve is steep. Balancing my role as a wife and a mom to three young children and being an entrepreneur is not easy. I am very lucky to have the love and support of my husband, children, family and friends. I know I don’t have the balance right, but I try to work on it every day and just do the best I can.
- How have you and your family adapted to life in the US?
We absolutely love it here and wish we had come sooner. America truly is a great country and the land of opportunity.
- What’s next for Kiff?
It’s hard to tell. I’m taking it day by day, week by week; focusing my efforts on creating awesome products for my customers. I aim to go big!
To Learn More about Kiff, please check out these links:
Duck Soup Article: http://quackquackquack.com/kiff-food/
Harvard General Store: http://www.harvardgeneralstore.com/
(NOTE: Kiff is advertised as a vendor at the bottom of the page.)
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: We’re proud and thankful for the contribution of Kiff for our Lover’s Gift Basket for The Couples Project. Thanks Mandy for supplying the wonderful treats and beautiful backpacking for the various couples. Molto Grazie…