Today I shall be profiling a 23-year old by the name of Kudzai Masoka. I first knew about him through a post by Hopewell Chin’ono. Politics-aside, Mr Chin’ono is doing a great job of putting promising young entrepreneurs into the spotlight. I really believe that is something prominent Zimbabwean personalities must emulate. They must use their influence to direct attention towards enterprising and budding young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs. Kudzai Masoka is the young man behind Soki’s Sochis Sausages brand.
Who Is Kudzai Masoka?
Born Kudzai Rodney Masoka, he was raised in Kambuzuma Section 4. He remarks on how he, for the greater part of his life, has been staying with his grandmother. He attributes his love for exploring kitchen recipes to his cousin sister and paternal grandmother. They have always played a huge role in instilling his love for preparing food.
He started exploring sausage-making in 2018 at a time when he really did not know much about the trade. He could only manage 10 kilograms at the time given the limited capital he had. He remembers how he started just buying recommended ingredients without necessarily looking into their role and contribution in sausage making. For him the crux was just to sell and continuous improvement of the sausages was not something that was a priority for him.
In case you wondering, Soki’s Sochis found its root from his surname, Masoka. It is a common nickname that he got wherever he went to school i.e. Soks. Whereas Sochis is a colloquial Shona term referring to sausages.
A Bitter Learning Experience
Later on, he took a bold step and purchased a full beast, deboned it and did his usual recipes. Bear in mind that he did all this without any objective calculations at all. He says he got spices that were disproportionate to the ingredients. To make matters worse, some of his spices got stolen at the time. He had successfully secured supply contracts with 2 butcheries. He went on to do a whopping 140 kilograms of sausages; a huge leap from the paltry 10 kilograms he had started with.
He supplied 60 kilograms and kept the remainder at home. About 2 days later he received a call from one of the butcheries citing that the sausages were already discolouring and turning bad. He tried laying the blame on the butchery for poor cold storage but it was bitterly evident he had made some costly production mistakes. Thus he took back his sausages and was left with no option but to call it quits.
The Indispensable Place Of Research
A year later he went to university and against that bitter experience, he resolved to start doing research and coming up with well-calculated formulations. After the end of the first semester, he started musing about starting the business again. He was still hesitant because of that tragic experience but in November 2020 he decided to get in the business again.
Another Shot At It Again
He started testing the water again with a production of just 20 kilograms. This time he was more cautious about making objective calculations and also building a strategic network. Networking is important! He was now also constantly in touch with established sausage makers to draw valuable insights. Given some of the observations, he made he resolved to also ensure that he would prioritize quality over profit. In his own words, “I told myself that in every production carried out I should get the first bite thus creating what I can also enjoy eating, after that my grandmother gets the second bite of approval.”
His Overall Soki’s Sochis Sausages Goal
His goal and dream are quite simple and straightforward – a better and cheaper product for the ghetto. He points out that he wants to ensure they get cheaper sausages yet at par or beyond the quality of established brands such as Colcom. Again, he emphasises that he does not want greed and compromise in quality to get in the way of producing a high-quality product.
Some Of The Challenges Faced
He says that some of the challenges they are facing related to market penetration, and trying to strike a balance amongst pursuing his degree, running production, sales, and making deliveries.
Current Position And Intended Direction
Currently, they are now averaging 64 kilograms worth of sausage sales per week. There has been a steady growth and he is pleased that they have been keeping up with the demand. They do Harare CBD deliveries and home deliveries come at a fee. They have not yet started approaching big outlets like supermarkets for supply contracts. He says that he feels they have not yet reached a milestone to get registered so they are still working on brand reputation first. He says they have set a target to get registered as soon as their production line reaches 500 kilograms per week.
Areas Where They Would Want Assistance
He highlighted that they need assistance in business management and marketing strategies. This stems from the fact that he and his co-partner are pursuing academic studies in Arts and Mining respectively. So he feels that they do not have enough knowledge regarding those areas. He also mentioned that they would need guidance in assistance in getting registered. Some individuals have already promised to assist him in all those regards. However, it does not mean anyone willing to assist is no longer needed.
I do not doubt that Kudzai Masoka and his sausage brand are headed for the apex. He clearly has a sound mind for entrepreneurship and has his priorities rightly placed. These are perfect examples to learn from and I wish him nothing but the absolute best. You can contact the business on their Facebook page. Their Instagram handle is @Sokis28 and Twitter is @SSochis. You can also WhatsApp on +263 778 200 062 or call on +263 719 102 036.