When Riversands entrepreneur Shaun Girdhari from Tweak Life first took premises on the campus in October 2019, little did he realise that he was about to experience one of the roughest years of his business life! Of course he wasn’t alone in this, since the Covid pandemic took the vast majority of the world by surprise.
However, no sooner had restrictions on alcohol sales lifted than he was back in his unit, ensuring that he produced enough flavoured tonic water to keep his bottle store clients supplied.
“I started researching the market for various flavours of tonic water before it became the rage amongst gin drinkers but by the time I was ready, so were other players! Despite this, I’ve managed to develop my range and gain traction with my current target audience, which is bottle stores,” explained Girdhari.
In addition to its working owner, Tweak Life has a team of three – two who take care of production and one sales person. Bottles are still filled manually during this phase of the business and there are plans to expand the rate of production in the next.
“So far we’re selling faster than we initially projected. Looking ahead to the third phase of the business, we intend expanding our production to cater for volume business, producing sufficient to take orders from large retail outlets. Our tonic is available in five flavours: Indian; Blueberry; Apple/ Elderflower; Strawberry/Pomegranate and Soda Water. The unusual combinations have proved to be a winner,” he said.
The label on each Tweak Life bottle of flavoured tonic states that it’s a social enterprise and when questioned about this, Girdhari explains that for him and his business partner Sanjeev Budhram, it’s important to help promising youngsters achieve their dreams. “Things need to get done and we focus on paying school fees for people within our sphere of influence. We also have a policy of employing youth to give them a break in their lives.”
Being at Riversands Incubation Hub have allowed this BSc and MBA graduate to set up a production facility which meets health and safety requirements, something this entrepreneur values.