From a Dream to Reality – Maggie’s Story

As a small child, Maggie Steyn enjoyed spending time helping her mother in the kitchen with baking and cooking, but with the dream that one day, she would create a range of rusks with her own branding. As the years went by she gained experience of the restaurant trade, from assisting her father after school hours in his busy restaurant located in Goodwood, Cape Town.

On finishing her schooling, Maggie started on the journey to fulfilling her dream. She gained business administration knowledge in the highly competitive retail trade and management experience as a branch manager with the Foschini Group of stores, as well as with the International corporations of Old Mutual and Sanlam.

However, Maggie never forgot her childhood ambition of wanting to bake rusks professionally. She married her farmer husband Stephen and became part of the rural life on their farm, Soutfontein, located between Malmesbury and Moorreesburg in the Swartland, of the Western Cape in South Africa. She reared four children, Steven, Emma, Lara, Jana, and started on making her rusk-baking dream a reality!

With an initial capital of only R262, she bought her first lot of flour, and began baking rusks in a tiny oven, with only two baking trays. Her first real commercial venture was as a stallholder at a local Wine Festival, selling jams, cookies, and rusks from a plastic table. However, among the customers who bought rusks from Maggie, were the managers of local branches of major grocery outlets.

This opportunity helped motivate Maggie’s dream to success, because they asked her if she would bake rusks for their stores!

From a humble beginning, Maggie has grown into a thriving business success story. Taking up the challenge to produce her rusks for resale, the first building she used for her baking was the 17th century original farmhouse that soon became too small to cater for her business. Her present, efficient, modern hygienic factory built on the farm, is now equipped with two commercial ovens, with a third about to be purchased.

Maggie is realizing her dream as she watches the demand grow for her home-farm rusks. Maggie was chosen to enter a business incubator program, conducted by a major retailer; designed to encourage selected small businesses to achieve their full potential.

It is Maggie’s dream and ongoing ambition to achieve her future goals of satisfying and creating greater consumer demand for her “Maggie se Spens” rusks, nationally and internationally. In turn, her satisfaction will be in providing employment for many people, who today do not have jobs and struggle to survive. Maggie is living her dream, which demonstrates to all potential entrepreneurs’, that anything you can visualise, is possible!

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