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Let’s Do A Deal Over Coffee

Karate was too risky so Brent Kairuz chose to stir coffee.

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“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.”: a saying by Thomas Edison that could be applied to Brent Kairuz.

At the age of 19, he stopped being a karate instructor to open his first food outlet, Shawarma King. That was the beginning of a journey that would eventually see the 36-year-old own 28 coffee shops in partnership with South African food giant Famous Brands.

Kairuz arrived 30 minutes early at our office. Before we started, he firmly told me his intentions for agreeing to the interview.

“I’m very honored and grateful for this interview but I just want to be clear on how you want to angle it. If you want to angle it on the fact that there’s entrepreneurship, building a business outfit and how to do it then I’m more than welcome to give you the interview,” says Kairuz.

 

Growing up in the south of Johannesburg, Kairuz has always had a passion for entrepreneurship, venturing into two businesses while in Glenvista High School. In standard 9 (grade 11), Kairuz coached karate and by the time he turned 18, he had 180 students at four different schools, generating a good income at the time.

“With some of the money I made from being a karate instructor, I bought equipment for my mobile disco company. I was a DJ at weddings, 21sts and different gigs while still being a karate instructor,” he says.

As good as he was in karate, he realized the risks of injury and how it could hamper him as a breadwinner.

So Kairuz went to varsity, after a year he dropped out to open Shawarma King, in the south of Johannesburg.

“I approached one of the student’s fathers who had a successful business for advice on possible ventures I could go into. He ended up giving me a loan of R30,000 ($1,800) and I used it to open up Shawarma King in 1998,” says Kairuz.

With hunger for success, Kairuz grew his Shawarma King business and by the time he was 20, he had five shops.

Three shops were in university canteens at Midrand University, Milpark Business School and Damelin Braamfontein, in Johannesburg.

“I called the shops Shawarma King but I had a fully-fledged menu. I had steak rolls, shawarmas, chips, burgers, you name it. I had a wont to be Steers,” chuckles Kairuz.

The downside of running the shops in varsity was that it wasn’t a year-round business because of holidays and exams and Kairuz wanted more.

A telephone conversation with a man who ran hospital coffee shops would allow him this opportunity. The man told Kairuz that he was getting out of the business because it wasn’t paying and Kairuz said he wanted in.

“I put the phone down, did my research on all the sites that his particular company was in and phoned the relevant hospitals, told them I have a coffee shop business that I’d like to see them about,” says Kairuz.

Kairuz didn’t own a coffee shop. One of the hospitals listened and gave him a chance. By the time he was 22, Kairuz got his first break.

“My first coffee shop looked like a franchise, felt like a franchise, had menus that gave variety and quality products like a franchise but we were not a franchise business,” says Kairuz.

In 2006, Kairuz formed a partnership with Royal Sechaba Holdings to merge all the Royal Sechaba coffee shops into Kairuz Café, under Kairuz Holdings. With this partnership, Kairuz grew from three coffee shops, to owning 49% equity in 10 hospital coffee shops, by 2008.

At this point, Kairuz wanted to franchise off the Kairuz Café but Royal Sechaba Holdings wasn’t keen, so, he bought their 51% equity and franchised out their stores.

“I retained two of the coffee shops and franchised the balance,” he says.

Kairuz was still interested in growing his business and looking for options to do so. He got a call informing him about a brand that was going into liquidation. When he called to inquire, he heard that the brand was going to be auctioned off in a closed auction within the hour.

He got into his car and quickly rushed to the auction venue where he ended up bidding against industry giants Famous Brands.

“After tying twice in the bidding, I said to them, ‘Do we need to carry on driving the price up? Can we not do a joint venture together like you’ve done with other Famous Brands businesses?’ and they declined,” says Kairuz.

In the third bid, Famous Brands ended up beating him by R1,000 (around $60) but they were impressed with how he took initiative to negotiate during the bidding process. This paved way for a new partnership as he got talking with the group CEO, whom he knew prior the bidding, and in May 2011, he formed a partnership with Famous Brands.

Kairuz Holdings and Famous Brands launched Creative Coffees and they set up coffee shops in three different hospital groups. For Life Healthcare they set up House of Coffees, for Mediclinic they set up Coffee Couture and for Netcare they created NetCafé.

“We had 28 coffee shops in various hospitals across South Africa under Creative Coffee all in captive business,” says Kairuz.

In March this year, Kairuz moved on, selling his 39% equity in Creative Coffee to Famous Brands.

When I suggested that he probably made a fortune in the buyout, he was very modest in his reply.

“Everyone always perceives the buyout to be bigger than what it is. It was a fair buyout, but it was good enough for me to reposition myself, start again and move on,” says Kairuz.

At present, Kairuz is weighing out his options for future endeavours and is creating a Juicy Lucy Smoothie from his Juicy Lucy brand.

“I’m currently doing a lot of consulting work for the likes of Famous Brands and looking at other business ventures for the future,” he says.

Kairuz is living proof that dedication and hard work pay off because, at the end of the day, that’s virtually all he had.

Entrepreneurs

From The Arab World To Africa

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Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi; image supplied

In this exclusive interview with FORBES AFRICA, successful Dubai-based Emirati businesswoman, author and artist, Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi, shares some interesting insights on fashion, the future, and feminism in a shared world.

Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi wears many hats, as an artist, architect, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She currently serves as the CEO of Paris London New York Events & Publishing (PLNY), that includes a magazine and a fashion house.

She runs Velvet Magazine, a luxury lifestyle publication in the Gulf founded in 2010 that showcases the diversity of the region home to several nationalities from around the world.

In this recent FORBES AFRICA interview, Hend, as she would want us to call her, speaks about the future of publishing, investing in intelligent content, and learning to be a part of the disruption around you.

As an entrepreneur too and the designer behind House of Hend, a luxury ready-to-wear line that showcases exquisite abayas, evening gowns and contemporary wear, her designs have been showcased in fashion shows across the world.

The Middle East is known for retail, but not typically, as a fashion hub in the same league as Paris, New York or Milan. Yet, she has changed the narrative of fashion in the region. “I have approached the world of fashion with what the customer wants,” says Hend. In this interview, she also extols African fashion talent and dwells on her own sartorial plans for the African continent.

In September, in Downtown Dubai, she is scheduled to open The Flower Café. Also an artist using creative expression meaningfully, she says it’s important to be “a role model of realism”.

She is also the author of The Black Book of Arabia, described as a collection of true stories from the Arab community offering a real glimpse into the lives of men and women across the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

In this interview, she also expounds on her home, Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE and the region’s educational hub. “A number of successful entrepreneurs have started in this culturally-rich emirate that’s home to 30 museums,” she concludes. 

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Kim Kardashian West Is Worth $900 Million After Agreeing To Sell A Stake In Her Cosmetics Firm To Coty

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In what will be the second major Kardashian cashout in a year, Kim Kardashian West is selling a 20% stake in her cosmetics company KKW Beauty to beauty giant Coty COTY for $200 million. The deal—announced today—values KKW Beauty at $1 billion, making Kardashian West worth about $900 million, according to Forbes’estimates.

The acquisition, which is set to close in early 2021, will leave Kardashian West the majority owner of KKW Beauty, with an estimated 72% stake in the company, which is known for its color cosmetics like contouring creams and highlighters. Forbes estimates that her mother, Kris Jenner, owns 8% of the business. (Neither Kardashian West nor Kris Jenner have responded to a request for comment about their stakes.) According to Coty, she’ll remain responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics.

Earlier this year, Kardashian West’s half-sister, Kylie Jenner, also inked a big deal with Coty, when she sold it 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The deal left Jenner with a net worth of just under $900 million. Both Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty are among a number of brands, including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Huda Beauty and Glossier, that have received sky-high valuations thanks to their social-media-friendly marketing. 

“Kim is a true modern-day global icon,” said Coty chairman and CEO Peter Harf in a statement. “This influence, combined with Coty’s leadership and deep expertise in prestige beauty will allow us to achieve the full potential of her brands.”

The deal comes just days after Seed Beauty, which develops, manufactures and ships both KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, won a temporary injunction against KKW Beauty, hoping to prevent it from sharing trade secrets with Coty, which also owns brands like CoverGirl, Sally Hansen and Rimmel. On June 19, Seed filed a lawsuit against KKW Beauty seeking protection of its trade secrets ahead of an expected deal between Coty and KKW Beauty. The temporary order, granted on June 26, lasts until August 21 and forbids KKW Beauty from disclosing details related to the Seed-KKW relationship, including “the terms of those agreements, information about license use, marketing obligations, product launch and distribution, revenue sharing, intellectual property ownership, specifications, ingredients, formulas, plans and other information about Seed products.”

Coty has struggled in recent years, with Wall Street insisting it routinely overpays for acquisitions and has failed to keep up with contemporary beauty trends. The coronavirus pandemic has also hit the 116-year-old company hard. Since the beginning of the year, Coty’s stock price has fallen nearly 60%. The company, which had $8.6 billion in revenues in the year through June 2019, now sports a $3.3 billion market capitalization. By striking deals with companies like KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, Coty is hoping to refresh its image and appeal to younger consumers.

Kardashian West founded KKW Beauty in 2017, after successfully collaborating with Kylie Cosmetics on a set of lip kits. Like her half-sister, Kardashian West first launched online only, but later moved into Ulta stores in October 2019, helping her generate estimated revenues of $100 million last year. KKW Beauty is one of several business ventures for Kardashian West: She continues to appear on her family’s reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, sells her own line of shapewear called Skims and promotes her mobile game, Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Her husband, Kanye West, recently announced a deal to sell a line of his Yeezy apparel in Gap stores.

“This is fun for me. Now I’m coming up with Kimojis and the app and all these other ideas,” Kardashian West told Forbesof her various business ventures in 2016. “I don’t see myself stopping.”

Madeline Berg, Forbes Staff, Hollywood & Entertainment

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Entrepreneurs

Covid-19: Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Cinemas Among Businesses That Will Operate Again In South Africa As Ramaphosa Announces Eased Lockdown Restrictions

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation announcing that the government will further ease the country’s lockdown restrictions.

Restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas are among the businesses that will be allowed to operate again in South Africa.

The country is still on lockdown ‘Level 3’ of the government’s “risk adjusted strategy”.

President Ramaphosa also spoke on the gender based violence in the country.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and the girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country. The killing of women and children by the men of our country. As a man, as a husband, and as a father to daughters, I am appalled at what is no less than a war that is being waged against the women and the children of our country,” says Ramaphosa.

Watch below:

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