ShapeShifter, Evergreen Content

Adri Williams - Ubuntu personified - saved Khayelitsha Cookies and changed lives

We were indebted with R2.5 million… I went home and prayed… God gave me a verse; Leviticus 26:10… ‘You will be a blessing to others out of your overflow’…

Adri Williams, Khayelitsha Cookies

We average 82 000 cookies in a day... 1.6 million cookies in a month… If I replace all my staff we increase our output three times… That’s the sad reality of mechanisation… I was tempted…

Adri Williams, Khayelitsha Cookies

It’s a combination of passion and faith. My passion is for children. If you’ve ever held a dying child in your arms, and the reason why that child died is that she didn’t have food, it will change your outlook completely. I’ve been there numerous times…

Adri Williams, Khayelitsha Cookies

Adri Williams bought then-bankrupt Khayelitsha Cookies for R1 in 2013.

It came with a mountain of debt, and many women who Williams would train to become skilled bakers delivering quality products for companies such as Garden Court, Southern Sun Hotels, Tsogo Sun Casinos and Pick n Pay.

It hasn’t been a smooth ride.

Williams has had to max out her bond many times to pay salaries, but she kept going.

All of us share the same passion. If we mess up and we don’t carry this business, then so many people will be back on the street again, and so many people will be hungry again.

Adri Williams, Khayelitsha Cookies

Khayelitsha Cookies has become profitable, but Williams defines its success by its ability to change the lives of the women it employs.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Williams for this weekly “ShapeShifter” feature.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and scroll down for more quotes from it).

I joined in 2007. Gave up my career in a large corporate… I did well for myself at a young age… The day I walked into Khayelitsha Cookies I knew this was my passion…

Adri Williams, Khayelitsha Cookies

We streamlined processes and worked on our productivity… in the first year, we’ve started making profit… and paying back debt…

Adri Williams, Khayelitsha Cookies

We need to start focussing on exporting…

Adri Williams, Khayelitsha Cookies

Purity is one of our large customers... We also bake for Clicks… Also your Garden Courts, Southern Suns, Tsogo Suns…

Adri Williams, Khayelitsha Cookies

The unfortunate thing is, they [unions] target uneducated staff members with empty promises… The unions function on fees. They will tell staff any lie to get them to join… The strike really broke us emotionally…

Adri Williams, Khayelitsha Cookies

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