Multitasking moms

Multitasking moms

With more than 11 years’ experience creating delicious, homemade frozen meals – and a lifetime of cooking family dinners and entertaining at home – We Are Food owners, sisters Jane and Amy, and their lovely mom Didee know a thing or two about serving up wholesome, tasty food.

We Are Food at The Market at Ballito Lifestyle Centre is a firm favourite amongst both locals and holidaymakers looking for convenient, but still tasty, real meals. Their wide range is now also available in over 50 stockists countrywide as well as online. Despite their incredible growth and success, We Are Food remains a humble, family-owned enterprise that prioritises sourcing excellent quality ingredients and preparing and packaging every meal with care.

The magic, it seems, lies in the wonderful relationship that exists between Jane and Amy, who do almost everything together. Not only are they sisters and business partners, they are also best friends and neighbours! The result is an unspoken, almost palpable synergy that exists between the two of them. With two young children each, Jane and Amy’s lives are busy, chaotic and intimately entwined – and they wouldn’t have it any other way. “We carpool every single day. After dropping three kids off at school, we spend 20 minutes driving to work, either having an impromptu ‘board meeting’ or catching up on life,” says Amy.

Jane (a graduate from the Christina Martin Culinary Arts Centre) could never have known, when she started cooking and freezing meals for a few ‘mom friends’ in 2013, that her small business would result in her and Amy building a large, multi-faceted company together one day.
Starting out with just a handful of customers (and the help and guidance of her mom, Didee), Jane initially ran the business from her parent’s garage. Within six months she already needed 12 chest freezers and was soon renting out a factory space in Durban North.

Amy, who had been living in Australia, joined as a fifty-percent partner in the business when she returned to South Africa. And then things really started to take off. “We ramped up our online offering, opened two stores and secured stockists around the country to sell our products.”

Eleven years later, We Are Food continues to grow. They have gone global, with their products now stocked in 50 stores in Dubai, as well. “We are thrilled to be exporting frozen meals. We also do  contract manufacturing for other brands and recently signed an exciting deal to manufacture a range for Checkers. There is a lot happening!”

Both dedicated to the business, Amy and Jane try their best to maintain a balance between work and family life. Jane’s children are five-years-old and two-years-old, and Amy has a two-year-old and a one-year-old (in fact, their two-year-olds were born just three weeks apart!). It truly does ‘take a village’ to make it all work. “Our mom helps out a lot and both our husbands are very hands-on,” says Jane. “Working alongside our mom is wonderful. She is still very much involved in the business in an advisory role and acts as a mediator for us. We have weekly ‘management meetings’ where we connect and talk things through, first about our personal lives and then about work,” says Amy, “and our mom always prays for us.”

Opening their first retail store at The Market in 2017 was a defining moment for Jane and Amy, who still love their space in the wonderful hub. “It was the best move for us and a wonderful learning experience. The Lifestyle Centre team held our hands through the entire process. It has become increasingly important to have a physical presence in this digital world we live in, and opening our store at The Market played a fundamental role in us transitioning from online towards physical space – for the long run. We love our Ballito Lifestyle Centre customers, both the locals and holidaymakers, many of whom have become loyal regulars!”