Zepto: a detergent that delivers

When lockdown hit, Mfundo Xiniwe and his business partner started toying around with ideas of ‘disaster-proof’ businesses. Xiniwe says, “After coming up with a few ideas, household products made sense. That is how Zepto was born.”

Zepto products’ is a manufacturer of household cleaning products. Currently, there is only dishwashing liquid in the range, but there are plans to expand the product offering in the third quarter of 2023. Xiniwe adds that they are currently testing new products to add to the range.

He is inspired by his desire to create something that would outlive him, which has also been the plan. He is motivated by being the best person he can be. He explains that business is about creating a company that offers good quality products that benefit households.

When asked about the name, Xiniwe explains that they played around with a lot of names. The goal was to find one that is easy to read and pronounce and also said something about the products. The result was ‘Zepto,’ a metric prefix that precedes a basic unit of measure.

Their growing customer base is a result of their good quality products. “It takes a lot of effort to get a customer to try a new product. We had to ensure that we offer customers good quality products. So we have been able to produce a product of consistency from the first dishwashing liquid we sold until today, because of this consistent quality our customers can trust that it works for them,” he says.

Their marketing plan is simple, they capitalise on engagements. “We have been able to do a lot of engagements with both customers and retailers. In the areas we are selling we try to ensure that we achieve maximum visibility and also have good visibility at the shops we sell. We have on a couple of occasions, especially in new areas given away samples to households around the shops where we sell.”

Business challenges and fear

Xiniwe says that he has overcome several fears over the years. He adds. “Fear of failure according to the standards that I had set myself and societal standards. It was something I struggled with especially when things were not going well or as planned. I had to figure out that you can never determine the outcome what you can determine though is how much effort you put in. So I started not taking failure personally but as a lesson or reminder that I’m human.”

To counteract the fear, Xiniwe works hard. For him there is no formula to success, However, there are traits that help. He mentions discipline, a high threshold for rejection, and a willingness to be broke to ensure your business grows (don’t look or live lavishly while your business is broke). For him ability to learn, adapt and do more than everyone else are just some of the traits that can assist in one’s journey to success.

Like most entrepreneurs, the adrenaline rush one gets when an idea becomes reality as well as the small wins are what keep him going. He adds, “we have achieved in this current business; the first time I held a Zepto dishwashing liquid bottle in my hands, the first time a tuck shop agreed to sell it, the first time I realised people I didn’t know were buying and using it.”

Fortunately, Xiniwe believes in hard work, achieving the best that you can with what you have, and always remembering it’s all about the customer. When asked about the culture within the business he explains as a growing business, it is important to never sacrifice quality for profits. “so our focus is on working hard and being able to provide customers with the best products at reasonable prices,” he explains.

Based on this, success for him is doing something even though he thought he could not do.

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