Born and bread in Durban – GOOD: Bread & Stuff goes against the grain to deliver a smile!
Rooted in their belief to bake good quality bread and the power of a united community, they break bread and serve smiles everywhere they go.
In this article, we hear how Ryan (founder of GOOD: Bread & Stuff in Berea) started in the midst of what looked like a hopeless time and how he's risen from concept to company since.
Let’s dig in!
Tell us about the story of GOOD: Bread & Stuff
I am Ryan Van Rooyen and my business is GOOD: Bread & Stuff. We are a sour dough-based bakery in Durban.
The thinking behind the name GOOD: Bread & Stuff is what we wanted to do. To bake good bread.
But we also didn't want to be tied down to just bread alone. That's why we added "and Stuff," which now stands for our other products like granola and pickled onions.
The symbolism behind our logo being a smiley face is that it captures the emotion of bread. It's a staple, and you never give someone a loaf of bread and get a bleak response. Everybody smiles when they get given a loaf of bread, and when you couple that with a friendly smile on the packaging, it brightens people's day.
What inspired you to start GOOD: Bread & Stuff in Durban?
Before the pandemic I had an entertainment business that ground to a halt in March. In that time, I wasn’t doing much. So I decided to start baking bread. I bought 25kg’s of flour and decided to work on getting my sourdough really good.
My whole life philosophy tied up to bread in a way – it’s the simplicity of it. It’s a staple product made from very minimal ingredients – flour, water, salt, and out of that, you get something transformative.
What challenges did you face in starting and how did you overcome them?
Cracking the method to sourdough was a major struggle. That followed by other regular challenges of starting any business – getting equipment, figuring out a schedule, getting customers.
“Believing in my product and working really hard - that’s it. If your product is good and you put in the work, people will love it!”
What do you enjoy the most about being an entrepreneur?
I get to do what I want to do without having to justify it to anyone or run it past anyone. I just get to decide my own path. I enjoy the early mornings by myself listening to music, and working with dough alone in the bakery. That’s my jam.
What impact does GOOD: Bread & Stuff have on employees and the community at large?
Two of my employees weren’t employed for two years before working with GOOD: Bread & Stuff. So, my business has now created jobs for them.
The community here is mainly a Muslim community, and there aren’t many artisanal bread-makers in Durban that follow the Halaal protocol. We offer a service unique to them.
We also bake for an orphanage once a week. It’s a foster home in Inanda and we bake 15 loaves for them a week, so that they can have bread.
What does Together We Rise mean to you?
To me, it means small business owners coming together to help each other out, and there’s quite a nice baking community to take inspiration from here in KwaZulu-Natal.
Just the other day, I was having a problem with some of my bread and I reached out to some of my connections in the baking industry to find out what is happening with the bread. All of them were so quick to get back to me with advice.
One of your previous merchants of the month, The Firehouse, was our plug for our flour supplier – Champagne Valley. We had heard about them using excellent quality stone ground-flour, and we went down to Graham and had a chat. He gave me all the details for Champagne Valley. They’ve also helped us by featuring some of our products on their menus before.
We’ve worked with a lot of places and people have been very quick to recommend us to other people which has been beneficial. Without people like Home Baked, Skyline Coffee, and Bond Shed – we wouldn’t be where we are.
“I’ve always believed no man is an island. It’s important to find people with similar goals and passions and means of operating to you. With those people, you are unstoppable.”
What are things you learnt along the way that help you today?
As a person who’s tried several small business ventures, I feel like GOOD: Bread & Stuff is the culmination of pretty much everything I have done and learnt along the way.
Roots Up, my event business, taught me how to run social media and introduced me to many of the venue owners that I now work with. Dealing with musicians, artist managers, and festival bookers helped me with interpersonal relationships and networking.
I studied a science degree that taught me a lot about managing the microbial colonies, which helped me crack the method to making sourdough – it is very different from normal bread.
“Everything brought me to this one place and that’s where I am now.”
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
If you want to start a business, you have to have confidence in your offering and believe in your product enough to stay motivated and resilient. There will be good days and bad days – you need to be able to ride those waves and crests.
Everybody is going to be very quick to give you advice. But it’s not always a great idea to take it, and it’s not always good to not to take it. Learn to discern advice to heed and advice to pass on.
Lastly, work hard. People will tell you that starting a business is the hardest thing that they’ve done, and it is. It’s unforgiving and relentless but very rewarding at the end of the day.
What card machine do you use?
The iKhokha Mover Pro.
What do you enjoy the most about iKhokha?
I enjoy that the app functions not just as a card machine but more of a universal POS.
I can add my different products on there and give it to my staff member without worrying about whether or not they know how to do the maths. They just add in the items and run it through. It accounts for cash as well, so I have a complete record of what I’ve made at the end of the day.
Get it freshly baked at GOOD: Bread & Stuff
Well, there you have it, folks! Another business owner who made it happen regardless of the circumstance. Thanks for sharing, GOOD: Bread & Stuff! If you’re around Durban and are eager to sink your teeth into something freshly baked and warm – now you know the perfect spot to find it.
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GOOD: Bread & Stuff is one of many awesome stories we get to be a part of and share in the iK Tribe. Want to be our next feature? DM us on our social platforms and let’s rise, together.