I don’t deal exclusively with small brands. Wherever I could get information out of big retail, I share it. Generally I focus on the producer rather than the middle-man. One of the reasons why I like and focus on small brands is when you contact them, chances are that you are speaking to the owner, rather than a ‘customer services consultant’. Speaking to the owner means you can ask questions and you will get quick answers that aren’t simply glib PR-speak. Most small brands are owned by people who are passionate about what they do – and passionate about producing things from scratch in South Africa, using local flavour(s), materials and labour. Sure, they probably only employ a handful of people in their businesses, but, according to the Adcorp Employment index, 68% of South Africans are employed in companies with 50 employees or less, typically with around 12 employees. It’s these small businesses, start-ups, ‘entrepreneurs’ and companies handed down in the family that create 2/3 of the existing employment in South Africa. If the labour economist Loane Sharp is to be believed ‘small businesses offer the only real prospect of large-scale job creation in South Africa.’ Times have been tough for small businesses, so they can do with any boost they can get.