09 Feb Serving Love | Get to Know Yococo Founder Sine Ndlela
The January winner of our Instagram Heroes “1000 Grams of Likes” award in the business category, Yococo’s mission is stated plainly: “to serve love through scoops”. Sine Ndlela launched Yococo in her apartment in 2016 with the desire to create an artisanal vegan ice cream with intention – which is why their flavours are loosely based on the seven chakras and colour therapy. The same care that goes into sourcing the best local ingredients permeates everything they do, right down to the fun and eco-friendly packaging. We caught up with Ndlela to learn more about Yococo’s growth over the years and successfully using IG to build a community.
You founded Yococo from your apartment in 2016. What inspired you back then to create a vegan artisanal ice cream?
I did! I absolutely love ice cream and when I wanted to remove dairy from my diet that was the first thing I missed. To me ice cream is takes me back to when I was being raised by my grandmother and my mom was away at school, she would bring ice cream for me after long periods of not seeing her so it became a symbol of connection, love and hope. In the same breath this change in diet came when I was feeling out of my depth and having a quarter life crisis, I wanted to do something fulfilling that would be good for people and the planet, something purposeful. I know I’m here to serve love and ice cream became my vehicle to do that, and so Yococo was born.
Tell us how the brand has grown since and what the journey has been like for you.
The brand is no longer in my apartment! We supply a range of shops both in Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal, and we are making our way into Cape Town. The team has changed and grown. I truly believe in “team work makes the dream work” and I’ve witnessed the team change as different stages came. The journey has been a mixture of feelings but I have grown personally and it has been fun and challenging in the best way.
From the brand’s philosophy of “serving love in scoops” to flavours based on colour therapy, this isn’t just a delicious treat. What does Yococo represent?
Yococo is an ice cream with soul, it’s a brand that represents love for self, love others and love for planet. It’s a reminder that we are all connected and the way we treat ourselves affects everything. So it’s about community and following our bliss all at the same time! Most importantly it’s about fun and allowing ourselves to just be!
What does winning the “1000 Grams of Likes” award in the business category mean to you?
Firstly I’m a fan of Between 10and5 and it came as a fun surprise to me! It’s really validating that people are feeling the love and really engaging with us. It means the world to me when Yococo makes a difference in someone’s day, so this is really amazing and I feel so grateful!
Yococo’s Instagram is fun, fresh and engaging. How do you use the platform to grow your brand and build a community?
Thank you! Instagram is where we first launched and I knew it’s where our customers were going to experience Yococo first before eating it! I’m a really visual person so that helps a lot. I love that there are so many features to let the customer in and we try to tell a story and be authentic to the message we are wanting to share, which simply is “you deserve all of this love and we can be better guests to the planet.”
Do you have any tips for local businesses just starting out – both in terms of their product or offering, and how they go about marketing this?
I would say make your intention clear to yourself. What it is you are wanting to do and why? Secondly, learn as much as you can about your customer and base everything you do on serving them better and know what your message is. I think that will guide you and it will unfold itself as well. There are some things we learn about ourselves only through experience, so be patient.
What’s something 10and5 readers may not know about you as a person?
Hmm I think maybe the fact that I’m from a rural village?
What can we expect from Yococo in 2021? Any projects or collaborations to keep an eye out for?
I’m personally excited to see Yococo’s growth this year! We have a series of cool collaborations lined up with local brands including DEAD. Dipalesa Flowas, Corium Skincare and Doodlekids.
Follow @the_yococo on IG.