Cheryl Hunter (shelflife at’s weekly pick of all things new — product, packaging, design, insight, food, décor and more!

  • O’ My Goodness it’s vegan
  • Viva Gym expands
  • Thomas Pink opens in Sandton City

Goodness on the Shelf

In response to the growing awareness of unhealthy ingredients in packaged products and a dearth of tasty alternatives on retail shelves, Plettenberg Bay friends Kim van Rensburg and Ariella Kaplan launched the O’ My Goodness range of raw vegan snacks and have taken the brand across South Africa in only two years.

O' My Goodness foundersVan Rensburg, an interior designer, and Kaplan, a website developer, were inspired to fill the gap they had identified in the market. The result? Sweet treats (oat, carob oat, apricot, peachy and coco citrus rounds) and dehydrated creations (mushroom biltong, fiery mushrooms, spiced cashews, sweet potato flax crackers and cinnamon & apple munch) have been packaged to create a range of healthy, great-tasting products.

So what does it take to go from making delicious food at home to launching a brand nationally? Kaplan answers: “There was so much to figure out in the beginning; the learning curve was absurdly steep. Recipes had to be standardised, ingredients had to be sourced in bulk, staff had to be trained, and we have spent more hours over the costing formulas than you can imagine. We had endless discussions over packaging, and many late nights were spent on designing the logo and the overall look of the range.”

In the beginning they handled everything in-house, but finally decided the packaging needed an overhaul, so the products could stand on their own. Paisley Dog translated their ideas into their current format.

O' My Goodness snacks 01The response from new stockists has also been amazing, according to Kaplan: “We started off two years ago, but now the hard work is paying off and we’ve been approached by well-known brands to manufacture under our label.”

They currently sell to health shops, delis and high-end food stores such as Thrupps in Johannesbrug and select SPARS nationally, as well as an online shop where they sell direct to the public: “We’ve also made some inroads into the hospitality industry, and we’re supplying a very exclusive game lodge with our snacks for [its] game drives and mini bar.”


Viva no contract

Spanish-born brand, Viva Gym, has opened two additional gym locations this year and launched a new brand campaign, turning the traditional notion of gym membership on its head with an affordable product in order to create accessibility not previously seen in SA.

Viva Gym South Africa ReThink GymMD of Viva Gym South Africa, Chase Emson, says by offering users free wifi, very low membership costs, world-class facilities and a transparent fee structure, the brand is changing the perception of quality gyms: “The Viva Gym business model has worked in a number of international markets because it delivers true value for money for gym users. The concept essentially cuts out many of the expensive extras, and passes those savings on to the members. This value for money has very broad appeal to existing gym users, but also to customers who has never been a member of a gym before.

“We are so committed to our product and service quality that we do not obligate our members to take out long-term contracts when they join. The fact that our customers can leave at any time means we have to stay at the top of our game when it comes to service delivery.”

In keeping with the brand’s USPs and use of double entendres, the The ReThink slogan was created by Brandnew Creative in Seapoint and it launched a rolling campaign, “Have a casual relationship with…”

Viva Gyms may be found at: Rosebank, Fourways, Montana, Hillfox (all Gauteng-based) and Walmer in Port Elizabeth. Viva Gym Oakdene, Joburg, will open its doors on 11 December 2015.


Shirts for Sandton

The Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy-owned luxury British shirt-maker, Thomas Pink, has launched its third SA store, this time in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City.

Thomas Pink Nelson Mandela Square 02Mickey Walker, managing executive for the South Africa Thomas Pink franchise, says SA is an important territory for Thomas Pink: “The two existing Thomas Pink stores in South Africa at Hyde Park Corner and OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg consistently rank in the top 10 Thomas Pink franchise stores worldwide, and we expect the Sandton City store to perform equally well.”

The portfolio currently includes flagship stores in London’s Jermyn Street; Madison Avenue, New York; and Rue Francois Premier, Paris. There are more than 100 Thomas Pink stores around the world, including in the US, France, Mexico, Dubai, Hong Kong, Australia, China and Canada.




Cheryl Hunter

Shelf Life is’s weekly column covering all things new. Notify us of yours at shelflife at marklives dot com. Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Cheryl Hunter (@cherylhunter) has written for the South African media, marketing and advertising industries for more than 15 years. A former editor of M&M in Independent Newspapers and contributor to Bizcommunity, AdFocus, AdReview and the Ad Annual, she has also produced for various television networks and currently consults on communication strategy and media liaison.


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