“I read and spend a lot of time on the internet, so one day I came across a marshmallow recipe by American entrepreneur Martha Stewart, which I then decided to try out. I remember everything so vividly because that night I made blue marshmallows for the first time ever which turned out pretty well.”
The Lounge met with Fluffy Mallows owner, 25 year old Ndahekelekwa Paulus who explained how the idea of making marshmallows came about. Marshmallow candy originated in ancient Egypt in the mid 1800’s which started out as a honey candy that was flavoured and thickened with Marsh Mallow plant sap.
A sugary marshmallow treat that melts in ones mouth with no doubt is on top of every sweet tooth addicts lists. And luckily for Namibia, the country now has its own first ever locally produced marshmallows.
Fluffy Mallows is a Namibian marshmallow manufacturing business born out of curiosity. Since 2013 the company has been specializing in producing handcrafted marshmallows.
Paulus continued to explain that her company grew and from starting out selling marshwallows to the schools around her, she is now making her entry into the formal retail market, albeit small.
Since starting out, she has spent many hours trying to perfect her marshmallow cooking skills by experimenting with recipes and by watching YouTube tutorials. Paulus wanted to be sure to produce marshmallows which are different from the usual ones found in stores.
“Most of the people I learn from are either based in the United Kingdom (UK) or the United States of America (USA). This pushes me to be daring enough with different mixtures of ingredients”.
She further explained that the marshmallows are made on the basis of the orders she receives which she makes in the comfort of her home.
“I make them by myself but at times I have family and friends who assist me with the packaging of the marshmallows before we send them off to buyers”.
It has however been a challenging experience for Paulus as she expressed her disappointment to the Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) on their lack of not being able to assist her with her with the implementation of her product.
“The Marshmallows fall under a category called confectionaries which is basically sweet food items. The NSI informed me that they did not have standards for such a category which was very frustrating for me because it’s the national body for standards and they should have standards even if the market is not here”.
She explained that she was sent to various testing facilities before it was approved to make sure that her product was of good standard and could be consumed by consumers.
Paulus also added that at times finding the correct ingredients is still a challenge because some ingredients need to be imported from South Africa because of the quality.
“Retailers such as Pick n Pay where I would like to have my product stocked have standards that need to be met and most of it depends on the quality of the products used while making certain food items”.
Being the only marshmallow manufacturer in the country among other sweet manufacturers, Paulus noted that the marshmallows have been well accepted by the public.
The product which currently comes in five flavours namely lemon, coconut, mint and chocolate, strawberry and cream as well vanilla and cinnamon. The business is not limited to only those set of flavours.
Fluffy Mallows has received raving reviews from consumers ranging from great to “not so great”.
In terms of criticism Paulus highlighted that the criticism has been taken as constructive and changes have been looked into which she hopefully in the long run will be able to fix in order to meet satisfy public preferences.
The marshmallows are currently only sold at Karla’s Market for N$ 20, however plans are underway tohaving the product stocked in various other stores are in the works.
Fluffy Mallows has so far show cased their products at events such as The Great Pop-up Fest and as well as in Wernhil last year. Paulus plans on growing Fluffy Mallows as one of her goals for the business it to compete against the import market.
She believes that if Namibia wants to go further and become competitive, it needs more people to produce and support local products.
“Hopefully when Fluffy Mallows expands in the near future and a bigger customer base is reached the business will venture out to other towns because currently we are strictly only based in Windhoek”.
The future of Fluffy Mallows looks good expresses Paulus with a warm bright smile on her face. She notes that nothing comes easy but she hopes to overcome all the hurdles that may come her way.
Fluffy Mallows is currently being promoted through social media and can be found on Facebook and Instagram under the name Fluffy_mallows_nam.