WHEN Gillian Whitfield’s second child arrived in 1998 she gave up work hoping to become a stay-at-home mother.
Unfortunately her husband became very ill and was medically boarded. She then started to try her hand at different things to bring in extra income.
In 1999 her mother started a small-scale bush soil and compost business to which she could not give the attention it needed. She handed over the business to Gillian and XLNT Bush Soil and Compost was born.
When Gillian took over, turnover was barely enough to cover staff wages. She did not have equipment and used a borrowed bakkie which was unreliable and heavy on petrol.
The first thing she did was to broaden the customer base by getting more nurseries and garden centres to stock XLNT Bush Soil and Compost mix. She also advertised in local newspapers.
Early on Gillian also saw she needed to focus on producing the highest quality possible.
Only the best materials and soils are used in XLNT products. Much time is spent on bringing in raw material and composting it until it is perfect. Potting soil, bark chips, lawn dressing and mixes for specific purposes, for example a special mix for African violets, are added.
Gillian’s goal has never been to run a large business, but to keep it small, efficient and productive.
XLNT Bush Soil and Compost is run from her smallholding just outside PE. Her goal of being a stay-at-home mom has never been compromised.
Gillian manages to home school all three of her children – none of them has been to a formal school.
Carey, the eldest, is now in the final year of high school.