The Propa way…how to have your cake and eat it too!

When I was dedicated to my gym and healthy lifestyle routine I would often crave desserts and chocolate in particular. Then the wonder of social media stepped in and one day I noticed this highly Instagrammable chocolate dessert cup being posted online by fitness enthusiasts and socialites alike.

I couldn’t resist clicking on the @propafoodbar handle to find out more.

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that this product was produced with the idea of being healthy in mind. I decided to place my order and I fetched my propa smoothie from Healthy in Umhlanga the very next day. If there’s anything you need to know about me is that I am extremely brand loyal with a soft spot for local startups. After tasting my very first smoothie I knew this was a brand that would grow to enormous success. I also knew that I had become a huge fan of the taste and attention to detail that went into preparing these beautiful creations. The chocolate smoothies are my favourite and they leave me with the satisfaction that I get when I eat chocolate.

When I decided to relaunch CrazyRio, I decided that it was time we learnt more about the lady behind the brand and how it all began.

Good people… let me introduce you to Stephanie Wills! The name and face behind the Propa brand.

Here are a few questions we posed to her to get to know her better. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as we did.

Please can you tell us what sparked the idea to get you started?

Propa began completely by accident really… I had been playing around with layered/stacked smoothies and smoothie bowls shortly after my second son was born. A friend had seen one of them (that I had posted on instagram) and asked if I could make ten of them for a special staff meeting! Needless to say they were a huge hit and right then and there we created all the social media pages. Luckily my husband had already designed the brand (even though it was meant to be for a mobile coffee shop)

In a short paragraph, please tell us about your business and some of the incredible milestones you have achieved thus far?

We specialise in gourmet, layered smoothies that can be eaten as a meal replacement or even as a healthy treat. I used to make 10 a week and now (two and a half years later) we make hundreds! And gratefully I say “we.” What started as a small home-industry business has grown exponentially to the point now where we are a team of five and have our own factory space to handle the ever-increasing scale of production.

What makes your product special?

Each smoothie is hand-made from scratch as well as being dairy-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free and all natural (no added preservatives/colourants/additives). The consistency is thick like a pudding and needs to be eaten with a spoon. We always balance the nutritionals (fat/protein/carbs) so that each one can be eaten as a meal. They can also be frozen so you can keep a whole bunch at home in your freezer. Nothing better than having a grab and go meal on hand!

Where can customers purchase your products / how can they place orders?

We have several retailers that stock our smoothies from Ballito to Hillcrest – all of which are listed on our social media platforms. And each week we add more so everyone can get their Propa fix. In terms of our weekly specials these are only available on order direct from me (Steph). To place an order simply send a whatsapp to 072 463 9512 with how many you want and where you’d like to collect from: Lifestyle Health, Ballito (Monday-Saturday) or Healthy, Umhlanga (Friday) or Health on Broadway, Durban North (Monday)

Do you cater for vegans?

Yes. All our products are vegan friendly.

Are any of your products Banting friendly?

Our smoothies are paleo friendly however when it comes to banting it depends on how many carbs your diet allows and whether you include fruit or not. We do use banana and fruit in our smoothies however we also have smoothies that are banana-free and more veggie-based (with avocado, sweet potato etc)

What is your best seller?

Our Propa PB. Which is a layered chocolate and peanut butter smoothie. So good! It is also the first smoothie we retailed.

Which is your personal favourite and why?

Tough question! Probably our Propa Peppermint crisp or Propa Carrot Cake… or Propa Blueberry Matcha or our Propa No-B (no banana smoothie) ahhhh I honestly cant decide! I love them all!

What is the price range of your products?

Each smoothie is R60 for a 250mls cup

In a paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself as we would love to get to know the face behind the brand.

I am obviously obsessed with smoothies! I especially love making healthy food taste delicious as well as look beautiful. I am also happily married to my best friend and we have two beautiful boys (aged 5 and 3). Before I had kids and started Propa I studied fine art at university but found my career path in the heath industry. I studied nutrition and managed Lifestyle Health shop with my mom Judy for over 12 years. I also love yoga, running, anything creative, laughing, tea and spending time with my family and friends (and even better when its on the beach!) Think that pretty much sums me up!?

To follow the Propa journey you can find them on social media as:

Instagram: @propafoodbar

Facebook: Propa Food Bar