Edwin Proper Why I Started Proper Snacks Happier Healthier Greener

Hi, I’m Edwin Proper, the founder & CEO of Proper Snacks and this is my story (in a nut shell 😉 ).

On an ordinary day, in my grade 6 classroom, our wonderful but eccentric teacher randomly yelled out, “QUIEEEET, do you know, only three of you will make a success out of your life!”, in an effort to cease the racket we were making. It was in that moment that I gazed across the awkward silence of the room, to identify who the other two individuals would be.

Edwin Proper Bryneven 1995(middle back row, thinking how the heck am I going to do that!)

That single decision has driven me towards making a “success” out of my life, and I’m truly grateful for that.

Since then, I graduated with a degree in Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch. It was in university that I started my fascination with reading business and self-development books. And, I was the only guy to attend yoga classes.

Stellenbosch Graduation(Graduation 2005)

I lived in Sydney, Australia, for three years. The first year I held down three jobs. I spent my mornings delivering newspapers in the CBD, my days behind the counter of a retail store, and my evenings working as a waiter.

I eventually found a permanent position at EATON Electric and endeavoured to work my way up the corporate ladder.

Eaton Sydney(My father, Hugo, and I outside the head office of EATON, Sydney Australia 2007)

During this time I also wrote, performed, recorded and released two solo albums, under the name WiNDE (upbeat, positive music for the soul was my tag line).

Winde3(Playing live in the Sydney pubs 2008)Winde2(Mastering my first album @ Sony 2008)

However, at the end of 2008, I quit my job and applied for permanent residency. Not aware there was an impending economic recession. When my application was put on hold, I had no choice but to head back home to South Africa.

While I was waiting, my father strategically asked me to plant 500 pecan nut trees on our family farm in Hekpoort, Magaliesburg. I hesitantly accepted the proposal because I swore, when I was younger, I would never work on the farm.

It’s funny how things work out.

pecan-orchard-c(Preparing the land for planting, August 2009)

After planting the trees, I recognised a number of operational inefficiencies in the nursery (another business on the farm), and appointed it on myself to correct them. Within 5 years, I became General Manager and had more than doubled the turnover. I had gained a priceless amount of business and management skills that you don’t learn in an MBA.

Nedplant(Staff photo, I’m in the front right seat, my younger brother, Hugo Jr., on the left 2015)

But I still felt like I hadn’t yet achieved “success”.

Hence, I started to notice the shocking difference in quality and taste of pecan nuts bought from the store compared to those from our farm.

Proper Snacks Pecans(Retail pecans left, our farm pecans right)

Then, one freezing 2 am morning on the 9th of April 2015, it hit me like a ton of ‘nuts’. I can improve the freshness if I changed the production and distribution process. And so Proper Nuts was born, later changed to Proper Snacks (for reasons I will not dive into 😉 ).

After months of research I discovered three things.

  1. I could make customers happier with fresher nuts, convenience & variety in snack mixes by using a lean production system, selling online and delivering straight to the customers’ door (my engineering & business background),

  2. making it healthier by controlling the quantity to 30 grams (the daily recommended serving size for tree nuts) and,

  3. making it earth friendly by using biodegradable packaging (I’m really passionate about taking care of this beautiful planet we live on).

Thus the slogan; Happier, Healthier, Greener.
Proper Snacks Final Final Logo

I believe that a company’s higher purpose is not just about making a profit but also about creating value for all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, society & the environment.

Proper Snacks wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for the amazing support from my family, friends, employees, suppliers, customers and my beautiful, talented wife, Ashley. Who designed the logo (notice the jumping person in between the PS, symbolising health & energy) and the eye-catching snack labels to mention a few.

PS Launch 1 Dec 2015(Proper Snacks Launch 1 December 2015)

I’m so grateful and fulfilled that I can wake up each day and say that we are making a significant positive impact on peoples lives across South Africa and it’s environment. And that to me is achieving “Success”.

Edwin Proper Why I Started Proper Snacks pecan trees(walking through our 28 year old Pecan Orchard 2016)

THANK YOU for taking the time to read my story.
I appreciate your attention and support.

Please heart & share my story to help make South Africa a happier, healthier, greener place one snack at a time 🙂

10 Comments
  1. Rebecca Lybbert 1 year ago

    From the moment I met you in Sydney Australia, I knew you were destined for greatness and success but more importantly, I knew that your heart of gold would ensure a positive impact the world around you. Well done for achieving the dream and I wish you every success Edwin!

    • Author
      Edwin Proper 1 year ago

      Hey Rebecca, I really appreciate your kind words. It’s all thanks to the amazing people I know and surround myself with 🙂

  2. Willem Bodenstein 1 year ago

    Well done! Always dream big; and while you’re at it, never stop…

    • Author
      Edwin Proper 1 year ago

      Great advice 🙂

  3. Ticky Maas 1 year ago

    Loved reading your story Edwin…
    We live in Botswana and love your product..
    They are the best tasting and fresh nuts I have ever tasted ,so happy for you and keep dreaming your dream and wishing you and your beautiful wife all the success in your wonderful nutty venture. ..

    • Author
      Edwin Proper 1 year ago

      Hi Ticky, Thank you so much, really appreciate your support.
      Been nutty and it’s only the start 🙂

  4. Marike 1 year ago

    Edwin! Super awesome and seriously impressive!

    • Author
      Edwin Proper 1 year ago

      Thanks MJ, can’t believe how much has happened since stellenbosch 🙂

  5. Stanley Andrews 1 year ago

    Edwin, this is one of the coolest concepts I’ve seen in a while – and I’ve been reading up on all kinds of different start-ups over the last few months. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s a true inspiration to me and I’m sure all other aspiring entrepreneurs in South Africa, my wish is that you would achieve even greater success with the years to follow.

    • Author
      Edwin Proper 1 year ago

      WOW, Thank you for the kind words Stanley 🙂

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