Theri matriculated in 1995, with the 2nd group of Oakhill matrics. She says that her most notable achievement at school, apart from blowing up the science lab in a failed experiment and causing the whole school to be evacuated during an open-day, was actually passing matric! “I have never been academic, so school on its own was a noticeable achievement,” she says.
After leaving school Theri worked at the Knysna Spur, saved some pennies and headed overseas. For the next couple of years she worked in the UK, South Africa and on cruise ships and studied Hotel and Catering Management.
In 1999 Theri got married and had her first child Jessey, who is now 14. She lived in Ireland for a while and worked at various jobs before getting divorced. In 2005 as a struggling single mom, she started her own business as a wedding and events planner. Six months later she was married to Jacques, with whom she has two daughters, Jenna who is 5 and 4-year-old Morgan.
Today she owns and runs a successful company, Therific Naturals based in Cape Town that manufactures and distributes an award winning product, Kiddy-Calm bath salts, and is a huge company with over 40 franchisees and 500 agents across South Africa. She also exports to Namibia, the UAE and the UK.
Says Theri, “Jessey was the reason for Therific Naturals. In Grade 1, Jessey was diagnosed ADHD. We tried Ritalin and other meds, changed her diet and went through the usual remedial and psychiatric evaluations but nothing helped. Someone from an autism centre suggested that we bath her in Magnesium Sulphate. So I did and the results were phenomenal – until Jess realised it was a medicinal bath and refused to carry on bathing!
“I played around with the mixture and created a fun, colourful, fragranced bubble bath from the salts.”
Theri soon went from making the mixture for her family’s use to mixing orders for friends.
Five years later, Therific Naturals produces around 14 tons of salt each month.
The success of her company earned Theri the NSBC title of Entrepreneur of the year in 2012. She was also a finalist for the Sanlam and Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2014.
“It’s really because of my ADHD labelled daughter that I have made an incredible success of my life!” says Theri, who last year also decided to home-school Jessey.
“2015 is a new journey of exploration. Big things are happening with the growth of the company, and I have also created a new company called Incredible Journey, a home-school adventure learning programme where I arrange ‘classrooms in the cloud’ and get the home-school community together to teach our kids in a more fun and adventurous manner.”
Theri credits Oakhill with always being open to ‘out of the box’ thinkers. “The teachers always supported our big and outrageous ideas,” she says. I think being encouraged to develop unusual talents played a huge role in moulding me into who I am today!
“I visited the school in February 2013 and loved what I saw. It looks like a stunning environment for kids. I wish I still lived in Knysna as I think my kids would do really well there.”