A décor and gifts shop with a coffee and cakes element, if not a coffee shop with a décor and gifts element, Cinnamon & Silk is an exclusive and charismatic establishment situated in Ballito on the KZN North Coast. Striving to bring you the very best of design trends and unique and beautiful gifts, Cinnamon & Silk also offers a good cup of coffee as well as delicious cakes and treats. Through a Q&A session with co-owner Haley de Charmoy, we find out how Cinnamon & Silk Trading came about and what sets it apart from others.

Q: How did the concept of your business come about?

A: I started off doing open house shop days on the farm where I lived. I had a huge house and lots of space, so I invited small business owners to turn the empty bedrooms into shops for the day. We had a thriving tea garden and the response was excellent. This really fueled the fire to one day own a shop of my own. I approached my friend Liesl, whose surname happens to be Friend, and together we came up with the concept of Cinnamon & Silk Trading.

Q: Tell me about the type of product or service you feature

A: We offer a unique selection of hand made soaps and jewelry, antique and nostalgic décor objects, furniture, art, clothing, chandeliers, crystal, scatter cushions and much more. On the coffee shop side, we focus on good coffee and a lovely selection of cakes and savory muffins. We also have a popular quiche and salad lunch time choice.

Q: What sets your business apart from others?

A:  Our business is unique in that way of the variety of products and services that we offer. A visit to our shop is an experience that takes you back to another era. People love our shop interior, our music and the old 1920s POST magazines that are available to page through. We also host a very popular high tea at the end of every month; each one has a different theme and our staff sing at every event.

Q: How important is location?

A: Location is everything! Our first location was ideal at the time, because it gave us an opportunity to learn the ropes without the pressure of big rentals. We moved into the Ballito Lifestyle Centre almost a year ago, however, and I still cannot believe the huge difference it has made.

Q: How has your business changed since you opened?

A: Our business has changed in the way that we have adapted to our new location by offering a coffee and cakes element, and therefore had to employ more staff. We have become more professional and the public have responded more favourably.

Q: In what ways do you think your business is benefiting the community?

A: Our business is benefiting the community because it benefits our staff. We take a personal interest in the wellbeing of our staff and believe that this affect their lives and the lives of their families in a positive way.

Q: What are the main challenges when running your own business?

A: They main challenges are to stay motivated and keep going no matter what happens. More people would succeed in business if they persevered through the hard times and became more flexible in their response to challenges.

Q: What are the main rewards?

A: For me the main rewards are to wake up in the morning and do something that you love, and to know that one day you will reap the rewards for the all the effort that you put into each day. It is also hugely rewarding to be able to make a difference in the lives or your staff.

Q: Why do you think your business is successful?

A: I believe that our business is successful because it is run on the Biblical principle of sowing and reaping.

Q: How has the recent economy affected your business?

A: I think that it has affected us to a certain degree, but still believe that we are very sheltered in terms of the rest of the country and definitely the rest of the world.

Q: What advice can you give to someone starting their own business?

A: Do your research, speak to as many people as you can in the industry, know your competition and be unique!

Q: How is your business is Proudly South African?

A: We are Proudly South African in so many ways. We speak positively about our country to all who enter our doors. We also access the SA Good News website every day and often print out their articles for our customers to read.

For more info tel 032 946 1985 or e-mail haley@cinnamonandsilk.com

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