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Words: Zena le Roux | Images: Supplied

Hello Friend supplies a wide range of handmade soaps, body lotions, scrubs, bath salts and unique fragrances to individuals, companies and the public. All products are manufactured locally according to stringent standards and are of the highest quality. The products are the perfect gifts for international travelers wanting to take something special from South Africa back home. Owner Mariska Grobbelaar, based in Lynnwood Glen, tells us more.

How did your business start?

It started as a small word-of-mouth network offering specific products to friends and relatives. This sparked the idea to start a niche range of handmade products for friends and their friends. The name “Hello Friend” was an easy choice as it represents our idea of saying hello with a special gift.

Why did you choose this area to set up shop?

Hello Friend operates from a small studio at my home in Lynnwood Glen and at select markets and events. I decided to base the business at home as it saves on expensive monthly costs and enables me to work at leisure while maintaining my responsibility as a mother and wife. It’s also in close proximity to my regular clientele, which includes various embassies and consulates.

How did you find your premises?

We relocated to Lynnwood Glen a few years ago. As it’s our private residence, this was the obvious and most cost-effective choice.

Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?

My clients live and work around Pretoria East, and because of the area’s central location, it’s easily accessible via highways and main routes.

Who are your neighbours?

The business is located in a residential area and therefore surrounded by residential owners.

What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?

Due to the high shop rental prices in the area, it made sense to run the business from home. My studio is roughly 24m2 and a similar shop space in our area can cost as much as R12,000 per month.

How many people visit your business each day?

We see 10 to 15 individual clients per week who visit on an appointment basis and roughly five corporate clients and businesses. We deliver to corporate clients countrywide and use courier services for out of town orders. Client numbers vary depending on the time and season, with special days, Easter and the Christmas season being the most active.

Do you have any expansion plans?

Yes, we’re constantly looking at new products to add to our range. Currently, there are various new fragrances and product types on the way. We also accommodate requests from clients for custom products and event merchandise.

Do you operate online as well?

We have a Facebook page called Hello Friend SA. It’s fairly new and we’re busy loading content on to it. Then we advertise on WhatsApp and via email campaigns to various groups. The website is still in the design stages.

What’s your most popular item?

Our handmade Spearmint & Charcoal body soap is a unique product and the most popular by far in the range.

For more information on Hello Friend, phone 071 228 8321 or visit their Facebook page.

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