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Words: Tivania Moodley | Images: Supplied

Style that is distinctive and bespoke remains the main driver of success for couture brands. With this in mind, Shauna Neill used her design experience to open Unison Store in Mount Edgecombe, offering fashion, homeware, stationery and other products. She tells us more about the business.

How did your business start?

I’ve always wanted to have my own store, and because of my experience as a jewellery designer, putting this collective together was easy. South African designers are a force to be reckoned with, and the rest of the world has taken notice in the last few years. Now it’s time for Durbanites to do the same. After a lifelong dream, a couple of years of planning and plotting and a few months of looking for the right shop space, the shop opened in October 2017.

Why did you choose this area to set up shop?

I live in Mount Edgecombe and often visited the Flanders Boutique Mall, so it made logistical sense for me to open Unison there. It also has a “boutique” feel.

How did you find your premises?

Being a local, I had my ear to the ground. It was a case of the right space at the right time. I approached the owner of the centre about a vacant space. I’d considered other shops in the centre before, but this one was in exactly the right position next to three restaurants.

Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?

The people who visit the restaurants and other businesses around Unison are my core target market. My clients are repeat customers, so I try to keep things fresh and exciting for them.

Who are your neighbours?

My neighbours include Remo’s Originale, Tree Natural, Franks Speakeasy, Hair on Edge, Nikki’s: The Gift Shop and The Green Gallery.

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

The rental is fair and market-related, which works for my business model.

How many people visit your business each day?

It varies, but about 30 people a day. Our weekdays are busier than weekends.

Do you have any expansion plans?

The store is only in its seventh month of operation. While the idea of expanding into more stores is appealing, I want to master this store first.

Do you operate online as well?

I don’t do any online orders, but I have an active Facebook page and Instagram account showing all of my latest offerings.

What’s your most popular item?

A beautiful dress by Sitting Pretty, colourful cushions by A Love Supreme and a bold necklace from my new Shauna Neill Concentric Collection.

For more informatio on Unison Store, phone 031 035 1061 or visit their facebook page

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