Words: Zena le Roux Images: Supplied
Nicole’s Macaroons is a simple and honest expression of a lifetime love affair with baking. A serendipitous encounter with the “real deal” Parisian macaroon in 2010 inspired a passion to perfect the art of the hand-crafted macaroon. In 2016, now owners Denise van der Merwe and Stenia Pucciatti bought over the business to bring their share of passion to this beautiful bakery situated in Pretoria East. Denise tells us more.
How did your business start?
The business was initially started by Nicole Cunningham in 2010. We bought over the business in 2016 hoping to bring in some fresh and modernised ideas to the business. We decided to buy the business over from Nicole as it was a well-known and established brand. We felt with our backgrounds (we both worked in the hospitality industry) and expertise, we would be the perfect fit to turn it into the successful business it is today. Stenia and I are both very creative people and our products speak of our passion and attention to detail. We’re very passionate about baking and love pushing our creative boundaries in the kitchen, this helps us bring fresh ideas and flavours to Nicole’s Macaroons. Stenia owned a restaurant with her husband and I worked in the events and wedding planning industry – so we knew that this business would benefit from our knowledge.
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
We chose Persequor Techno Park in Lynnwood to set up shop as it’s a very centrally located area in close proximity to highways.
How did you find your premises?
The premises were selected after numerous options were explored. We wanted a premise that would suit our needs and offered us space, tranquillity and was easily accessible to customers.
Why are they ideally suited to your business?
We like the fact that we aren’t tied down to specific trading hours at our premises, as it’s not a retail space. We’re also fortunate to only work Tuesdays to Fridays and selected Mondays. The area and Technopark are very safe and is ideally located for our staff to travel to and from our production kitchen.
Who are your neighbours?
Right next door to us we have an architectural firm, Kanda Design, as well as Quantity Surveyors VSB above us and an electrical engineering company called Iritron in close proximity. Being the only business of its kind in the park, we’re a very popular destination for offices surrounding us.
What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
The rent is much more affordable than it would be in a retail set-up. We prefer trading from a corporate park not only because of the affordable rent, but we also like the fact that we are not confined to retail space terms and conditions. We also wanted enough space, so we can host workshops which we wouldn’t have been able to do in a retail environment.
What is your shop footprint?
We bake a minimum of 1,500 macaroons per day and around 900 petits fours a week which we mostly supply to stockists and a vast amount of corporate and events clients that resell our products. We do, however, have loyal macaroon and petits fours enthusiasts that visit our bakery on a daily basis not only to indulge in a taste of heaven and satisfy their cravings but to also see where the magic happens.
Do you have any expansion plans?
Our current venue lends itself to expansion, but at this stage, we’re happy to rather expand our stockists and client base.
Do you operate online as well?
We do have very popular and active social media platforms as well as a website which we keep updated with our monthly special offers and product images – Instagram: @nicolesmacaroons and Facebook: @NicolesMacaroons.
What’s your most popular item/service?
We only have two products in our range consisting of 25 decadent macaroon flavours and sex petits fours flavours. We take pride in perfecting these two unique and very specialised desserts. Our cafe society collection will never disappoint – a box with forty macaroons consisting of our eight to 10 most popular flavours will be the perfect addition to any occasion. Throughout the year we offer special occasion boxes which are all uniquely designed by the owners with special attention to detail. These boxes are always a special treat and are extremely popular among our fans. Our personalised range of petits fours is very popular as we match any theme and colour scheme to suit your event. We strive for quality and perfection and it shows in all our products.