Words: Zena le Roux; Images: Supplied
Karooland Furniture and Interiors in Menlo Park creates timeless hand-crafted furniture in a wide range of adaptable signature cabinet designs and custom-made solutions. They offer furniture pieces that are available immediately or which can be made according to their clients’ specifications. We chatted to owner, Anne-Marie.
Why furniture and interiors? Where did the inspiration come from to start the business?
Coco Chanel rightfully said that interiors is the natural projection of the soul. For me, who received my talents in the creative realm it was a logical career path. Interior Design provides soul and character to a living and working space to make it more functional and liveable with every intention of revealing the personality and character of the individuals who live and work there. Furniture is the foundation of any room and to me, that is the most important element. A carefully designed furniture piece can make any room look like a masterpiece.
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Greenlyn Village Centre in Menlo Park is located in a central business district in the east of Pretoria, where our clients can enjoy a relaxing shopping experience from a quick cup of coffee to a full course meal at any one of the surrounding restaurants. The strip mall is more of a lifestyle centre where you can buy all you need from groceries to hardware and of course, interior decorating items and furnishings.
How has the area changed from when you first started to now?
There has been major developments in the area stretching from Menlyn Maine all the way to Brooklyn Mall with many new restaurants and cluster homes popping up around every corner. It is vibrant and lively especially in the evenings and on Saturday mornings.
Have the changes been for better or worse?
I would have to be honest and say a little bit of both. Even though it’s good for business to have more feet, our clients are definitely spoilt for choice and that has a visible effect on our turn over.
What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area compared to when you first started?
There is a yearly escalation as can be expected.
What do you love about this neighbourhood?
The neighbourhood is warm, friendly and inviting. You will see people running, walking their dogs or riding bicycles on a daily basis. Children and pets are everywhere to be seen with so many great schools in the area. It’s almost as if everyone knows everyone – kind of like a small farming community, where people still pop in for a cup of coffee and a quick ‘hello’ before their next meeting or errand. It is relatively safe, and we look out for each other. Help is always at hand.
Any tips for business owners looking to buy/rent in this area?
Often asked, I most certainly would recommend Greenlyn Village Centre to creatives who are in the arts and crafts business.
What is the best part of your job?
The fact that I am faced with new creative challenges every day, I meet new and interesting people on a weekly basis and we build strong friendships. On Saturdays, clients stop by to say ‘hi’ on their way to the Hazelwood Food Market and in the evenings, we are greeted by the other Greenlyn tenants as they close up shop, ready to call it a day. A wise person once said: “If you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life.” I love what I do and the people I do it for.
What advice would you give to new business owners?
To any new business owner I would like to say: Success is a numbers game and have a marketing plan in place. Your clients and customers are the reason you are in business. Look after them.
What’s your most popular item?
We do not have a preferred or most popular item as many of our designs are custom made to our clients’ specifications and this varies according to seasons of demand.