Kate Semple

Andrea's Topiary Creations

What does your company do?

We preserve fynbos and other plant materials to make beautiful decor items for 5 Star Hotels, 5 Star Game lodges, restaurants groups and retail etc. Everything is handmade by ladies & men from the Grabouw community, who we train and give a skill set to. This is very rewarding for both them and us. We take huge pride in the fact that the ladies have been with us since the business started. My Mom, who is the founder of the business, speaks fluent Xhosa which is amazing. Without the communication gap, we are very close to all our staff and there are alot of laughs had in the workshop while working on projects and installations. These men & women are very talented, and our workshop stays lively. We are focusing alot on community upliftment, and to give more opportunities to those who would like to learn a skill set. Everyone gets to work in a beautiful environment, with flowers and natural materials - which we all find therapeutic. As the business grows, we will be looking for more young individuals to train and bring on for Christmas, which is our biggest season. Being in Elgin, we are fortunate to have many resources around us that are perfect materials for our creations. It took years to master the skill of preserving flowers and foliage, but has been a huge stepping stone for us and our business. It is truly our passion and we hope to inspire and uplift others through our creations. We as a business and family are also very involved with Animal Welfare in our area and supporting these local initiatives.

What is your biggest success?

Collaborating with Kat van Duinen at Steenberg for a fashion show. Mannequins made from foliage and fynbos. We sent our first order to Dubai. Featuring in magazines SARIE, Women&Home, Cosmopolitian, Conde Nast, Garden&Home etc Kingsley and Heath windows - contract Decor for Hotels like Silo, 12 Apostles, Ellerman House, Delaire Graaff, Cellars Hohenort, Hazendal, Vergelegen, Val de Vie Polo Pavillion etc.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Getting the preservation treatment right, took a long time with many trials. It is essential for our business, as we dont know anyone that can treat foliage and fynbos to last indefinitely, maintaining colour, smell and form for years. My Dad came up with his own recipe and mix to preserve, as he is an avid botanist and helps in the business with his expertise.