Liezel Kriegler

WILD EMPORIUM

What does your company do?

Wild Emporium is a lifestyle center located in Paarl, South Africa, offering a diverse range of products and experiences. I purchased the business when it was a rundown, near-closure commercial nursery and transformed it into a vibrant one-stop lifestyle center. Wild Emporium combines lush greenery with meticulously curated furniture and décor for all house and home needs. We sell a large selection of indoor and outdoor plants, unique refurbished furniture restored on-site, new indoor and outdoor furniture, interior décor, pots, baskets, carpets, art, decorative mirrors, textiles, lights, vases, sculptures, figurines, antiques, and more. Our little restaurant offers freshly made delights. Beyond retail, Wild Emporium is a community space where customers reconnect over coffee, find unique items for their homes, and draw inspiration from nature and distinctive décor. Dedicated to affordability, quality, and a unique shopping experience, Wild Emporium aims to be the first choice for any lifestyle needs, attracting visitors from near and far.

What is your biggest success?

In five years, I managed to increase our annual turnover fivefold and expanded our team from 8 permanent workers to 38 employees. We successfully transformed a nearly bankrupt commercial nursery into Wild Emporium, a vibrant lifestyle center and one-stop destination for locals and visitors from the wider Western Cape areas. My vision was to evolve from a plant shop to a beloved lifestyle center in the beautiful Paarl Winelands. Our unique selection of high-quality products, combined with a community-focused atmosphere, has made Wild Emporium a local hub for connection and inspiration. Whether you're revamping your living room, adding greenery to your workspace, or seeking a cozy spot to unwind, Wild Emporium turns your vision into reality. With a dedication to affordability and excellence, we are the go-to destination for home décor, furniture, gifting, and garden needs. My husband and I are hands-on and deeply involved in the business and community, ensuring we offer exceptional items, good value for money, and always on-trend displays.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Our biggest hurdle was to make plans and diversifying to increase our turnover during winter, traditionally slow for a nursery. We had to broaden our business model to offer more options for various customers. Diversifying and growing the business with limited capital was challenging; all earnings were reinvested into wages, retail space expansion, and to increased product lines and stock. Rapid growth also strained our management structures, adding to the difficulty. Rebranding from Paarl Nursery, a struggling wholesale nursery in 2019, to Wild Emporium, a lifestyle center with diverse offerings, was crucial. Advertising and putting our business “on the map” to attract customers was another significant challenge. Despite these obstacles, our commitment to exceptional customer service and creating a welcoming environment has helped us attract and retain customers.