Passionate, creative and a workaholic– meet successful entrepreneur with an eye for beautiful things, Elsa de Wit.
Elsa has fond memories of her childhood, growing up in the small town of Klerksdorp.
“I was a real tomboy and I loved spending time outdoors, going on little adventures. I grew up in a home with a very creative mother who was always making something look pretty. Her biggest passion was for entertaining and spoiling her guests. Unfortunately, I did not inherit her love for entertaining, but my sister certainly did – she is a real master chef and also creative. Funnily enough, I landed up with a very successful coffee shop, The Flower
Cup, even though I can hardly fry an egg.
“I’ve always been a business woman with a dream to retire at the age of fifty. At this stage, it seems like I will never retire though as I keep taking on more and more! There is
something about the adrenaline in the business world that lights me up. I have been working in business in one way or another since my first born was six months old and he is
now 22, so that says it all! I started as a Sales Assistant at Grandiflora selling and hiring out wedding dresses. From there, I became the proud owner of a successful bridal boutique, GF Bridal Couture.
“A few years later I opened a Men’s store, also in the Multiflora building and another bridal boutique in Fourways. At the time we were the leading bridal boutique in Gauteng. But as
Rich Dad, Poor Dad says, after five or six years it’s time to sell the business because once you reach that ceiling, you will just stagnate.
“As owner of the Multiflora centre my husband, André de Wit, understands the industry. The two of us make a great team and, of course, we both are workaholics. Sometimes I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing. One day he asked me to help out at Grandiflora and that year, the shop had the highest turnover in eight years, marking the beginning of my time at Grandiflora. I am so passionate about this business that I branched out to help with the look and feel of the nursery and started The Flower Cup coffee shop.
“The best part of my work is I get to be creative. It allows me to stretch my mind, do and buy new exciting things, and to engage myself in a way which takes me one step closer
to reaching my full potential. And, of course, travelling overseas to do the buying is utterly the best! I was privileged to visit Messe Frankfurt, the biggest World Trading Show connecting 23 000 suppliers with 1.4 million potential customers all over the world. They talk about the latest trends in décor and introduce colour palettes for the year. I can reveal shades of dark pinks and maroons and also your Tiffany blue with antique golds and rose gold are trending along with black, gold elements and geometric pieces. On the tropical side, you’ll find lots of greens, hanging botanical baskets with ‘feature’ birds a must. Of course, the vintage look is here to stay, combined with blue traditional delph ginger jars,” Elsa said.
She went on to say, “To be a retail buyer is not easy because you are responsible for planning, selecting, and purchasing large quantities of goods and then merchandising them
to make sure they sell. I permanently need to source new goods to ensure my products remain competitive and timeless. Someone once said to me, ‘Elsa sometimes your love speaks best through your hands’.
“Last year, I began importing two containers and this year, by the Grace of God we stand on 13 containers so far. My vision for Grandiflora is to see it grow, to have agents all over
South Africa and to become a well-established and recognised one-stop shop that is known for the best pricing and exclusivity.
“My motto is, ‘Get closer than ever to your customer. So close you tell them what they need, well before they realise it themselves!’
“Working six days a week, I try to do as little as possible on a Sunday. If I’m at home I enjoy a braai, sipping a gin with pink tonic, and treasuring time with my husband and my two boys, FC and Reghardt.
“On Saturdays or during their school holidays the boys occasionally help me out at Grandiflora or The Flower Cup and I have always taught them the effort you put in is what you will get out at the end of the day! Nothing in life that is worth it, will come easily.
“Looking back to when it all began, none of it actually did come easily but it’s all been worth it!“
Text: Lize-Mare Landsman. Photos: Jenna-Leigh Storey.