There can be no better pastime than a leisurely afternoon walk down the oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch after a scrumptious brunch or lunch with friends. Perhaps one of my favourite pastimes, as you are well aware, is to frequent any of the many chic restaurants or bistros which knit together to form this vibrant foodie community over the weekend. However recently I have also become aware of the rise of speciality shops that are off the tourist beat that is quietly changing the face of retail in the Western Cape.
Leading the movement, in my opinion, is the farmer’s daughter on towards the bottom of Dorp-street in a newly refurbished historic townhouse. Originally housed around the corner in Bird-street, proprietor Retha Erichsen emerged from a short four-year hiatus with a refreshed commercial offering in a new location. True to her artistic nature, the brand had grown up alongside her own two daughters and now reflects her own mantra ‘buy and sell only what I like and love’. Having spent a few afternoons in the shop, I can assure you that her own mantra reflects many conscious consumers looking for quality, craftsmanship and innovative goods.
Resonating with my own ‘artisanal advocacy’ journey of late, Retha views local artisans with an international prism having spent time on-and-off in Argentina and having travelled around Europe. Believing, like I do, that the future of artisan growth and future success is at its core design specific. One of the products which are retailed at the shop is a co-branded Eau de perfume from Keinood Farm and House of Gozdawa. While the consumer market is still in its infancy it is growing as more people start to become aware of personalisation but it is time-consuming with retailers playing the role of conservationist/poacher at the same time.
The thing that strikes you most about Retha, and by extension, the farmer’s daughter, is the passion for perfection. Working closely with a handful of creatives frequently mentioned in this blog such as Stellenbosch luminaries Jackie Burger, Alwijn Burger and Fritz Schoon amongst others whose work fits with her ethics. Be they Kleinood Farm (Eau de perfume), Ceramic Matters (handmade ceramics), Bbellamy & Bbellamy (textured fashion), and Schoon De Companje,Retha can legitimately claim the title of ‘influencer’ or ‘taste maker’. Collaborating doesn’t just end within the arts, though, but now also with Deluxe Coffeeworks who have set-up shop, so to speak, in a corner of the farmer’s daughter offering freshly roasted goblets of dark caffeine delight.