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BOSCHENDAL DIARIES: RICCI SHACHAR LEADS US INTO THE WORLD OF ONLINE RETAIL

Written by Boschendal

Residents and visitors of all ages have always relished the multi-layered experience offered by our magnificent estate, enviably positioned within a stunning natural and soulful landscape. From mid March 2021, there is even more to get excited about as our team prepares to unveil our omnichannel offering, an online shopping portal that will enable customers from various regions of the Western Cape to buy a range of locally sourced and curated kitchen, home and garden products and accessories, ranging from tableware to linen, candles and wood ware. You can also expect to find previously loved cookery and gardening books sourced from a local Stellenbosch bibliophile.

Ricci Shachar, formerly of Superbalist, is the driving force behind the Farm Shop’s move to digital and she is buoyant about it. “To say this is exciting is an understatement,” she said. “Customers can expect to find a superb range of products and a smooth online shopping experience. The e-commerce offer is about taking our farm shop online,” explains Ricci. Joining her on the omnichannel project as homeware curator and creative lead on e-commerce, is Paul Duncan, a former magazine editor and previously the design head of homeware at Woolworths.

Everything we sell will build on the property’s unique provenance, style and its history at the heart of a country community. The white-washed homestead and its outbuildings were built and embellished by artisans and craftsmen using techniques unique to local circumstances and requirements, making use of locally found or made materials. Much of it survives intact and today there’s a patina about the place, and a character, which is unique to Boschendal. It’s this that informs the contemporary look and feel of the products we sell. And it’s this that sets Boschendal retail apart in the marketplace.

The omnichannel sourcing ethos is underpinned by integrity and mindfulness, a narrative synonymous with the Boschendal brand and our ongoing commitment to sustainability and ethical procurement. Great care has been taken to follow through on this approach, right down to the packaging.

“We will also be selling pre-loved glassware and speciality books, to ensure that multiple uses are found for certain unique pieces and so that the product life cycle continues beyond its first home.”

Ricci explains that nothing in the online store will be mass-produced and the collection will focus on exceptional items produced by stand-out local artisans and suppliers. Covid-19 has taken a toll on micro-businesses and we are passionate about supporting local creatives and harnessing talent.

“We are singularly focused on hyper locality, ensuring that at least 80% of our products are sourced within South Africa, uplifting and supporting the local community around us and giving local artisans a platform.” Leading from that Ricci emphasises the importance of knowing the origins of each item. “We’ll be doing monthly features on the places and people that have made our Farm Shop and our beautiful, delicious products come to life, to share the backstories of those who are so intrinsic to the success of our outlets, both in the physical and the online space.”

As previous Diary candidates have attested, the extraordinary beauty and calm of Boschendal is conducive to innovation, across the board. “I’m surrounded by ideation and forward-thinking individuals,” says Ricci. “There’s always something new happening which makes for a very stimulating work environment, utterly professional yet without being corporate. We all feel nurtured here.”

In terms of products developed or made on Boschendal farm and available at the brick-and-mortar shop, there are farm fresh eggs, grass fed Black Angus beef, Duroc pork, an array of fresh fruit, cheese, vegetables and flowers, ceramics and beautiful woodwork. There is also an on-site bakery with delectable goods baked by Christine de Villiers and her team – don’t forget to try the legendary Pasteis de Nata!.

To sate your need for retail therapy until the omnichannel site goes live in mid-March 2021, the Farm Shop is open daily and the pop-up shop alongside The Werf that has undergone a post-Christmas transformation, is stocked with loads of inspiration for Al Fresco living.

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We are singularly focused on hyper locality, ensuring that at least 80% of our products are sourced within South Africa, uplifting and supporting the local community around us and giving local artisans a platform.

Ricci Shachar

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