#WIB – Q&A With Cara-Ann Potgieter Founder Of Palmy Living

Cara-Ann Potgieter
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1. Can you please tell us more about your business?

A. Palmy Living is an online furniture and décor boutique. We create locally made pieces, designed for intentional lifestyles.

We believe that homemaking is a journey, not an outcome. We encourage people to be mindful and intentional about curating their space, and to take the time to enjoy the process of homemaking and finding timeless pieces that will evolve with them.

Our curated collection of décor and furniture items are carefully designed and manufactured to help to create a space to escape to. Each product is designed to make a statement and to add a unique element to a home experience. Palmy products are durable and made from quality materials to ensure that our pieces become legacy items, and can be passed down for generations to come.

2. When, how, and why did you start your business?

A. Palmy Living was dreamed up as a legacy project. The Palmy seed was planted in early 2018 when we found out we were expecting our first child. We were inspired to intentionally and lovingly make space for her in our lives and in our home. At the same time, we were frustrated that many of our initial investment furniture pieces didn’t age the way we had hoped, so we decided to create a few core furniture pieces for our own home. They were beautiful and functional. We knew we were onto something, and our friends agreed – Palmy was born. Slowly move forward to 2020, and we launched our online store, where we share more of our pieces and ideas in the hope to inspire homemakers to intentionally create their own space.

3. What is your role in the business?

A. I am the Founder and Managing Director of Palmy Living. I manage the business while dreaming up our latest pieces. It’s a dream come true to design pieces we love and see people value our designs and admire our local approach.

4. Where did you study and what did you study?

A. I have a Bachelors in Journalism from Rhodes University and an Honours in Brand Leadership from Vega. My background is in Marketing and Journalism, both valuable skills in marketing and positioning Palmy Living. In fact, I have a second business, La Fondazione, where we help other entrepreneurs position and market their businesses.

The interior flair and passion to design furniture items comes from my love of home-making and roping in my husband’s engineering background to create functional and beautiful furniture pieces.

5. How did you finance your business?

A. This has been probably the most difficult part of the entrepreneurial journey, and one of immense prayer. As a start-up, there were many moments where we considered getting funding or approaching investors, but every time we get to that point, something miraculous happens, and we manage to find a way to generate the funds required. So, up to now, we have been able to fund the business ourselves. We keep the business model lean and try to create pieces as we have additional capital to push into the business.

It’s hard to start a business and keep your head up and your eyes on your vision. We believe in Palmy Living and we envision the business growing organically, and hope to continue to create opportunities as we grow.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

A. There is no such thing! I divide my time between my two businesses – and enjoy the versatility. We recently launched a new range of furniture and décor pieces and my focus is now wholeheartedly on marketing thereof and creating the best experience for our clients.

7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?

A. The one benefit of working for yourself is that you’re in charge of your own time. I work from 8 am-12 pm then I have lunch with my kids, then work again until 4 pm whereafter I try to switch off and be present at home. It’s important to keep tabs on your values and what is important to you as you grow your business.

Right from the start, Palmy Living was created for our family and creating opportunities for other families. We’re small now, but the company culture is already being created. And we want to foster a culture of freedom with responsibility. There are many days I need to switch off earlier but there are also many weekends I work, and late nights I strategise and work on our business dream.

We hope to maintain the culture as we grow and we hope that our team will grow the business with us.

8. What drives you and inspires you?

A. I get inspiration from anywhere – the key is to keep cultivating your curiosity. My family drives me but the world, our people, and nature inspires our design.

9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

A. I get my best ideas in the middle of the night. I wake up and grab my computer or a notebook and write down the ideas.

10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?

A. We mostly use Social Media to market our business. We recently added paid online advertising and media coverage helps a lot.

11. What is next for your business?

A. We definitely want to explore exporting our pieces to the international market.

12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?

A. There is nothing more empowering than taking that first step and there is nothing more important than backing yourself every step of the way after that.

For more visit: palmyliving.com