The Table Bay Hotel – Flower Poweron May 29, 2014
One of the joys, for me, of a visit to The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town is the huge and joyful vases of flowers they have literally all over the public areas. The other is the peace of the Lounge and the wonderful coffee you get there – and the parking is free.
Sometimes proteas, sometimes cymbidium orchids, always profuse and generous.
I asked Nina of the hotel’s public relations relations department where the flowers come from and who arranged them. Florist Pieter de Bruin has until recently supplied the Table Bay Hotel with all their floral arrangements from his shop in De Waterkant. Sun International saw an opportunity for an in-house florist and approached Pieter to come up with an enterprise development plan. Excited by the prospect, Pieter approached two of his long-time employees, Marsha Booi and Lucas Mfumisi, to be a part of an enterprise that would exclusively service the Table Bay Hotel and in which they would be major shareholders.
Pieter trained Marsha and Lucas, not only to provide elegant Victorian designer floral arrangements but also to teach them essential business skills, from buying, inventory, invoicing, to budgeting, and pricing, amongst other skills. Sun International approved the plan based on the fact that it would be sustainable and not require major capital expenditure. They provided a base at the Table Bay Hotel for the florist, fitted out an area with steel work tables, cold room, an assembly area and supply all the glassware and vases. This dynamic trio in turn now supply all the hotels flowers including public areas, guest rooms and even floral arrangements for events staged at the hotel.
The success of this project lies in the symbiotic relationship between Pieter, Marsha and Lucas. Marsha, an unskilled worker from Uitenhage near Port Elizabeth and Lucas a former Zimbabwean never dreamt that they would one day be given the opportunity to own a business. “It seemed impossible,” says Marsha. “None of this would have been possible without Pieter’s trust and belief in us.”
Sun International share’s Pieter’s vision to empower both Lucas and Marsha and believe this project could be the start of other florist projects being developed at other hotels within the group.
Lovely fuzzy warm story.
Michael Olivier writes about wines, food, restaurants, books, chats with chefs, events and introduces you to his winery partners, and their wines.
To hear more from him, visit his website: michaelolivier.co.za