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Getting to Know Emma of The Stranger's Club

Yoco - 19 July 2023

The Strangers Club gives local makers and artists a place to connect and showcase their wares, and the result is a space that champions creativity and community. Tell us a little bit about how the brand came to be.

Starting Stranger’s Club was a bit of a surprise, to be honest. I was really young, twenty-one, and completely green. My parents own a house in Green Point, and at the time, it was being used as a warehouse of sorts.I loved the space so much, but I felt like there was so much more that could be done there. And so, my dream of creating The Strangers Club was born. I started really small – initially it was just a coffee machine and a couple of tables. Every year it grew a bit more, and I’d put whatever we made back into the business. It's been a lot of learning, and a wild, interesting ride so far.

You’ve spoken about how the brand is the culmination of continual curation and organic expansion. Championing Cape Town’s creative culture is central to the space, with local brands including Lorne, Ilundi, Klomp Ceramics, and Pina Jewels on board. Where to from here?

I'd really like to open in the evenings, and to get some iteration of accommodation going – whatever that looks like. In the short term, I want to integrate the brand into more of a retail offering and potentially introduce a take-home food offering as well.

The big dream is for The Strangers Club to become a kind of known melting pot of African and Capetonian culture where locals and tourists can come and experience it in a way that’s authentic.

The Strangers Club has built up a reputation (it’s all good things!) that stretches from the Mother City to all corners of the country – and beyond. What was the moment you realised, “Wow, this is really working out”?

I think it’s a continual realisation – I have that moment when I chat to people who’re not local but who recognise the brand's name and are familiar with who we are and what we do. It was also quite a big moment for me when I realised that The Strangers Club was at a place where I was able to step back and work on the brand, and not in it. This is only possible because I have brilliant people on my team who I can trust to carry the vision day-to-day.

As someone who started out with a clear vision of what you wanted to achieve, but no knowledge of the industry, what words of wisdom would you give to other small business owners?

Try not to focus on everything you still need to do, or the things you feel like you're not doing perfectly. It’s really easy to do that, but you have to occasionally pause, take stock of what you've achieved, and appreciate it and be proud of yourself.

It’s so important to be open to learning and growing, especially learning how to take constructive criticism and not to take it to heart. I think being a small business owner, you can’t help but take everything really personally, but you have to learn how to separate your business from you – and I’m still working on this.

Why did you choose Yoco, and what has your experience working with us been like so far?

I was familiar with Yoco and I think it’s a really dynamic, relatable brand that’s doing some interesting things. On a practical level, the integration between Yoco and Light Speed Tablet is great. The backend functions are really useful when you need to easily pull up a report, it’s incredibly user-friendly. It’s been smooth sailing - I love working with Yoco.