No longer online only: Yuppiechef opens its first 'real' store
Yuppiechef co-founder Andrew Smith tells us why the popular online kitchen store decided to branch out with a brick-and-mortar shop in Cape Town
Yuppiechef started long ago when e-commerce was just a seedling. What spurred the decision to start the business?
Co-founder Shane Dryden and I had been building websites and doing marketing for clients, and we wanted to build a brand of our own. In 2006 we had the skills but no money, so e-commerce was an accessible business to start.
Shane had a passion for cooking, and we knew the local wholesalers of one brand, so we launched with 32 products. It took five years before we ended our work for clients and could focus full-time on Yuppiechef.
Why the addition of a traditional trading space?
E-commerce is brilliant, and in some categories it makes complete sense to be purely online. I hope that I never set foot in a travel agent office or bank again. But there are many people who do want to set foot in retail stores.
Online retail is still only 2% of retail in South Africa. South Africans like the physical shopping experience - browsing, getting advice, the immediacy of purchase, seeing and being seen.
We believe that the future of retail is omnichannel.
What will make the store stand out?
The store is going to be beautiful, the staff top quality and the products world-class. And our experience in building the country's best online store is going to come through strongly.
Do you think sales trends will be different in a physical space?
There is a lot more casual browsing in a physical space, compared to the more targeted online shopping. We expect that our table products such as cutlery, dinnerware and serveware will catch customers' eyes, especially for gifts.
Are you into cooking?
My wife is the cook and baker, and our home is known for chicken pie and lemon meringue. I get great pleasure in picking out good beers and whiskey, making my own biltong, or pulling a round of perfect flat whites. There is something for everyone in the kitchen.
Would we find you more often at the braai or in the kitchen?
Definitely on the patio at the braai, beer in hand, breathing in the Cape Town sea air.
One gadget you can't live without?
A decent coffee machine. I use a Rancilio espresso machine every day, and an Aeropress or Moka Pot when travelling. The ritual of trying to make the perfect cup is part of the enjoyment.
YUPPIECHEF'S TOP SELLERS
• The KitchenAid stand mixer is still a bestseller and the most wish-listed product in the range. Price: R14,989.
• A Wüsthof chef’s knife is one of the first things that serious home cooks buy. Price: R699.
• The spiralising trend is still hot, and the Humble & Mash spiraliser ‘continues to fly down the conveyor belt’. Price: R499.
• The new Yuppiechef store opens on October 1 at the Willowbridge Shopping Centre in Tyger Valley, Cape Town.