Our first European Standalone shop opened its doors in November 2012 - image by Erik Zollner
Often when in Bucharest, on my way to the Athene concert hall, I pass through the neighbourhood that once upon a time was a hub for our artistic folk in pre-communist Romania. Recently this area is re-establishing itself as the nicest place to be in Bucharest right now. One day in the summer of 2012 I saw a beautiful little house with a sale sign on it. There is almost never something for sale in this area so I seized the moment, nocked at the next door’s neighbour and a few days later, the little house was bought.
The dream was to set here a first Wild Olive Artisans shop away from Cape Town.
You will ask, why Bucharest? Because Bucharest is the city where I was born and lived until my early 20’s.
The house was belt in 1920’s and resembled french architecture elements that are found throughout Bucharest, city that was known as “the little Paris”, before the communists “remodelled” it to match their philosophy.
In restoring the interior to the period it belonged to, I looked at Art Deco and of course everything was to be black and white. I was tirelessly working alongside the artisans at the wall stucco with the ruler, pencil and my bare fingers.
Our ever elegant business manager Iulia Durbacel presenting a Collector Item - image by Erik Zollner
I choose Romanian materials such as walnut wood flooring and white Ruschita Marble, creating an environment with a modulation of Wild Olive Artisans in it.
The entire project was conceptualised, designed, custom ordered and executed in just two and a half months, because if you have one thing on your mind you might as well get it done! Having a pretty loud tone of voice and coming across as slightly aggressive might have also helped, I don’t know, no one had the gut to complain. We all just got it done!
The result was that the first ever European Standalone opened its doors on the 15-th of November 2012.
Since then, our shop established itself as the only natural perfumery in the city and the destination for an exquisite, exotic, unique gift that you cannot get from anywhere else but Wild Olive Artisans. Together with our collaborators such as Avoova, Cape Cobra Leathercraft, Lisa Firer and 20Eight Design, we successfully put Africa on the shopping map of Bucharest.
It was a great learning curve for us, as our communication had to completely shift its focus. We met a lot of exceptional people and made very good friends who taught us and helped us, such as the South African embassy.
Until today, our mission remains the same: promoting South Africa and our artisans to the world.