Chit-Chat with Leanne Manas

2011-12-02 08:33

She’s one of the first people we see on week days when she visits our lounges in the morning, presenting hot topics of the day in her firm and friendly way. Now the Morning Live co-hostess has ventured into business. Brenda Masilela talks to Leanne Manas about her recently launched retail debut Simply Manas Gift Emporium

What brought about the idea of a gifting shop?

I come from a very busy background where I would be constantly organising birthdays and functions, and buying gifts was always a mission coupled with the fact that I’m not really a good shopper when it comes to presents.

Then I thought about people who also have the same issue as I do. That’s when I realised that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a gift shop.

Is this something that you have always wanted to do?
It’s something that I dreamed about but I didn’t have the strength to start. One day I was talking to my sister-in-law (Mandy Manas) about the idea and we decided why not just put it into action.

Having Mandy’s retail background also helped things get off the ground; plus we also knew that there was an opening in the market.

What is the inspiration for the gifts?
There’s a wide variety of gifts; it’s anything that people might want. We also have a range of global and exceptional local brands including Ritzenhoff, Jamie Oliver and Dunbar-Sloane of London available.

And if customers don’t find what they are looking for we make sure that we order it for them.

How much do they cost?
The prices are from as little as R100 to R3 000. We try to accommodate everyone as much as possible, and it makes us happy that we are the only gift store situated in Sandton which is friendly on the people’s pockets.

Who is your target market?

We have products that would appeal to almost everyone – things for kiddies, weddings, parties and Valentine’s Day.

We believe that a large part of giving lies in presentation. There’s nothing more appealing than receiving a beautifully wrapped gift.

We have created a candy store-like counter where our customers can choose from a range of wraps, beads, ribbons and other adornments at no additional cost; just to make everything extra special.

What has been the public’s response?

The people certainly love it because it’s something fresh and new in Sandton which suits their pockets because we don’t want to intimidate people.

Is this a family business then?

I’m in partnership with my sister-in-law. I wouldn’t have done it without her.

Do you see yourself retiring from TV and going into business ­full-time?
Definitely not! I was born for TV, it’s my first love. Business is just something I do on the side.

How do you find time to be with your son on such a tight schedule?
Since the opening of the store it has been a bit difficult, but because it’s a family business, I take him along with me most of the time.

» Follow me on Twitter @Brenda0403

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