There’s a real buzz in this busy, industrious, often quirky, always energised multi-skilled space called Re-freshed at the new Salt Rock Centre. Put it down to the tight-knit, hands-on family behind the brand, with their sleeves firmly rolled up, writes Anne Schauffer.
Re-freshed is not only the brainchild of a Salt Rock family, but the happy place where four women of the Paterson family work together – mother, and three daughters. They may work in the same space, but in different spheres – with each being creative in their own way, plying their trade, craft or skill in harmony.
Harmony? Not a common word used among family members working together, but mom, Sharon Paterson laughs, “Everyone asks how we manage – the scenario often spells a battleground, but not for us. We’re all so busy with our own endeavours here, that there’s no time for that. Anyway, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We want to be together.”
For Sharon and her daughters, Re-freshed is a relatively new venture in a new centre, and they’re always a work in progress. As creatives, they’re constantly evolving, always will, as they continually re-examine their store, stock, clientele and the services they offer.
It all began when Sharon finally succumbed to the pleas from four daughters who wanted their parents to leave Mpumalanga and join them – and eight, nearly nine grandchildren – on the North Coast: “We kept saying tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, then we said today,” laughs Sharon. But she didn’t leave behind her skills or plans for another business – she’d had a restaurant and pottery shop in Pilgrim’s Rest, with staff she’d trained to perfection, and she’d stocked her own distinctive brand of ceramics and stained-glass work.
Oldest daughter, Kate Armitage, is a well-known, accomplished hairdresser – one of five L’Oreal selected hairdressers – with an established clientele and her own brand, Kate Style @ Re-freshed. Youngest daughter Megan Marsh is Re-freshed Soul, offering a range of beauty treatments – she’s also currently studying hairdressing. Tracy Joubert – together with architect husband Jason – is an interior designer, with a string of existing clients.
The family had this vision for a large communal retail space which would accommodate all their skills, and simultaneously showcase Sharon’s wares. “Sharing made perfect sense, and I always thought it would be amazing to collaborate,” says Tracy. “Not only do we share costs and facilities like a kitchen and reception, but importantly, each ‘business’ feeds off the other. Everyone who comes in to have their nails done, sees a new hairstyle they’d like or some exceptional decor items in the space.”
When the family signed on the dotted line for the space, they were presented with four walls, an electric plug in each, a basin and a tap. Room for improvement. Enter daughter Tracy and husband Jason: “We all talked through the space extensively, and knowing what everyone’s needs were, came up with the layout and design.
“It was important to get the flow right, so we created a little sanctuary over there for the hair wash, a view of the shop for those spending hours having their nails done. In the end, everyone got what they needed and wanted, and everyone has their own place. I can be here an entire day and not see Kate – yet we all know we’re all here, and we have each other’s backs.”
Tracy and Jason have their own private, but connected studio space within Re-freshed, where they can deal with their interior and architecture clients, “Everything you see in the shop is for sale, except us – or something mom decides she no longer wants to sell,” she grins. “I designed some of the furniture, and that’s for sale. The nice thing for me is for the decorating side of my business – I can, and do, commission mom to make stained glass doors, customised light fittings, even basins…”
Tracy says she and her mom always wanted to “do something together”, and Re-freshed is the realisation of that dream: “We even opened a shop in Graskop so the two skilled staff who had worked with mom in Mpumalanga, could run it and be employed.”
Re-freshed isn’t like other decorating stores: “We don’t want to be,” says Tracy. “We visit trade shows, and have a range of wholesalers across the country. We don’t do ordinary.”
Sharon spends most mornings in her pottery studio, either producing her ceramics, running regular classes, or creating workshops for groups who request it – she has trained up a production team to assist her with her own ceramics and stained glass work. She’s in Re-freshed in the afternoons. Sharon is self-taught, and attributes it to her own mother: “She was an amazing woman – there’s nothing she couldn’t turn her hand to. Carpentry and oil painting to building.”
For Sharon, working with your hands is important. The girls say, “Mom told us which careers to go into,” to which Sharon replied, “I didn’t exactly. I just said you need to work with your hands, and to be self-employed.” So they did. Sharon likes to see it as ‘being givers’. “We’re all giving people beautiful things. All our careers are rewarding, and we’re fortunate, we always see the end product.”
As the hairdresser, Kate not only sees the end product, but she’s often the end product herself: “I’m very much about change,” she laughs. “I was blonde two weeks ago…now all my clients want to get this new colour and look.”
The family all live close to one another too…two sisters are next-door neighbours, while the others are a stone’s throw away. Everyone is married with children, and they share lift clubs, socialise on weekends, and have an away family holiday at least twice a year. Dad does the books and running around. Fourth daughter, Jennilee Greene, recently moved to Underberg with her little family – and has clearly left a real gap.
Aside from just loving to be together and feeding off each other’s energy, there’s another wonderful advantage for the four to work together. There’s no excuse not to be well groomed. From the tips of their nails to the hair on their heads, everyone looks superb. And why wouldn’t they be?
FOR MORE INFO:
- 032 815 2707
- Shop 26 New Salt Rock Mall, Mount Richmore, Salt Rock