Velvet coffee shop

Meet the Maker – showcasing stories of local brands

“Velvet is not just a coffee shop, it’s a pretty special community. It’s a space to work, connect, be inspired, grab a tasty snack and just enjoy the good life in the upper highway area” – Gillian, owner of Velvet

To kick off our new series, ‘Meet the Maker,’ we are featuring a local coffee shop in Kloof, Kwa-Zulu Natal. We’ve chosen this local gem because we love learning about the stories and the ‘why’ behind brands. As a marketing and branding agency, it’s our job to let your values and brand story shine through the rabbit hole of endless content on social media. We feel that Velvet’s brand story illustrates some key principles and marketing strategies for other local brands to take heed of:

  • It’s not enough to sell content. Brands need to sell stories.

Each month, we focus on one piece of marketing advice on our Instagram page. This month, we are cautioning you against the perils of ‘over-selling’. Instead of using social media simply as a platform to punt your products, leverage it as a way of showcasing your brand story and you’ll have a more engaged audience.

  • The power of community

In 2023, the power of community prevails. Brands that pivot around community and make connection a part of everything they do, will maintain a loyal customer base.

  • To stand out from the noise, brands need to remain true to their values

Your values are your ‘why’. In the words of Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

We interviewed the owners of Velvet, Armando and Gillian Stander, to share their story with you first-hand. We are sure their brand story will inspire you as it echoes the above principles.

1. What made you buy Velvet?

We’ve always been ‘those’ people – the people who find the best coffee spots in every city we visit. In Durban, Velvet was at the top of the list, hands down. Good coffee and the community that is created around it have always been something we’ve been drawn to create. We felt right at home at Velvet and found kindred souls in Eugene and Jess, the previous owners. So, when the opportunity to buy Velvet came around, it was just the most natural thing and the timing was perfect.

2. What’s the ‘why’ behind your brand?

What we love about Velvet is the dedication to making the perfect cup of coffee every time. That is the baseline and on top of that we build. We might be biased but we have world class baristas who also happen to be pretty special (and playfully charming) humans. And with Bluebird Roastery’s award winning beans on bar, we really do believe we’ll continue to give the people what they want: velvety smooth coffee – every
single time. But Velvet is not just a coffee shop, it’s a pretty special community. It’s a space to work, connect, be inspired, grab a tasty snack and just enjoy the good life in the upper highway area.

We’re also incredibly devoted to creating a space for creatives in this area to showcase their work, connect and network so we host an exhibition on the first Thursday of every month to highlight a local artist who has blown our minds. There is so much talent lurking in this part of the world.

3. A little about your family and your occupations. We hear that you guys are a ‘Jack-of-all trades’!

We’ve got three very busy, very cute kids who keep us on our toes. They are seven, three, and one and a half years old. It’s crazy time, all the time. We are actually pastors, first and foremost. We pastor a church location in Durban North and love seeing people living their best lives. We are creatives which means that we find any opportunity to create beautiful things – from home renovation to graphic design, editing and art, to sound engineering, production design and music. Most importantly, we value people and relationships and wherever we go, we love to connect with people and grow from our shared experiences.

4. The Velvet community and what makes it special

What makes Velvet special, other than the very good coffee, is the people. This little coffee shop feels a lot like a family. There are those who literally live at Velvet (like every day, all day), those who pop in quite regularly and those who make a stop everyone now and then. We like to believe that all of these people will walk away from Velvet with a smile on their face and a ridiculously good coffee in their hand.

Next time you’re in Kloof, pay them a visit and experience their velvety coffee and thriving community for yourself.

For company branding, copywriting, SEO, and marketing strategies that help your brand shine true to your values, contact The Brand Collective today:

☎️+27 81 215 2544