“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”– Alice In Wonderland
Buff Beauty Parlour in Umhlanga is an emporium brimming with delicious dichotomies. Fondly referred to as The Little Shop of Miracles, it is filled with everything you need and nothing you expect.
The original inspiration behind Buff was the iconic Betty Boop, as she is simultaneously sweet and sexy. Owned by a local entrepreneurial family, the Buff brand and space consciously incorporates quirky components and magical elements as it flutters between wonder and whimsy and borrows from past and present. It provides an evocative sensory experience that is countered with slick professional treatments delivered by passionate staff in candy striper styled pinafores.
Sisters Tracy Gielink and Kim Davidson were raised on fashion and horse racing, along with lectures on independence, the value of hard work and perils of chipped nail polish. As teenagers, their talented mother, Debbie Davidson, harnessed them to work on various high profile events that she co-ordinated and it’s hardly surprising that the three ended up as business partners.
Once flippantly referred to as The Trilogy, they adopted the collective name as it sounded like smaller, more stylish version of the mafia. Their different personalities and backgrounds (ranging from public relations to eventing, marketing and journalism) have seen them become an entrepreneurial tour de force as they own and run three Umhlanga-based businesses.
The first was The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway which opened in 2001 and was the first main-stream success in the franchise. Once again, Debbie, Tracy and Kim delved into the unknown two years later, when opening Teremok Marine. The five-star boutique hotel has won numerous awards and hosted many local and international celebrities, and also incorporates the highly regarded Teremok Spa.
Buff is a stand-alone grooming parlour offering essential services (ranging from nails to waxing, and lash and brow grooming) delivered by highly specialized, handpicked staff who follow international hygiene protocol. Buff has been appointed Essie’s first and only flagship salon in South Africa – check out the imported Essie manicure stations from Italy that come with a handbag hook and built-in extractor system to combat the dust and strong odours associated with acrylic and gel nails. DzWe have been referred to as game changers, which is an enormous compliment, but we just follow our intuition,dz says Tracy.
“We are all very discerning and know that value-for-money is important at any price point, so we simply seek to provide people with the type of experience that we would like to receive. It has taken three years to develop the Buff brand and it portrays our passion, idiosyncrasies and rather offbeat sense of humour!”
The Parlour’s unique layout confidently ignores industry norms and, instead, follows department store protocol as there are various pods within the space, each with very specific branding. After all, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
The Soda Fountain is a retro, American diner-styled area that serves old fashioned soft drinks and handcrafted gourmet donuts from cult local brand, Wicked Donuts. A punked-up version of the inimitable Frieda Kahlo announces the Brow Bar and make-up station; while the soft, salmon-hued Glow is a dedicated area where tweens and teens can experiment with appropriate skin care products. Men have The Workshop where they can explore grooming in an environment specifically created to make them feel at ease.
Betty’s Boudoir is presided over by a gorgeous, life-size sculpture of Betty Boop (yes, of course you can take selfies!), and a discreet black wardrobe is filled with luxury exotica. Expect to find sexy underwear, frame-fitting corsets, bachelorette party paraphernalia and, because we know beauty starts with a smile, a collection of sex toys chosen for form and function.
Then it’s down the rabbit hole to the Alice In Wonderland-inspired function room, The Salon, which can be rented out for small, exclusive soirees; and adjacent is the communal Nail Station which can accommodate 10 people for manicures and pedicures. For essential services, there are waxing rooms (with televisions, warmed beds and squeezy toys for those who may need it) in which body full waxing is done, including intimate areas for both men and women.
Buff has a very strong retail element which is as much for personal therapy as it is for quirky gifting. Brand synergy and collaboration has been a driving force and Buff has exclusivity in KwaZulu-Natal for a carefully chosen collection of retail lines.
The brand and business embraces technology and there is not a “please switch off your cell phones” sign in sight! There are easily accessible points for charging phones plus there is a digital library for clients to check out tablets loaded with e-magazines plus online bookings and instant cardless payment are in the pipeline. Let Buff take you to wonderland!
Address: The Boulevard, 19 Park Lane, Umhlanga Ridge
Telephone: 087 287 9878
New Nicci Boutique Now Open in Gateway Mall!
Nicci Boutique, a fashion-first women boutique since 1992 has opened their much anticipated first store in Gateway Mall, Durban.
Nicci has become synonymous with up-to-the-minute contemporary fashion from clothes, bags, shoes and accessories hand selected from the fashion capitals of Europe.
Nicci caters for a wide range of fashion-first women in both size and age. They help women feel confident, stylish and effortlessly chic.
When you step into a Nicci store, you are assured of a unique boutique experience. Proficient in fashion know-how and customer relations, the Nicci consultants are well trained to offer candid advice. The Nicci Gateway store is designed with unique and edgy shop fitting elements that have become well known across all our 17 Nicci stores. Nicci shoppers can expect stylish on trend merchandise that radiates street style and comfort, which arrives at the boutique on a weekly basis.
To celebrate the launch, Nicci invited fashion students from Durban Technikon College to design and create upcycled fashion pieces using Nicci packaging. The creativity of the students is astounding and their finished mannequins will be up on display in the Nicci store for all to admire and enjoy.
“We are so excited to have opened our very first store in Durban, in Gateway Mall and officially our 17th store in the Nicci family! We strive to offer our shoppers a directional brand experience that is exciting, inspiring and personal to each and every customer,” says Niki Breger, co-owner of Nicci Boutique.
Nicci is celebrating the new summer season and embracing the festive spirit with showstopper weekly collections that will cater to all your summer and holiday wardrobe needs!
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #NicciDoesDurban when posting!
Find Nicci in Gateway Mall: Shop F260, Near Starbucks.
Open from Monday-Sunday from 9am to 7pm.
031 103 1413
For more information visit www.nicci.co.za
Review: Zimbali Willow Stream Spa
Inside the exclusive Fairmont Zimbali Resort is the Willow Stream Spa.
We sent a Durbanite contributor to experience their treatments.
“I was treated to an incredible unforgettable experience at Willow Stream Spa.
Upon arrival, I was shown to the shower & changing room and stored my belongings in the lockers provided. I changed into a luxurious gown complete with slippers and waited in the relaxation room.
The relaxation room comes fully equipped with tea and coffee, fresh juices and bottles of water.
Shortly after, my therapist greeted me and proceeded to guide me into my treatment room. I was spoiled with a full body massage, which I must add was one of the best I have had.
The massage was followed by a facial, using their Africology skincare range, and lastly, a pedicure.
Afterwards, I sat in the relaxation room with a cup of tea and indulged in the delicious supply of muffins. With a view of the beautiful resort and garden, I had found my little slice of heaven.”
The luxury spa offers:
• 9 treatment rooms
• 3 outdoor cabanas
• Steam rooms
• Separate ladies and gents relaxation lounges
• The “Great Room” for after treatment relaxation
• Heated blankets and elevated treatment beds
• A full spectrum of health and beauty services all performed by trained specialists
Whether you’re planning an indulgent day at the spa, or popping in for a mini break, the special Spa Offers will leave you relaxed, energised and ready to take on the world.
For spa information and reservations:
Please call +27 (0)32 538 5000
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours of Operation:
Please note that spa hours are seasonal and subject to change. Please contact Willow Stream Spa for the most accurate information.
10:00 – 19:00 (Weekdays)
08:00 – 20:00 (Weekends & public holidays)
06:00 – 21:00 (Daily)
Support Local: Saint & Summer
SAINT&SUMMER was created much in the same way it’s now run – captivated by their local surroundings and based on a friendship foundation 20 years deep. It was in 2013 during the humid heat that is Durban in December, that they began piecing together the vision for their business.
We sat down with Julia and Roxy to find out more about the local brand.
1) How did Saint & Summer start?
We’ve been friends for years; long before we ever considered starting a designer footwear business together. Throughout the years, our shared love for fashion, swimwear, clothing and well, just a generally obsessive interest in all things stylish… made it a pretty easy move to start SAINT&SUMMER together.
We’re both beach obsessed, and one balmy Durban Summer, we got chatting about how to turn our passion into something adventurous. We wanted to share our love for style with our friends and other fashion-forward ladies out there. And so SAINT&SUMMER was born.
Sun kissed bodies, vibrant sunsets, punchy cocktail umbrellas and sandy hues became the mood board for our first SAINT&SUMMER’s range of matte jelly sandals – and now 5 years in – we’ve just launched an exciting swoon-worthy AW19 range that has everything from two-toned sneakers to studded block heels, sheen prints and leopard skin slip-ons.
2) What makes your brand proudly Urbanite?
We’re for everyone. All the looks, all the sass, all the versatility that the modern woman needs to rock her own unique sense of style. Our styles can be paired with any outfit. So whether it’s a pair of skinny tight jeans or a flowing boho-dress, the shoes fit!
Our SAINT&SUMMER shoes are easy to wear, easy to pair and have longevity with wearable fabrics, on-trend patterns and styles, and creative colour palettes that mix with every season.
3) What sets your brand apart from others?
We’re really passionate about fashion and we source shoes that we know we would be proud to wear any day of the week. It’s important to us that the shoes burst with personality and style because you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes J.
Our SAINT&SUMMER styles are super versatile too, and can take you right through from the morning to evening with their on-trend looks. Which is why comfort is also very key.
4) Would you consider a mens range in the future, or is it only for women?
We haven’t before but as our brand grows we are actually being asked this question a lot more frequently… so who knows, anything is possible
5) What is your vision with Saint & Summer?
To give fashionable women a unique way to express their individuality through style, in comfort, and within budget.
6) How can we purchase a pair? Online or in store?
We have an online store where fans can browse the ranges and purchase our shoes online at www.saintandsummer.co.za We also have a list of stockists on our site, detailing all the stores that stock and sell SAINT&SUMMER shoes so customers can have a look and see which stockists are in their area if they want to go and try on or browse the styles.
7) Do you have any advice for first time business starters?
Very simply… get dirty, work hard, be ready for mistakes It’s all a part of the journey.
View their range online at www.saintandsummer.co.za
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