Theme: South African Essence

“A granadilla lolly to make you jolly!” This quirky slogan is ingrained in Cape Town’s beach culture, chanted by enthusiastic merchants between Camps Bay and Clifton 1st who sell the iconic yellow ice lolly out of cooler boxes that they lug around. The beach vendors who fall under JK Vending have been rhyming this smile-inducing phrase for nearly 30 years, selling their black-seeded granadilla lollies (together with cold drinks and ice creams) to in-the-know locals while also introducing the typically Capetonian experience to eager-to-sample tourists. The challenge, however, was that they were only ever able to accept cash, resulting in many a sale lost from beachgoers carrying bank cards. Things changed in the summer of 2018/2019. In jumped Yoco, South Africa’s innovative card-machine company, collaborating with Granadilla – the locally designed and manufactured swimwear brand – to offer the vendors an opportunity to process card payments while looking pro in Granadilla’s beach apparel. The three-way collab made a lot of sense. Granadilla’s whole existence was inspired by these beach merchants, and it was also one of the first small businesses to use Yoco. It had already been kitting out the beach vendors for a few years in shorts, T-shirts and caps so, when the request came from the merchants to see whether there was a way to make card payments possible, it was an obvious choice to introduce them to Yoco. “In JK Vending we saw the classic example of the challenges entrepreneurs in South Africa face: a passionate South African small business who had a loved, in-demand product, was missing out on thousands of sales because they couldn’t accept cards from their customers,” says Yoco Co-founder Carl Wazen. Seasonal or informal businesses struggle to access financial services because they usually require monthly service payments, high registration fees and other costs; Yoco charges no monthly fees and only takes a small percentage of every transaction. “We stepped in and gave them two mobile card machines, collaborating with Granadilla.” This meant co-branding the uniforms the vendors wore that summer, and the result was that, in two months, over R40,000 was processed through card transactions. Granadilla Founders Adam Duxbury and Joshua Meltz call the vendors their ‘primary ambassadors’, and they provide them with a new uniform every summer, emblazoned with images of the unusual ice lolly. “These guys’ entrepreneurial spirit is what inspired us in the first place,” says Duxbury. “Now we’re helping them to grow their brand, the granadilla lolly – this Capetonian icon that captures the essence of a summer in Cape Town so beautifully.” “These amazingly cool uniforms uplift the whole business model,” says Meltz, who has grown up on Clifton’s beaches, forming strong relationships with all the vendors. “It’s like giving the shop a shoplift.” With the ongoing use of Yoco’s machines, and a fresh get-up every year, merchants are able to be part of a more formal economy – looking smart while at it.

100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with Platform Creative.