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Sisters making business a family affair 

Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey hand in hand, these sisters are turning business into a heartfelt family affair. 

These sets of siblings have made business a family affair – and with considerable success. We find out how they make it work. 

Dynamic design duo  

Viveka and Rucita Vassen are a design duo with a background in fashion and graphic design. Apart from being in sync in almost everything they do and believe in, it’s their shared love of creativity, craft, collaboration and an eye for all things bold, vibrant and off-beat that led them to establish Ananta Design Studio during lockdown 2020.  They specialise in playful home decor pieces, from beaded vases and lamps to brightly decorated bedside tables and sideboards. By working with local crafters, they’re able to empower under-resourced communities and create pieces filled with beauty, meaning and social impact. Here’s how they do it:  

Sisterhood is so special and different to other relationships.
We’ve grown up with the same values and have literally experienced everything together. We’ve moved through every stage of our lives side by side, supporting each other. It’s always been us together on the ride… this is just the next one! 

We’ve always been besties, which makes working together effortless and fun! We get excited about the same things, and to be able to share that together only amplifies the energy. We also understand and know each other so well that we can communicate with just a glance. When we both studied in the design fields, we knew that building a creative business together was inevitable. We are so excited to share the adventurous journey of our life dream, Ananta, with the world. 

Being sisters makes our creative process interesting.
We work on designs together, refining it until it’s a beautiful piece of FUN-ctional art filled with love and joy. Outside of the studio, we find ourselves constantly being inspired and then bringing this energy back into the studio. We shamelessly discuss work at all times of the day – our creative brains never stop! 

Building a women-owned business with your sister is such a freeing and fulfilling journey.
Embrace your female energy and instincts to build a business that nurtures and fulfils you. Use your sister-power to empower others and be change-makers for future generations. Have a shared vision and purpose to keep you aligned and focused on moving forward towards the same goal.
At the same time, stay fluid and be open to whatever magic the universe has in store for you. Take the time to celebrate all your wins (big or small!) and create fun memories along the way… go for a sneaky tidal pool dip in the middle of the day, treat yourselves to a waffle or enjoy a spa day! 

Flower power  

Alison Snyders and Karen Lipari have been in the flower business for 30 years. They pull together expertly arranged bunches almost without looking, as they chat to customers, dodge sidewalk pedestrians and punch numbers into calculators.  Their flower stall, Sisters on Adderley, has been a cornerstone of Cape Town’s legendary Trafalgar Square flower market on Adderley Street since their ouma set it up in the 70s. Today, they have a clientele so loyal that people come to visit even after they’ve moved out of town. The duo even offer deliveries – and Alison’s son has set up satellite stalls at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market and the Old Biscuit Mill’s Neighbourgoods Market. Here’s their story: 

We started working at the flower stall when we were eight and nine.
Granny Ally needed the extra help, so on a Friday after school we would fetch the flowers from our house in Retreat and take the train into town with the parcels on our shoulders. We’d be at the stall from 2pm Friday to 3am on Saturday, go home and then go back, and come home the same time on Sunday morning. But she gave us her blessing to take over this business. When Karen fell pregnant and had to leave school, she needed to earn a living and went to work for granny. Alison studied to be a legal secretary for three years, but she didn’t like being behind a desk and missed the flower market – so we started working together. We sold local flowers and used our dad’s bakkie, because we didn’t have money for transport. 

We treat one another with respect, love and support.
That’s how we get along. We don’t discuss personal stuff at work and there’s no shop talk when we see one another over the weekend. Whether the house is burning down or someone needs help sending an email, we are always there for one another. We will never say a bad word about one another – and we have one another’s backs, no matter what. 

The key to working with your sister is to respect her.
You already know who she is as a person, so you know how to handle her in the way she needs. It does take patience. Karen is the crazy loud one and Alison is the softy – but Karen listens when Alison speaks, and Alison tells Karen if she’s gone too far. That honest communication is a key part of making it work.  

We have experienced so many amazing things together.
Working with flowers means you get to be part of the most important part of people’s lives – their births, marriages, birthdays and deaths. After 34 years, we’re still not done. We are always looking at the new trends and teaching ourselves how to do them well. You have to be consistent, but also keep offering your clients new things. And you have to keep changing yourself too: we’ve taught one another about leadership, love and honesty. 

Twin flames Twins  

Amron and Geovanna Siebritz gained a public profile after they were listed as one of TikTok’s top 10 content creators in South Africa – and for their clothing line, G&A Couture, which has created quality designer clothing for all sizes since 2020. Based in Cape Town, Geovanna is a PR management grad and Amron has a degree in retail business management. They credit their success to mutual honesty, loyalty and willingness to share with one another. And they’ve made a pact: to care for each other ’til the end, to always make time for one another, and to make their dreams come true as a team. We sat down with them to find out more: 

We never liked being apart for too long… but that doesn’t mean we never fought! We fought all the time, but made up literally minutes after. We’ve always had each other’s backs – and best believe that if anyone messed with the one twin, they had to deal with the other! 

Every Valentine’s Day, we have a sister lunch date to celebrate and maybe watch some good old chick-flicks together. That’s always been our thing. 

Since we were kids, we always loved fashion and entertaining.
It came naturally to us long before social media blew up. Growing up, we always put on shows for our family. We would style our friends and even rearrange their closets. We always knew we were going to start a business together, but we never knew how. 

In primary school, we made a pact to own our own clothing brand that would be fashionable and affordable. In high school, we started watching Keeping up with the Kardashians and saw how those sisters developed a clothing brand together – and we were even more motivated. That’s how G&A Couture was born. Our brand is elegant, trendy, fun and affordable. We just hope to continue growing the business, and we’re currently busy with our new range. We want our success to be encouraging to women – especially women of colour. It’s proof that anything is possible if you work at it and fight for what’s right. We need to support one another and not talk down to each other. There is too much negativity going around, and we need to try not to add to it. Make sure to listen attentively to your sister, best friend or colleague, and work through your disagreements. We shouldn’t be each other’s enemies… and most importantly, remember to have fun and build something great together – whether it’s a business or an idea. Life is just too short! 

Words: Charndré Emma Kippie, Christie Nortier

Photography: ClubX Magazine, Supplied

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