Since the Cape Town vintage space Ebony & Ivory Ribbons opened in 2005, it has thrived into a vibrant outlet that stocks a wide range of intriguing finds, inspired by the owners’ love for crafts and antiques. They’re also about to launch an exciting online store that makes web browsing and purchasing a breeze. House and Leisure chatted to the ladies, Eulália and Igna, about their passion that took the shop from strength to strength… What influenced the ‘Ebony and Ivory’ part of the store’s name? Firstly, Eulália has long dark hair and I (Igna) have short platinum waves. We are the perfect complement of strengths and personalities. Eulália forms the steady dark base while I’m usually the creamy frothy bit on top, but despite all our differences, we operate in perfect harmony. And it just so happens that our initials are E & I! The shop is inspired by all things vintage – how did this interest originate? Is it a passion you both share? Eulália comes from a family that has traded in antiques for over 30 years and so she grew up among antiques. I came round to all things vintage via all the different crafts I practised since I was a tiny tot. We both love the patina, character and warmth that comes with aged materials and objects. Handmade crafts are at the core of your business. Do you think there is currently a return to traditional crafts and what, in your opinion, has brought on this trend? This trend is not new, but we do believe it is much more established and mature than a few years ago. Local crafters and designers produce more amazing stuff all the time, pushing boundaries and raising standards. Thankfully customers have come round to appreciating quality handcrafted items for what they are worth. Tricky economic times have also brought out the entrepreneur in many people. It’s so great to see crafters, young and old, making a living out of their products. Well done to them. Do you two also do some of the designing or are your designs outsourced? We design and conjure up all our own goodies and ideas. How has travel influenced the collection of goodies you have in your store? We don’t get the opportunity to travel half as much as we would like, but when we do, we usually come back re-enegised and inspired with more ideas than we can execute. I always travel with a few notebooks – even at home – and furiously make notes and scribbles to preserve ideas. I have loads of these books and we go fishing in them when it’s time to create new things. On my last trip to Israel, I was so inspired by the amazing things they create that I never even looked up or stopped scribbling while crossing the busy streets of Tel Aviv! Your store is housed in a ‘broekielace building’ in Diep River – tell us more about this space and what sort of mood you wanted to create? The building is over a 100 years old and has seen many owners. Some treated it more kindly than others. The original concrete pillars outside were replaced after a car ploughed into the shop, metal gates came and went, and 70s style facia boards were removed when Eulalia’s family bought the building. Since then it was pampered as much as possible without disturbing it too much. Inside, the space has evolved over time and has now become a destination for people looking for an inspirational shopping experience. Furniture from Nine Lives and a zillion goodies from Ebony and Ivory co-exist happily. Customers travel from far and wide to browse through all the nooks and crannies, sometimes for hours, and often leave empty-handed! We always joke that the shop is like a museum and selling tickets at the door might be a good idea. Can customers browse and order online and do you also deliver? Customers are welcome to browse and order online. We post new products all the time so it’s worth it to visit regularly. We use the postal overnight courier service to deliver anywhere in the country. A fantastic new web shop is currently under construction, and we hope to launch it next month. It will have an automatic check out and payment feature as well as a dedicated wholesale section. Winter is upon us – what are your secret winter warmers? My best is my fluffy gown. I wear it morning, noon and night! Eulalia has a fire going all the time, at home as well as in the shop. And we never say no to a spot of alcohol to warm the insides. If you’re in the mood to browse delightful crafts and vintage wonders, pop into 50-52 Main Road, Diep River, Cape Town. For more information call 021-713-2964, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ebonyandivoryribbons.co.za.