So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire!

During this crazy COVID time,  businesses are taking HUGE strain so it is important to showcase and share local finds – and this is a special one!

So I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I get a gift that I do not love. I always feel like it is such a waste of money. So a voucher is MY BEST as then I can choose my own gifts – something that fits, something that suits me, things I need or want. Vouchers are often perceived as thoughtless or impersonal gifts. I beg to disagree! I believe by giving a voucher, that is even more thoughtful!

That’s where Open Sesame comes in! They offer a website full of different local brands and businesses, where by you can be gifted a voucher from there and then you can choose what YOU want! Its genius.

And if you are the gift giver, you don’t have to look any further, as there is so much choice when it comes to brands and vouchers to purchase for the special people in your life.

And for those living outside of South Africa, this is also an awesome gifting idea for you to spoil your loved ones here in South Africa.

Please check out their website here, as well as giving them a follow on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

And they are looking for more local brands and businesses to jump on board – so if this sounds like a good partnership for you to get into (and I’m telling you it definitely is!), then please contact Open Sesame NOW!

We chatted to the lovely ladies, Bridget and Donne, behind Open Sesame and they had this to say to us!

Tell us about your business and why you started it.

Open Sesame was born, as with many things recently, out of lockdown. As we watched birthdays, weddings and other celebrations come and go and we did not have the ability to just pop out to purchase a gift and drop it off, we started thinking about alternative ways to mark these occasions. At the same time we were cognizant of how many local awesome businesses, which had taken time and effort, and usually some real sweat and tears to build up, were falling apart.

We knew we wanted to work together to try and help solve both these issues. We also realized that many smaller businesses don’t have the ability to make money online – so we wanted to provide this option to them. And so Open Sesame came about – an online gift voucher store for small and local businesses. We didn’t want it to just be any old voucher, and quite liked the idea of using technology to improve the whole gift voucher experience – we also wanted a voucher with a beautiful design, which could be personalised and scheduled for an appropriate date and which could give you access to lots of stores.

What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting Open Sesame – I know it’s early days but perhaps some insights?

Starting a business from scratch is seriously hard work! Do not underestimate it! There is never an off time.

We have found that businesses we have a personal connection with are more likely to hear us out and support the idea – so it was a good place to start – but it has been quite hard getting vendors who don’t know us to listen to the value of Open Sesame, despite there being no downside for them. So we have exploited every connection we have, and have ended up with some really awesome business. But we would like to sign up more vendors that also just see the great value in it.

The online gift voucher technology that is available is quite complicated, and it was hard to find the right system, but we really did persevere until it worked how we wanted it to, rather than settling for something less.

How it works:

1. Go through the list of brand partners on Open Sesame’s website and pick which would suit your occasion or person receiving the gift, best.

2. Choose the voucher design that you love the best! There are many to choose from. Then pick the Rand value of the voucher you would like to gift.

3. Add your own very special message! Checkout, pay and the voucher will be sent! Easy peasy.

What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?

There is always a way.

Be brave and back yourself.

We are all able to do anything, even with very little money! Doesn’t always need a fortune spent on it to make it good.

Where do you see your business in 5 years time?

We would love to have over 200 vendors signed up, and be generating business for each of those, as well as be actively involved in profiling their businesses to our base. We would love to extend the technology even more, and have a cutting edge voucher system unique to SA.

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