24 Jul Self-Starters: Angie Batis Durrant
Creative all-star Angie Batis Durrant has a 10 year advertising career behind her and the world at her feet. Based in Johannesburg, Angie is the co-owner of Wolves Cafe and The Good Luck Club with her husband Shane (of SA band Desmond and the Tutus), is one part of the 4-founder team behind Father Coffee, is the editor/curator/blogger/sharer of good-looking things behind Lucky Pony, and still finds the time to tackle freelance art direction and interior projects like this one.
Next door is neighbourhood noodle and dim sum bar, The Good Luck Club. Father coffee is Angie’s latest endeavor, recently launched in Braamfontein in partnership with Nick Christowitz, Barry Weedon and Chad Goddard.
Angie’s popular blog Lucky Pony is a space where she shares her online finds, all the things she loves and collects, and offers a peek into her life. Through this platform she creates content with brand partners like Levi’s.
For our entrepreneurship-focused series, Self-Starters, we found out how she does it all.
Since it opened Wolves has become a Johannesburg institution. How, why and when did you decide to open the business?
We decided about 3 and half years ago that Illovo needed a cool place for us and our friends/the community to hang out in. We lived in Illovo and there was nowhere to go to just hang out and have a coffee, so when a space opened up across the way from my apartment building Shane and I, together with a friend Greg (who is no longer a part of the business) decided to open a spot where all things nice and fun would happen.
You’ve recently opened The Good Luck Club and Father Coffee. How does a new business idea begin for you?
To tell you the truth all 3 businesses have begun with just us almost joking about starting a business and then getting more and more excited and serious about it. Good Luck was opened after Shane and I watched a handful of businesses open and close in that particular space, we then decided that we would take a chance on it and see what happens. Touch wood it worked out well 🙂 And as for Father, that started with myself and 2 friends of mine, Nick and Barry wanting to make a cool product that we could launch and sell. Ideas started in the gin arena and swiftly moved on to coffee, once we decided that that’s what we wanted to do, we set the wheels in motion and together with our 4th partner, Chad, Father was born.
What are the challenges you’ve found with starting new projects like these?
Staff is always a challenge, everything else seems to just work and fall into place. I mean sure we had hiccups on all the projects, but for me the one thing that I still battle with a bit is the staff issue. We have super cool guys that work with us in all the shops, but we still have issues and it sucks when you think you know someone, but actually you don’t.
Are there good stories behind the names of your businesses?
Wolves came about from a picture that we had of 3 wolves kissing (play fighting) each other, we would always joke about getting these wolves to come to the shop to attract people, I mean obviously we were joking, but then one day Shane pitched it as a name and that was that. I’m not sure how the The Good Luck Club came about, we were just throwing some names around and we liked the way that sounded and that it had the word club in it. Father came about after many, many, many meetings about various names and eventually it was the only word that all 4 of us could agree on and we liked that it represented an important person in all of our lives.
How do you manage to balance the three businesses, your successful blog Lucky Pony and keep up a freelance career in art direction and various creative projects?
Good question, like I said before we have some cool people that work for us, which helps a lot. And Shane and I always have each other’s back, when the one needs to time to do something the other one takes on a bit more responsibility. I’m lucky that it all works out, I have time to do my blog, I have time to freelance and to be at the shops and I have time to just do nothing (which is awesome).
How would you say your background in advertising and art direction has benefitted you?
It’s definitely helped me to think differently. The game of advertising opens your mind up like no ones business because you are constantly challenged to come up with new ideas. Every day involves a new brief that has to be solved in a way that hasn’t been done, seen or heard before.
How do you choose people to partner with?
Well up until just recently it’s only been Shane and I, which means that I have been partnering with my best friend. The last partnership (Father) developed because all of us wanted to start something exciting and so we decided to stop talking about it and just get on with it.
How has being situated in Johannesburg affected your businesses?
All 3 businesses are in cool areas, Illovo is one of the raddest suburbs in Joburg (I’m not being biased) and Braamfontein is such a great spot that’s only getting better and better the more that opens there. It’s exciting to see that part of the city developing into a cool hang out spot. So I would say being situated in Johannesburg has affected our businesses in the best way because Johannesburg is a damn awesome place full of damn awesome people.
Would you ever expand elsewhere?
We have chatted about it before, I think we will if the opportunity ever presented itself. I think Durban is the next big thing.
What advice would you give a young creative entrepreneur looking to follow in similar footsteps?
In the infamous words of Dan Widen, “Just do it”.
There is something on the cards, but i can’t really chat about it now, it’s still very early stages 🙂 I also have a few personal projects that I’m working on that involve ceramics and jewellery, but things take time, so they’re not quite ready to push out of the nest yet.
Howl at Wolves Cafe: