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What is it about baby showers that sends (most) women rushing to the stores to buy the best, most useful or cutest gifts they can find?

It’s the instinct to make a new baby feel loved and cherished as soon as it’s born. It’s probably for the same reason that personalised baby gifts have become all the rage in recent years.

Sarie Esterhuizen has been making a living off the trend, embroidering towels, blankets, bath cloths and burp cloths (complete with crocheted border!) for countless little ones soon to be born. “It’s something truly unique; you simply cannot find it in a store,” she says about the gifts she sells at the Pure Boland Market each month.

But while the baby gifts are some of her top sellers, they are far from the only ones. The ladies can stock up on table cloths, salad covers, tea towels, aprons and the like, while shirts and braai towels make handy gifts for the men. Guesthouse owners order personalised towel sets, while holiday makers love the ocean-themed navy, red and white beach towels.

It’s all thanks to the notebook Sarie uses for jotting down ideas. “I always try to stock items that people will be able to use every day. My latest invention is a lightweight kiddies’ duvet that folds into a little carry bag with a shoulder strap, which the child can easily carry around. It’s excellent for outdoor or evening events.”

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Small beginnings

Sarie started her embroidering business about four years ago, and joined the Groenstoor one year later. Although she had owned her own clothing store years ago in North West, and made much of the children’s wear herself, embroidery was something completely novel. “I had a friend with a machine and ever since I saw her working, I dreamed of my own machine. I started saving and managed to buy a small little machine.”

At first Sarie sold her products from home, until a friend’s daughter encouraged her to set up shop at the market. Nowadays she has a whole room full of sophisticated machines capable of stitching the most intricate patterns. Her husband Richard, a Transnet employee, joins the assembly line when the orders pile up.

Sarie sells her goods at various regional markets, but the Pure Boland Market remains an anchor event. “Tharina has taken a couple of us on a learning trip to other markets, and if we are uncertain about anything, she goes to great lengths to help us,” she says about Pure Boland founder and owner, Tharina Jonker. “And it’s through the Groenstoor that more people came to know us.”

Sarie uses only Glodina towels and cloths for the bathroom and baby products, while she sources fabric for the blankets from Johannesburg. She believes in using only high-quality fabric, which results in high-quality gifts. Customers can visit the next Groenstoor (the first Saturday of every month, except January) to buy gifts, or put in orders for pick-up the next month.

• For more information on the Pure Boland Market, click here.

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For the little ones.
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For the men.
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For the home-makers.
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Sarie Esterhuizen, doing business at the Pure Boland Market.
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