1. How did the idea of Melissa’s come about?


Mark and Melissa van Hoogstraten opened their first Melissa’s store in August 1996 in Kloof Street, Cape Town. In 1996, young and newly married and still figuring out what to do for a living, Melissa’s husband Mark suggested she open a little shop selling things she loved and had baked that day. Today, the business has grown into a national brand with a total of 19 stores nationwide and an extensive retail range sold in over 300 national retailers. The business continues to go from strength to strength.


  1. What is the idea behind the range of goods for sale?


At Melissa’s, products are created with the best ingredients possible – made just like you would at home. We rely on real ingredients such as butter, fruit, chocolate and freshly ground coffee to create colour and flavour as opposed to cheap artificial colourants & flavourings. No cost engineering is tolerated in our products and never do we compromise on quality to boost profits.


  1. Without giving away your secrets, where do you source your range of products and what was the decision behind the selection? Do you produce some of your own products?


The vast majority of our products are our idea and then we work to source local partners to help bring that idea or recipe to life; this makes working closely with like-minded partners incredibly important. They have to share our vision and values.


  1. What is unique about Melissa’s?


Melissa’s is about understanding the value of quality, where one appreciates that having less, but the best, more often than not leads to a richer experience. We value original, time-honoured production principles and philosophies and it’s this value system that has driven our company strategy. Melissa’s is therefore unique in that it is really selling a personal mantra rather than a brand. This is reflected in our stores & products which embody these values.



  1. What plans do you have to grow the franchise?


The Melissa’s footprint has expanded throughout South Africa. In 2012, we adopted a franchise model to facilitate our growth of the brand but retain company-owned stores. The majority of stores are based in the Western Cape but the brand has expanded to Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Ballito. There are more new stores in the pipeline in 2018 in the Western Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape.


  1. Niccy you own and run the Gauteng Dainfern Square franchise, how did you find out about Melissa’s?


I spent many years in the travel industry, but I always wanted to own a coffee shop, and when I saw an advert for franchise opportunities for Melissa’s I was immediately drawn to the image of fresh produce, the range of jams, preservatives, confectionary and their extensive range of other products.


I love baking and my mom was a good cook, always making cakes and biscuits instead of buying them, and Melissa’s reminded me so much of this.  I loved the idea of having my own shop and being able to sell all these wholesome and amazing products.


  1. What is special about Melissa’s at Dainfern square?


Apart from the quality of the products, it’s a coffee shop with a lovely homely atmosphere, filled with a fantastic range of natural products, great food, and the very best coffee.


Note from the editor:


Melissa’s has undoubtedly the finest carrot cake in Johannesburg. Treat yourself to a slice of carrot cake and a coffee of your choice – life does not get better than that!  And by the way don’t leave without a purchase from the array of fine food, home and gift goodies that are the trademark of Melissa’s!



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