Around The World // Sam Schwikkard - Johannesburg, South Africa

March 24, 2014

I first met Sam through this advent swap where she sent me all sorts of stationery goodness from her little shop. Ever since then, we've kept in touch through the crazy world of Instagram and she was one of the very first people to keenly delve into this 'Around the World' series with me. 

Sam is so talented (just wait til you see her shop) and an all-round lovely lady with the biggest heart. I'm ecstatic to have her share the story behind her business and show off her beautiful town of Johannesburg with you all.


Hello hello, lovely to meet you! I’m Sam, a designer, stationery lover, creative thinker and dreamer from Jozi (Johannesburg) South Africa. What a huge privilege it is to be sharing a little bit about me and my southern most corner of the world on such an inspiring and all-round spectacular blog Life & Co. When Nia asked me to be a part of her “Around the World” series, I sure did my happy dance.

Here in Fourways, a suburb of Gauteng, my husband James and I live a happy and busy life running Elephantshoe. Together with Mushroom, our rather large grey Mainecoon cat, we work from our studio at home where we specialise in bespoke stationery design, custom branding and styling. We love meeting new people to work and collaborate with, and we are in heaven when we are brainstorming new products for our online shoppe - a place where you will find our apothecary of dreams from brown paper envelopes, stickers, and stamps to invitations, free printables and our absolute dearest product, our “I Love You” subscription box (which is a monthly surprise) and our “Good to be Alive” box containing our favourite Elephantshoe goodies. Our shoppe is a combination of old-world charm and new-world design. It’s a little bit of classic with a dash of new, a jar filled with love and a dollop of vintage and whimsy, all tied together with loveliness and beautifully photographed by one of our closest friends, photographer Andre Badenhorst from Blackframe Photography.


This year our little Ellieshoe business will be 4 years old – whoo hoo! What started as a single blog post about “Living what you Love” has turned into a life of love for my husband and our work together with weddings, small businesses and other like minded people around the world, like the lovely Nia. Even though our first post was in April 2010, I only began working full time in Elephantshoe following our wedding in October 2010. After having the most precious task of designing our wedding invitations and crafting the finer details of the day, I knew that I should follow my heart and move towards my love for paperie. 

At first I ran the business on my own with the emotional and financial support of James (he even collected paper for me on the odd occasion and helped me with quotations back then). When we were getting too many enquiries and my ideas were bigger than I could handle, James took the leap from the telecommunications world and landed right in the middle of Elephantshoe. It has been the most wonderful journey together filled with problem solving, planning and deadlines. We have made mistakes and taken on way too much at times, but we have learnt a lot about each other and what it takes to run a family business. Why Elephantshoe you may be asking? Whisper the words without making a sound to the person you love and you will see that the words mouthed out look like you are saying I LOVE YOU.


We love our beautiful country as it has so many wonderful diverse beliefs, traditions and landscapes - the perfect home for a creative couple. We can draw inspiration from the African culture, trendy coffee shops, cafes and stores in Jozi CBD. Just walking down the street, chatting to a friend who speaks another language (we have 11 official languages here in SA) can spark a creative thought and a glorious idea. 

Cape Town has always been considered our country's creative gem and in fact, was recognized for using design as a tool for social, cultural and economic development and recently voted the 2014 World Design Capital. You can find out a little more about this hereWe in Joburg couldn’t be prouder of our Mother City but we are quickly catching up with new innovative businesses, places and projects popping up. James and I love to visit some of these hot spots whenever we get a chance. Although working from the comfort of our home has many wonderful benefits (like not having to sit in the crazy morning traffic and being able to eat our lunch on our little patio), it’s also important for us to get out and about for a change of scenery and some fresh inspiration.

Coffee, oh glorious coffee! The aroma feeds our creativity, which is why we love to meet new clients, discuss projects and conceptualize ideas in these inspired places. The busyness of coffee shops brewing fresh coffee, students completing their assignments, people reading and friends chatting away together somehow make us feel alive. We are always visiting new spots in Jozi to experience the unique things they have to offer but for now, here are some of the ones we love most.


Double Shot Coffee & Tea on the corner of Juta and Melle Street. Located in the city center, James and I found this small trendy roastery on our trip home from one of our printing suppliers. We were looking for a quick cuppa and we couldn’t resist this place with its large vinyl letter signage & strong roasted coffee smell.

Our Elephantshoe friend, fellow blogger and talented photographer Marsel Roothman took these authentic shots of some of our happy places for her blog, which is dedicated to showing new wonders of our cityWolves café, a little coffee spot in Illovo is pretty and awesome. They sell 2 of my dearest things - cake and art.


Father Coffee, a roastery and espresso bar in Braamfontein. We are obsessed with their chevron wooden walls, their clean Scandinavian look and the quaint floating couple booths set against each wall.


The Whippet in Linden not only serves amazing coffee but is also a great stop for business lunches, always full of photographers, designers and creative folk. We are most likely to bump into one of our friends here.


Sundays are for family and friends, and there are so many new interesting markets popping up around our city such as the Collective Market, where we've had an Elephantshoe stand selling some of our paperie products at the Fourways Farmers Market. The fresh produce, live music, picnic on the lawn and festivities make this perfect for a lazy summer day.



This year we are on a journey to balance both our working, deadline driven, business life with our personal life. With our country being so magnificent and so many interesting and beautiful places to visit, we have realized the importance of taking time off for small getaways and moments with the many special people we have been blessed with. Balance is the key and I’m learning more and more about this stretching word. I don’t have all the answers but I hope to achieve it one day.



Adventure is ahead of us and we couldn’t be more excited about the world we live in today. I can’t wait to read the next 'Around the World' post here on Life & Co and learn a little more about a new place and insight into all the other creative ladies' lives. Thank you Nia!

[Follow Sam - Shop / Blog / Facebook / Instagram]

13 comments:

  1. All those eateries look awesome!!! And I can't wait to check out Elephantshoe!! I've been on the lookout for really good stationery shops!! danni xo

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    1. Don't they? I'm still not over the chevron wood walls... Definitely check out Elephantshoe - Sam & James do such a wonderful job with their stationery x

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  2. it looks so similar to Sydney!! gorgeous places you eat & drink at Sam. no wonder why you feel inspired there :)

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    1. I thought that too when I first saw Sam's photos!

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  3. that volcanic orange juice does look... volcanic. What i want to know is what that chocolate covered donut is..

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    1. Me too. Sam - what is that gorgeous donut of a thing?

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  4. I love the type used on that Father's coffee packaging!!!! Simple yet sophisticated. Sam, what a fun lively place you live in xx

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    1. I know Kate, I'm crushing on that packaging too!!!

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  5. !!! I'm hoping to make it back to South Africa in August and am OBVIOUSLY bookmarking this for reference. Wolves have been on my list forever and Father? Oh freaking my.

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    1. Ohhhh lucky you! Father Coffee... I can't even. I mean, seriously...

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  6. My husband is South African born but grew up here in Sydney, he's never been back so we're planning to visit sometime early next year :) This will definitely come in handy for our trip :) Good to know we won't have to part with good coffee (unlike our trip to Europe) !!

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    1. Enjoy your trip! And yes, it doesn't look like you'll be short of great coffee there ;)

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  7. I visited SA a few years ago and visited Wolves but never came across Father!!!! Omygod the interior of that place is enough reasoning for me to go back SOON!!!!!

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