You could say it’s growing season for Ruby Chetty, the creative green fingers behind Ruby Kiss’s. It’s tucked away in a modest location at the Market Square Shopping Center in Plett, next to PnP. At a glance, the storefront reads like a plant nursery and florist; but it’s also a boutique, and not just of botanicals.
Unruly houseplants and tiny, prim succulents grow among cloth bags and orchids, bridal accessories, gift packaging (some fleamarket- sourced) and locally-made jewelry – all for sale.
“People who are not interested in plants but who are interested in looking for add-on gifts, handbags or trinkets— may end up buying a special plant,” she explains.
And roses play centre-stage at Ruby Kiss’s – you will find them on her company branding, in buckets and they are also featured on many of the trinkets in the shop. For her plants and flowers, she keeps a huge range of pot plant holders and a big range of vases, in many shapes and sizes. From Crystal all the way down to simplicity.
I watch her taking orders by phone, chatting with walk-ins and speaking with her husband of 45 years, who works in the shop with her. I see a smart businesswoman of South African Indian descent. She has rouged cheeks and lips, drawn back hair and strong graceful hands. She has a red flower pin in her hair, is dressed in red and black and has a penchant for rose cutting shears and her cellphone.
“I first came to Plett in 1995 during a Garden Route family holiday, my husband and I stayed at the Stromboli Guest House (now a retirement village). We took a stroll along Plett’s Main Street and popped into the last Agency where we met real estate agent Elton Chéze. We bought the 10th stand he showed us – on Dassen Island Drive, where we have built our home and guest house. We finally moved in, later in 2007 and have been a part of beautiful Plett since.” “I love new challenges,” she says. That and “the way flowers change all the time depending on the season. It allows me to be creative, this is a creative industry.”
Ruby admits she is inspired by what others choose off the internet, creating new designs, although she is not new to the industry. Ruby married very young, in 1974, and then had her first of three children in 1975 – Sagree. When Sagree was 9 months old, the family moved to Johannesburg.
She has garnered 40+ years of work experience and never allowed her background obstacles to define her. She attended college when her youngest was just a year old, where she learnt typing and general office work – Ruby was ready to enter the workplace… // continued