Passion & Poison

Thankfully we are surrounded by colourful, interesting and adventurous people each day. In the years of being in this interiors trade, I have had the privilege of meeting many such colourful characters. Today’s guest, Riaan from Passion & Poison is one of them. 

I first encountered the Passion & Poison shop a few years ago. It was fun and interesting then, as it is now. As you will learn from Riaan’s interview he sources his stock from Turkey.  Stepping into this shop, is like stepping into a Turkish market – full of eastern style surprises, transporting you to that part of the world and its culture.

He has all sorts of fascinating goodies, from furniture, lamps, accessories and scatters, beds, bags, fabrics – too many to mention. I would rather encourage you to go see for yourself. Plus he is very involved in the design of his scatters, bed linen and fabrics.

Q:   What lead you to open Passion & Poison?

A:   Passion & Poison was never planned, in the sense that we ever thought of opening an interior shop, focusing on Turkish textiles and antiques.

We were in Egypt at the time, busy sourcing high-end men’s fashion suppliers with the idea of opening a small upmarket men’s clothing shop.

During our stay, my partner suggested that we should consider going to Turkey, as the flight was short.

I will never forget the next morning waking up in Istanbul, seeing the people, buildings and culture. We fell in love with this dynamic country immediately and our little clothing shop was canned! It all happened so naturally. We were like hungry foxes going through alleys and markets. Within 4 days, the foundation was set for our future shop.

Turkey is a very under estimated country with wonderful history and culture. After all the years it still feels like the morning of your birthday when you were a kid, filled with excitement for what you might get.

Q:   Why the name Passion & Poison?

A:   The name has no real meaning but it boils down to that one man’s passion might be another’s poison……..

Q:   What do you enjoy most about your ‘job’?

A:   SOURCING! I love going to all the villages, markets and suppliers – sourcing wonderful new concepts and ideas. The creative side of the textiles is another love. The whole manufacturing process from basic idea to the final item is just like one huge roller coaster ride.

Q:   What type of product do you source mostly?

A:   Textiles remain the number one item. From custom woven Hamam towels, to upmarket upholstery and curtain fabrics. Silk scarves and scatter cushions. Fabric, fabric and yet more fabric. Old ornamental pieces like fountains, pots and carpets also remains in the front line.

Q:   Your five-year plan?

A:   Unfortunately with the world economy as it is now and the political tension in South Africa, I can only hope and pray that the shop will still be in existence! It sounds harsh but it is a fact. Only hard work and remaining focused could carry one through.  So in short I am focussing on excellent client service, breathtaking stock and a lot of blood sweat and tears.

Q:   A bit more personal – what is your favourite past –time when not in the shop?

A:   I love to paint. It is my escape from reality. Otherwise I love music, cooking Turkish food and once in a navy blue moon I will watch a movie.

Q:    Do you have a colour that you favour most and why?

A:   That is an extremely unfair question! I don’t have one. I have a couple. So please bear with me.  Fuscia pink, red, acid green, orange and Turquoise.

Q:   Tell us five things on your Bucket List?

1.  I want to go and stay in Turkey.

2.  I want to learn how to make sculptures

3.  I want to have a huge art exhibition

4.  I want to settle down with that “special person”.

5.  I want to visit Russia.

Q:   What do you have on your bedside table?

A:   I am reading a book for the second time called “Call me by your name”.  A rosary (which I collect), and hand cream. That’s it!

You will find Passion & Poison at the very top of Strand Street where it meets Hudson Street  in Cape Town– left hand side going up in the Hudson Building Showroom 2, De Waterkant .  Should you wish to call him, their shop number is: 021-4193840.   


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