There are tons of great businesses here! Created by savvy, smart, and caring business professionals. We take a look at what several of our local businesses offer and how they are supporting their community through their products and services.

Rockingchair Photography 

Antoinette McDonald shares more about her business with us, “My business is primarily about storytelling. I feel like I stumbled into photography after working full-time in television production where I was writing, directing, and producing. I have been shooting under the banner of Rockingchair for almost 10 years now, encompassing Lifestyle and Food Photography”.

We asked Antoinette why she named herself “Rockingchair” and she explained, “Because that’s where great stories are held and told. Whether I’m documenting the love between a family, or the essence of a menu at a new restaurant, I find myself caught up in and trying to capture the story. Stories are everywhere. My love for story and words extends into the journaling workshops I teach, as well into the podcast that I host and produce, ‘The Beautiful Pursuit’”.

She also shared about her endeavours when she isn’t taking photographs, “When I am not behind the camera, I am teaching all over the country (for now mainly at Brookdale Health Hydro in Nottingham Road). I spend a day a week working on Nottingham Road Tourism – creating content and photographing this magnificent place I get to call home after living in Jo’burg for 17 years”.


Dr Nicola Frickel

Dr Nicola Frickel is a registered osteopath who returned to South Africa in 2009 after completing her degree at the British School of Osteopathy in London, United Kingdom. Her life experiences and 18 years in her professional field, with the addition of sports and pregnancy massage diplomas, and a background in nursing, have given her a wide scope of practice. She has great experience in treating a range of patients from athletes, office workers, the elderly, and youngsters. She tells us more about her treatment offerings below:


“When all parts of the body are in line, we have perfect health,” A.T. Still, founder of osteopathy. Osteopathy is a touch and movement-based form of manual therapy that looks at relieving muscle tension, increasing joint mobility, and helping to restore balance in the body with body alignment. Thereby, it enhances blood and nerve supply to tissues, promoting the body’s own ability to heal itself. The scope of treatment includes back and neck pains, limb, and joint pains, sports injuries, jaw and sinus pains, and trapped nerve pain.

Cranial Osteopathy

Is a subtle and gentle treatment focusing on the skull mobilisation to allow fluid motion within and around the brain to influence the health of the whole body via its connection to the spine. The scope of treatment includes headaches and migraines, anxiety, and general body pain.

Alignment Therapy

Is the foundation of health. A whole-body approach using manipulation, articulation, massage, and myofascial release techniques. The ideal alignment of the body minimises strain on the spine, muscles, and joints. It allows the body to function at an optimal biomechanical state allowing for efficiency with activity and avoiding the recurrence of injuries. The scope of practice includes athletes, post-injury or surgery, general body misalignment, and during and post-pregnancy.

Facebook: @nicola.frickel

Wilcote KZN Midlands

Martin Buissinne tells us, “It is part of a greater team of franchises within South Africa with currently 18 different areas of coverage with our head office in Ballito. The Midlands branch consists of 40 skilled, dedicated and customer-orientated staff that will come out and visit your area for a free quote on your roofing, waterproofing, or painting requests – we even have ladies qualified to work at heights first in the group.”

The business started over 30 years ago in Pietermaritzburg and has grown in strength through a strong ethos and ECO-friendly, proudly South African products, that have solved many issues in the past.

They can boast that they are the only company in South Africa to manufacture and apply their products, ensuring all are water-based, so no harmful chemicals to the environment or people. In 2021, within the community, they have also painted a school, placed a roof on the SPCA, and donated over 100 food parcels to the homeless and foster children, in conjunction with CMD in PMB, plus partake in agricultural shows within the Midlands. Buissinne expresses proudly, “Assisting where we can, we strive to give back, as we feel we are blessed by the community. We stand for “first time right” workmanship which carries the guarantee, supported by our strong brand”.


Kate Butlin Hearing Solutions  

Is a private hearing healthcare practise, based in Midlands, owned and run by a born and bred Howick local, Kate-Marie Butlin. She has a Psychology degree from Rhodes University and a postgraduate certificate in Education from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. In 2009, she graduated from Pretoria University with an advanced diploma in Hearing Aid Acoustics and began practising as a hearing aid acoustician in 2010. In 2018 she opened her own private practice, Kate-Marie Hearing Solutions.

She is caring and empathetic and extremely passionate about her work, sharing that, “Every patient is unique,  and my patient-centred approach to hearing healthcare enables me to assist my patients in finding the right hearing solution to suit their individual needs”. With 12 years of experience working in the hearing healthcare profession, you can rest assured that you will be in very capable hands.

She has consulting rooms in Pietermaritzburg (Hayfields), Howick (Howick Health Centre), and Hilton (Hilton Health at Life Hospital) and she has mobile equipment for a house or hospital calls.

Services offered:

  • Hearing tests
  • Treatment and rehabilitation options for hearing loss
  • Free trial period with hearing devices
  • Hearing aid adjustments, services, and repairs
  • Hearing aid batteries and accessories
  • Telephone amplifiers
  • Custom swim plugs
  • Custom noise protection plugs


The Ellenbird  

Trudi Moran opened the doors to her new business and welcomed her first customers on 1 March 2017 in Hilton. Her passion is for people – their happiness, success, and bringing them in as part of the family. It is something you can see and feel as you walk in, and has allowed her the perfect environment to let that soul and passion shine through.

It is structured around being a home away from home. A place that gives children a safe and healthy environment to play in whilst parents can relax and enjoy something indulgent at the coffee shop, or browse through the gift shop. A place to catch up with old friends, and to make new ones. Treat a special someone, hold a business breakfast or lunch, weekly meetings for groups, or even just catch your breath on your own for a little while. It’s a place where you will always be made to feel welcome.

Community is a large part of what The Ellenbird stands for, and supplying crafts from over 90 local suppliers, Trudi has found a niche to stock what she feels is needed by our local community, by supporting these many, very creative, individuals who need an outlet for their products. Most of the items are handmade with love or are sourced with pride. The coffee shop caters to everyone. Affordable and delicious, wholesome, healthy or not. The team has worked hard to provide a superior variety of gluten-free meals. Seated, takeaway or even frozen meals are available.

With a beautiful wide veranda, and indoor seating area – the weather is never a problem and they have also incorporated a safe toddlers’ play area, situated directly off the veranda. The garden is a great source of entertainment for all the children – happy, healthy, and good fun. There is a fantastic party area that is covered and paved which is a great venue giving you a blank canvas to create a party that suits your wishes. Small workshops and pop-up fun days are also hosted on occasions.

Rooiboi, and his car wash team, have recently joined The Ellenbird family, and he runs a superb car wash service. His team works diligently, and with pride. You will feel like you are leaving in a new car! With a convenient setting and a willingness to go the extra mile for whatever it is you may be looking for – the team at Ellenbird hopes that you will find exactly what you need. 

Facebook: @TheEllenBird

Shutters Etc.

Bruce and Debbie Meikle share, “We are a local business passionate about bringing the best quality products at affordable prices to your homes. We specialise in supplying and installing a wide range of security and decorative products to cover all your door, window, and patio openings”.

Products include security shutters, expander doors, gates, screen doors, roller shutters, and armed clear view bars. For a more subtle approach to your homes, they use decorative wood and aluminium shutters, fixed louvre shutters, manual and automated blinds, insect and monkey screens, canvas blinds, awnings, pergolas, and aluminium frames.

All products are factory guaranteed and they offer a six-month warranty plan to service and maintain your products if required.

Having many years of experience in the industry, the team at Shutters Etc. sought to use products that are proudly South African, manufactured locally with the intention to boost the local economy. Our country suffered a huge blow due to the COVID pandemic, and they believe that the best way to rebuild this is through supporting locals and seeking the best products manufactured around the country.

Seeking the quiet country life for them and their family, Bruce and Debbie saw the potential to offer local farmers, home and business owners, products to suit their needs and incorporate the Cape Town flair to keep elegance and style whilst keeping them safe from the wild.

Bruce had grown up as a Midlands boy, with some local knowledge, which gave them the opportunity and advantage to start with confidence. They decided to pack up life in the vibrant big city of Cape Town and move with their then one-year-old twins to start a new life in the heart of the Natal Midlands countryside.

Launching in March 2021, they have been graced with fantastic support and a really wonderful reaction from the locals towards products, services, and work ethic. Having worked at some of the biggest developments in the Western Cape, they acquired a keen eye for design, unique placement, and flair for each and every product. There is a huge demand for good service and quality products that last which is exactly what they strive to deliver.

Bruce and Debbie share, “Being a family-run business based in the central Midlands allows us to cover a vast area – from coast to country! We are thoroughly enjoying the ‘Midlands and love the local vibe.’ We look forward to bringing happiness and joy to our customers and community. Standing together for a safer and brighter tomorrow”.


eL Intimates 

Lydia Nel shared her story with us and how eL Intimates started, “My journey started in 2019 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. In one day, your whole life and your family’s lives are turned upside down. I was allergic to the dressings used after the operation, which made the recovery process very uncomfortable. Also, I did not have the knowledge of mastectomy bras and how they can help you adjust to your new body. All you see are the scars and feel the loss of your womanhood.

With God’s grace and amazing support from family and friends, I survived this traumatic time and today I am in remission. Going through this process as well as the reconstruction journey, I realised the need for supportive underwear for all ladies, not only mastectomy patients”.

eL Intimates opened in April 2021 to supply exquisite lingerie to all women as well as mastectomy wear and plus-size garments. They offer fittings at their premises in a private and positive environment and source and supply items for all sizes using suppliers invested in making every woman feel special.

Furthermore, eL Intimates supports quite a few local suppliers, valuing their talent and wanting to give them a platform for exposure. They also have an imported range that is one of its kind and very unique.

Lydia further shares, “I did not want the boutique to be in a busy retail complex due to the fact that my clients need a discreet environment to be comfortable to come for an appointment. I offer a mostly by-appointment-only service to give each client the attention and privacy they deserve. We are however open for walk-ins on Saturdays. At eL Intimates every woman will be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve”.

Instagram: @elintimateskzn

Words by: Alicia Du Plessis