There’s that joke about not being able to get anything done from the 16th December to mid-January as South Africa shuts down for summer holidays. While there’s truth to that, things don’t shut down quite as much as they used to. There was a time when Joburg would turn into the quietest city with shops closing at 1 pm and others shutting down for the summer. Now pretty much every store stays open – and keeps regular hours.


For small business owners the decision to shut down for a month has to be carefully weighed out. Many will work through the holidays especially in the beginning. But at what cost? What’s better for you and your business? Working non-stop or taking time off to rest, re-calibrate and come back ready to tackle a new year? Three small business owners opened up about why they choose to shut down during summer, giving themselves and their employees a much-needed break.


Nicole Jowett of T-Shirts for Change

Small Business Owners on the Value of Taking Time Off Nicole Jowett is the founder of T-shirts for Change. A profit for purpose business that sells slogan t-shirts and apparel, while giving part of the profits to local charities. In the past year, Nicole has moved her business in the sustainable direction by creating a Re-Wear collection of t-shirts that are made using recycled plastic (I’m currently wearing the plain white one) and removing plastic packaging from deliveries.


This year she’ll be closing her business for 4 weeks over December and January


On deciding to take time off…

For the last two years I’ve kept working and kept my shop open through December and January. I would only close for a week at most and ended up carting my work with me on holidays, only to not get that many orders.  My factories close from the 20th of December to the 15th of January so I can’t do any of my own CMT or custom orders for clients anyway.  In the past I tried running holiday promotions to boost sales over the holiday period, but they never worked. This year I decided to listen to my audience and close.


On the benefits of taking time off and completely shutting down…

The benefits for myself and employees within my supply chain are that we are all able to take a complete break from work; and not have jobs and tasks floating up in the air, and in the back of our minds.  I make sure to close off all my jobs when my factory closes, so there are no unfinished jobs when they close that they would have to pick up in the New Year.  This year, I briefed my factory on the jobs we’ll start on in January, so that I can take a full rest knowing I have my direction mapped out for the New Year.  This helps me completely detach from work for a full four weeks and come back ready to hit the ground running.


Nicola of Simply Granola

Small Business Owners on the Value of Taking Time Off Nicola founded Simply Granola, a food brand dedicated to creating wholesome, delicious and simple granola. Each batch is made individually by hand from start to finish for a made-at-home feel combined with luxury (the packaging is exquisite). She’s expanded to included snacks and reusable snacking containers.


This year she is shutting down for a whole month. Friday 13th December was the last day for orders and she’ll reopen on Wednesday 15th January.


On deciding to take time off…

My number one reason is my family. Since making the move to self-employment myself and my husband have placed a very high premise on lifestyle choices and decisions that honor our time together as a family. I also think it’s so important to unwind, regroup, rest and make sure your kick-off the new year with refreshed energy and vigor, renewed vision and excitement for what you keep yourself busy with each day.


On the benefits of taking time off and completely shutting down…

Everyone needs a complete 100% no-brains-on-work period. We work hard but play hard too. A complete shutdown is enforced to ensure that we look beyond and remember there is more to life than work and the daily grind we so often lose ourselves in.


Xan Fraser of Bena Loungewear

Small Business Owners on the Value of Taking Time Off Xan founded Bena loungewear, South African produced luxury sleepwear inspired by the days of matching timeless silk pj’s. In addition to their magnificent range of sleepwear, Bena has introduced trackwear for those of us who love a matching track set and dresses.


This year, Bena is closing from 23 December – 8 January 2020.Orders can still made in this time, but will only be dispatched in the new year once they reopen.


On deciding to take time off…

We need a break. And an online store is full on! 24/7. There are a couple of reasons why we shut down fully.

1. We need a break

2. Online stores are very invasive in terms screen time, and I owe it to my family and kids to take a proper break from my laptop, phone and social media.


On the benefits of taking time off and completely shutting down…

My employees and I need a proper break after a long very full and amazing year. I feel this is important to come back refreshed and inspired, ready to take on 2020!


Are you shutting down or working through December? Share with us in the comments!

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