The Charly’s concept has been around since 1989,
when Charly and Jacqui Biess opened a restaurant in Thibault Square. We expanded with a move to the V&A Waterfront, where our popularity increased – our yummy breakfasts and lunch buffets had people queuing for hours. But there CAN be too much of a good thing, so we decided to downsize and opened a wholesale cake bakery in Roeland Street. The delicious aromas wafting out the windows attracted office workers from the advertising agency behind our building, banging on the windows and demanding to be able to buy a slice of something decadent.
We soon realised that we could create something fun and unique in Cape Town by reopening to the public and specialising in beautiful baked cakes and cupcakes. The more fun we had, the more quirky we became, and when Alexandra, and later Daniella and Roch, joined the business, we became the Charly’s Bakery as you know it today.
It started with a few cupcakes, and a few messages written on cakes – but it soon became clear that the fun we were having could create something far more magical.
With the introduction of “Charly-isms” like luf luf, gooi gooi and putting glitter on EVERYTHING, we soon made our mark on the Cape Town cake scene, developing our look and our signature style – the Charly’s brand was born!
We became known for our bright colours, exciting and unusual cakes, but most of all, our belief in saying YES to whatever we could – no task was too much! This business ethic meant that as the business grew, so did our desire to produce more spectacular creations.
When we bought our dream Victorian 2-storey building at #38 Canterbury Street, on the border of District 6 (just around the corner from our previous location), we knew we had finally found a home in which we could let our imaginations run wild.
This big move meant we went from being a bakery of 12 staff to having more than 40 staff, and have become a landmark destination for locals and tourists alike.
As our brand developed we have become more and more creative, and our focus has shifted to designing personalised bespoke cakes, as well as keeping our bakery shop counter constantly stocked with a variety of Wickedly decadent goodies for the hungry hordes who queue out the door.
In 2010 we caught the attention of local production company, Cooked in Africa, who we partnered with to produce our docu-reality TV series, Charly’s Cake Angels, which premiered in South Africa in October 2011 and internationally on January 1st 2012. Season 2 premiered on September 16th 2013 to audiences in more than 100 countries, and our TV show has been watched on almost every continent.
The real magic of Charly’s Bakery lies in our philosophy of giving.
Charity starts at home for us, and we continually invest in uplifting our staff, most of whom come from underprivileged backgrounds and have no formal training. This has helped us to create our beautiful Rainbow Bakery Family. Our beloved Charly, who passed away in May 2012, believed that uplifting people through opportunity is the greatest way to affect change in people’s lives. We are also Proudly South African and especially Proudly Capetonian, and are passionate about our country’s bright future. Our Tata Madiba, Nelson Mandela, showed us what we had the potential to be as a nation, and we try to bring his ethos into our lives every day.
We support more than 20 charities annually as well as dozens of other charity events throughout the year, and strongly adhere to the belief that “the more you give, the more you will receive”.
Our dream is much more than having a successful business, it is to inspire others to add a bit more sweetness to the lives of their families and communities, and to be the change they wish to see in the world.
VAT number 4460182472