Homegrown Creatives: Meet Ali & Rich from The Block Shop

How To Turn A Common Kitchen Item Into An Object Of Desire 101!

Have a look at these really clever and beautifully crafted wooden boards, brilliant gift ideas for a special occasion and definitely something for everyone…

Love to see a fellow Old Girl making waves in the design world – big congrats to Ali and Rich on launching The Block Shop recently – after the success of your Dippy Egg Boards, I can only see a bright future ahead for the two of you.


Who are you and what do you do / make / sell?

Rich and Ali Perks. Ali is AKA Alice May.

We have recently launched ’The Block Shop’ online shop after the success of our famous little invention ‘The Dippy Egg Board’. Rich’s background is designing and manufacturing wooden furniture, kitchens and wooden exteriors of houses. My history is graphic design and shoe design. When I left the shoe industry in 2011 after 6 years, I began a Wedding stationery label ‘Alice May’. Of course my husband had a factory in woodwork at the time which is how ‘The dippy egg and soldiers’ board was born. From the demand of these little boards we found a gap for functional different bamboo boards that can be personalised as a special gift with names and dates or corporate logo’s. With the fast growing ‘green’ and ‘foodie’ culture out there, these bamboo boards are going to fit right in.

What makes your work / products / services unique?

Every product in our shop can be personalised. Clients can supply a logo to us to engrave on their block, or we have lovely templates to engrave names or initials and dates onto our products. It is a very thoughtful gift for a Wedding, Birthday or special occasion. These gifts are for life.

Where do you look for inspiration?

We are inspired through people’s lifestyle, trends in food culture and try to fit our products in with what is needed more than just another dust collector. Rich and I love food and love to cook. We find inspiration in our own kitchen and how we can make a kitchen a better place for a true foodie. We love to make something functional, beautiful :)

Who are your creative idols?

Creative genius’s whose work I love would be Missibaba (Chloe Townsend), Kirsten Goss, Alex & Thatch (Lexi Stavrides) and lastly but most importantly my mum (Ann Davenport). My mum is one unbelievably talented creative soul who patiently shared her creativity with me growing up.

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?

We live on Salt Rock beach, so our deck is a firm favourite when it comes to hanging out and I love a vino lunch in the pretty setting of Sage or a little business coffee at Salt Pizza. Both chilled local spots we love in our town.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?

Both shout out at once: the Pacific Islands! Rich is a surfer. Need I say more :)

How does a typical day for you play out?

Wake up to cappuccino in bed (best hubby ever!), most days we have a walk on the beach with the dogs or Rich surfs and I walk. Generally, backwards and forwards between my home office and the factory, a meeting here and there. It is flexible which I love…

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?

Rich would be in and out of the water all day surfing and stand up paddling! No budget needed! I would love a big long lazy family and friends lunch on our deck with beautiful food and lots of expensive wine if the budget is unlimited ;)

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?

A Professional all around the world 5 star hotel secret shopper if ever there was a job title like that! Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to drag me away from my life and job.

Where can we stalk you?

Facebook : www.facebook.com/theblockshopsa
Instagram: @theblockshopsa
Twitter: @TheBlockShop
Website: www.theblockshop.co.za

What does your workspace / studio look like?

Simple, wooden desks made by Rich, Nguni rug, lots of boards everywhere always!

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?

The dippy egg board for it’s unique twist on eating a modern day eggie and soldiers; and The Carving Block because it is so different and functional. Never again will we battle with meat juices overflowing all over our kitchen!

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Photos by: Derryn Semple
Food Styling: Tam Kirkwood from Zak & Tonic



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