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To commemorate our 21st birthday, we’ve put together #21facts about ICSC’s journey from entrepreneurial start-up to flourishing communications consultancy. Keep your eye on this blog to follow the #21facts as we list them.

We love supporting local entrepreneurs. Local bead artist Tendai, who works from his vehicle in Durban Road, Durbanville, was approached by ICSC to make beaded stars, which we stuck on Christmas cards for clients. We also commissioned Tendai to make thousands of beaded wire rings, which were placed around publications for a sustainability project. This large commission provided work for four people.

We believe passionately in giving back to our local community and that is why corporate social responsibility work is so important to us. We have assisted Durbanville Children’s Home and Home of Hope in Table View in the past and Ithemba Foundation is our current CSR client.

While the vast majority of our clients are situated within a 70km radius of Durbanville, we also have clients further afield. Our most remote client to date? A wellness clinic in Switzerland!

Our office has resembled a production line on many occasions. We have packed boxes, stuck labels, wrapped gifts and tied tags for many client projects. At one stage, there were so many boxes in our office that we couldn’t see each other when everyone sat down at their desks.

We have convinced our clients to break the mould for corporate photo shoots. For one annual report we compiled for a financial services firm, we had executives kicking balls on a soccer pitch, running on a treadmill and even climbing on top of their desks.

ICSC staff members have interviewed quite a few notable South Africans, such as author Deon Meyer, ex-Springboks Jean de Villiers, Tonderai Chavhanga and Corné Krige, breakfast DJ Ryan O’ Connor and swimsuit model Kerry McGregor.

We believe in going the extra mile for our clients. Our office manager, Lorraine, remembers once spending an entire afternoon sticking labels on long-life milk cartons and packing them into boxes at the Parow Distribution Centre for Parmalat (now Lactalis SA).

We loved using the wall space of our offices. One office featured a green wall covered in creative quotes, another wall was painted with blackboard paint and used for planning projects (and the occasional doodle by a graphic designer) and yet another was used to display all the compliments that we received from happy clients.

We believe in long-term relationships with clients and suppliers. We have provided four of our existing clients with communication services for over 15 years.

The red leather couch has been with ICSC since the very beginning. Ilse inherited the couch from a family member and had it covered in red leather, as red is her favourite colour. It travelled with ICSC from office to office and was even featured on the cover of the Media24 publication MyWeek, along with local band Foto Na Dans.

Since the initial Covid-19 lockdown, all ICSC staff members have worked from home. Working remotely has proved so successful that we have made it a permanent arrangement going forward. We stay in touch via Microsoft Teams and also meet for regular catch-ups in the real world.

Following a B-BBEE transaction in 2019, ICSC is now a certified level 2 broad-based black economic empowerment supplier. Our other shareholder is John October, who is a businessman and executive coach.

In ICSC’s 21 years of existence we have had five different logos. As a communications agency it had always been important for our corporate image to remain fresh and relevant.  We love our current blue and grey corporate identity, but in hindsight we’re less sure about our first green and pink logo!

In 2006 Ilse entered and won Die Burger/Old Mutual’s Entrepreneur of the Year competition. “I wanted to know how ICSC measured up compared with other SMEs in our area. A few of the judging criteria were financial health, business strategy, uniqueness of services and business viability,” says Ilse.

In 2004 ICSC opened its own graphic design studio, RoundOne. RoundOne provided exclusive design services and had its own branded car for deliveries. The name RoundOne comes from Ilse’s love for shapes, numbers, days and colours and the belief that they are all connected. This phenomenon is known as synaesthesia.

By 2005 ICSC had grown exponentially and the team of five staff members moved from Ilse’s home to ICSC’s first official office premises in Plein Street, Durbanville. Another two office spaces followed in the next 15 years – in Oxford Street and Vrede Street. All our offices were located within a 3km radius of each other in Durbanville.

Staff members believe in sticking around. Lorraine, office manager and Ilse’s PA, has worked for ICSC for 15 years. Anisca, our operations manager, has worked for ICSC for 10 years. Two of our permanent contractors, Isabel and Karen, have worked for ICSC for 19 and 13 years, respectively.

At one stage Ilse employed 10 full-time staff members. Today we enjoy the flexibility and convenience of four permanent staff members and four fixed contractors.

After working on her own for over two years, the work started to roll in and Ilse employed her first staff member, Colette van Zyl, in 2003.

ICSC’s first and – initially – only client was BoE Bank (now part of Nedbank). “I had a monthly contract to the value of R5 000 with them,” Ilse remembers.

As in the case of many small businesses, ICSC had its humble origins in a study/spare room. In this case the room was in Ilse’s flat in Plataan Street, Durbanville