Getting to know our team: Chantelle van Zyl

We spoke to our Sales Consultant, Chantelle van Zyl about her experience working for Crown Relocations and her top tips to help you plan your next international move.   

How long have you been working for Crown Relocations?

I’m looking forward to celebrating my tenth anniversary with Crown Relocations in August!

Tell us about your role at Crown

Based in South Africa, I cover sales for all areas of the country but with a focus on Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Logistics is a key part of my role; I help customers to plan their moves so that everything goes smoothly, offering practical advice wherever possible to help take the stress out of moving. My role includes providing in home and virtual assessments to establish the precise needs of each family, so that we can offer a personal service.

What do you enjoy most about being a Residential Sales Consultant? 

I enjoy the variety of my role; no two customers are the same and we tailor a solution to meet each and every need. Also, seeing our customers happy after a job well done and knowing they have been provided with the best possible service is immensely satisfying.

Can you tell us about one of your favourite moves you supported? 

In 2016 a lady who lived in South Africa called asking us to ship around ten boxes of children’s toys to London. Although it was a small consignment, she was a mum at home with young children and wasn’t sure how to manage the shipping, so I dropped round for a visit. Little did we know at the time that three generations of the family were leaving South Africa.

 After moving the toys to London, the rest of the family invited me to visit and quote on their own moves. Each time, I was warmly welcomed as a friend and the grandparents treated me to salmon and cucumber sandwiches, recounting their family history! They were such a warm family and really appreciated the personal touch we brought to our service. The moves, to the UK and US were completed swiftly and successfully, and all the family members were delighted with Crown’s performance.

Tell us about an unusual relocation request and how you made it happen

We once had a client that needed us to move seven classic cars to the USA. We loaded them carefully into three separate containers over three days using specially-built platforms and ramps. It was an interesting challenge! All went according to plan and the vehicles completed their journey safely.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone planning their first international move? 

My main piece of advice to pack a ‘survival bag’ containing passports and other important documents, then lock it in your car to avoid packing it accidentally.
I’d also suggest recording a video of your former home as it is set up before packing. This can help with unpacking, as well as identifying items in the unlikely event of something going missing or being damaged during the move.

What do customers not often think about when planning their move? 

Packing up your home can be very noisy and become overwhelming for pets and children, so it is best to ask someone to look after them while you pack. Also, designate yourself a safe space, which you can escape to for a while if you find yourself becoming stressed and need to get back into a more comfortable mind set.

Do you have any tips for people moving to help them settle into their new environment?

Make use of any city guides and available tours when you get to your destination. They can offer a good overview of towns and cities and help you find your bearings. If you have any friends, family or colleagues who moved to the same region try and establish or re-establish contact.
My best friend of 23 years was married to someone who showed me around when I arrived in South Africa and helped me find my feet in a new city. Today, we are still very close and she is godmother to my daughter. We live 1,600 kilometres apart but manage to see each other at least twice a year.
It’s always a good idea to do some research and identify expat groups – they are incredibly supportive.

Have you always lived and worked in Johannesburg? If not, tell us about your personal experience of moving. 

Originally, I am from South Africa, but moved to Abu Dhabi in 1999, where I stayed for six years with my husband. We only took a few things with us, comfort and sentimental items that reminded us of home, so the move was not complicated. We settled in well, meeting another family from Johannesburg soon after arriving, who are now lifelong friends.
While we were in Abu Dhabi, I got into the relocations business, so when we moved back to South Africa in 2005 the move was excellently planned, as you would expect. We had built up a large collection of furniture and possessions in Abu Dhabi, which we shipped in a 20-foot container. Everything was packed perfectly, the container arrived at our new property on time and we were set up again within 48 hours. Using a professional move company makes all the difference.

Do you have any interesting hobbies? 

I live on an agricultural holding and take great pride in harvesting various vegetables. Our crops are totally organic, we do not use pesticides. All the animals on our property are named and none of them will ever end up on the table.
My husband and I are also avid hikers and scuba divers. In 2013, we climbed Kilimanjaro for the Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa (CHOC). Crown supported us and we summited on my husband’s birthday. The team we climbed with even baked a cake for him right there on the mountain!