Following on from last year’s hugely successful event, which attracted hordes of local foodies and fashionistas, there is already much talk and anticipation around the forthcoming 2015 Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair, which is returning to Johannesburg, South Africa, from 9 to 11 October 2015. Once again, the rooftop of Hyde Park Corner will be totally transformed into a ‘must visit’ lifestyle and leisure destination as it becomes home to over 120 of the country's most exciting designers, food producers and winemakers, many of them women entrepreneurs.
This is an exciting event for South Africa’s women designers, makers and crafters, as the emphasis is on celebrating real craftsmanship but with a ‘handmade contemporary’ aesthetic. Speaking about this year’s event, Roberta Thatcher, curator of the fair for Artlogic, said: “It’s no longer simply about the product. It’s about understanding how that item came to be and recognising the passion, creativity and uniqueness that went into its production.”
Last year’s event provided an amazing opportunity for Lionesses of Africa to meet with, interview and showcase some of South Africa’s most inspirational, talented and dedicated women designers, makers and crafters, many of whom have become friends and supporters of LoA in the months since. Regular visitors to the Lionesses of Africa platforms will recognise some of these amazing women entrepreneurs, their brands and their products. Here are some of our favourites who appeared at last year’s Fair:
Swaady Martin-Leke, founder of Yswara
Swaady is the first real African global luxury brand builder, using the continent’s rich cultural history and artisanship to create the world-class luxury tea and lifestyle brand, Yswara. She regards the philosophy of the company as being a combination of everyday passions, starting with how as an individual and a company, she can contribute to Africa getting out of the commodity trap that it finds itself in. Read Swaady's startup story.
Karin Rae Matthee, founder of Dear Rae Jewellery
Karin is a young entrepreneur with an inspired vision, a unique design and creative aesthetic, and a deep commitment to skills development and upliftment in her community. Her exquisitely designed jewellery pieces in various precious metals, diamonds and semi-precious stones, are all lovingly hand-crafted in the studio under the watchful gaze of customers in the store. Read Karin's startup story.
Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao, founder of Malee Natural Science
Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao is founder and owner of Malée Natural Science a company started in 2009 producing and retailing a range of premium bath and body care products made with carefully selected 100% natural active ingredients all chosen for their proven health benefits. Read Zeze's startup story.
Brenda Wilkinson, co-founder of Rio Largo Olive Oil
Brenda and her husband Nick are the passionate founders behind the olive oil estate and producer, Rio Largo, situated in the Scherpenheuwel valley between Worcester and Robertson on the southern banks of the Breede River. The Rio Largo Olive Estate has been winning awards consistently since 2007 and has garnered accolades across the world for the quality of their products. Read Brenda's startup story here.
Zikhona Tefu, founder of O’live Handmade Soaps
Zikhona has founded a wonderful 100% natural, artisan produced soap and body product brand. Her soaps and bath products are all lovingly made by hand using only pure natural ingredients like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, African Unrefined Shea Butter, Goats milk, Honey, Rooibos tea, pure vegetable essential oils...etc. O'live products do not contain any chemicals, artificial colourants, artificial fragrances, parabens, hardners, or fillers. Read Zikhona's startup story here.
Janet Shaw, founder of the Zulu Beadwork Project
Janet is the founder of Zulu Beadwork Project in Kwa-Zulu Natal, started with a group of craftswomen in October 2006. What started originally as a project crafting and offering just three beadwork products, led to what is today a project offering over twenty-five products sold in South Africa, America, and Europe. Janet says she aspires and aims to empower the women involved in the Zulu Beadwork Project by enhancing an African cultural integrity and humanity. Read Janet's startup story here.
Wendren Setzer, founder of The Wren Design
Wendren founded The Wren Design in 2008 after taking the decision to resign from her job as a textile designer at a clothing factory. She found that working for a large corporation was unfulfilling and wanted to take on a new challenge. Finding herself in need of a handbag, she decided to put her own design skills to use and made her own. This became her first product and so she launched into her new career as an entrepreneur creating beautiful, functional bags from discarded materials. Read Wendren's startup story here.
Moira Kasher and Christine Tozer, co-founders of Toka Linen
Moira and Christine are two South African women with a background in fashion who are today using their unique design aesthetic and manufacturing experience to create a business manufacturing beautiful 100% linen tableware. Read Moira & Christine's startup story here.
Caroline McCann, founder of Braeside Butchery
Caroline is a lawyer turned butcher who is passionate about the 100% certified free-range, grass-fed and ethically reared meat she sources from farmers she gets to know and trust. Her principles on ethical farming with a focus on uplifting local farmers means she only stock the finest quality, ethically reared meat and meat products. Read Caroline's startup story here.
Sarah Taylor, founder of Bee Balmy
Sarah is a journalist-turned-natural skincare product entrepreneur who works with nature to create a range of soothing and healing skin balms, bringing relief for allergy sufferers. The natural ingredients used by Sarah in her balms have special properties for the skin and have been used by healers and herbalists for centuries. Read Sarah's startup story here.
Jeanette and Charlotte Phasha, the co-founders of Baroka Fashions
Baroka Fashions, a Limpopo-based clothing and textile manufacturing company in South Africa producing mainly ladies clothing, bags, accessories and printed fabrics, was founded by Jeanette Phasha in 2008. Together with her sister Charlotte she is building a proudly South African fashion and jewellery brand. Read Jeanette & Charlotte's startup story here.
Jesslynn Schlamm, founder of Lulu & Marula, South Africa
Frustrated by not being able to find skincare products that ticked all the boxes in terms of health, wellbeing, sustainability and eco-friendly production with a minimal impact on the environment, South African entrepreneur, Jesslynn Schlamm, was inspired to create her own from her small kitchen. Today, her Lulu & Marula skincare range is testimony to that original passion and dedication. Read Jesslynn's startup story here.
Katherine-Mary Pichulik, founder of Pichulik
Katherine is a hugely talented and creative South African entrepreneur and jewellery accessory designer. The inspiration for her work comes from the alchemy of transforming everyday materials through craft, touch and design, and elevating them into something precious and covetable. Read Katherine's startup story here.
Keri Muller, founder of Simple Intrigue
Keri is a Cape Town-based entrepreneur that produces wonderfully creative art, installations and decor items. Keri is a treasure hunter, hoarder, maker of stuff, collector, browser, day dreamer, walker, and traveller. Simply put, Keri is a maker of stuff. She folds, glues and cuts paper and old books into artworks, traditional origami shapes and more abstract pieces. Read Keri's startup story here.
Victoria Verbaan, founder and creator of Victoria Verbaan and The Smoking Daxi
Victoria is an established designer, artist and illustrator. She works in a wide variety of artistic disciplines ranging from illustration and painting to the design of bespoke rugs, wallpaper, limited edition fine art prints, fabric and more recently, ceramics. Her commissioned artworks and fabrics can be seen in local and international homes as well as restaurants and boutique hotels. Read Victoria's startup story here.
This year’s event promises to be just as exciting, if not more so, with the introduction of a new special ‘regional focus’ which turns its attention to the talented designers, makers and crafters of South Africa’s Garden Route. Lionesses of Africa will be looking forward to meeting, interviewing and writing the startup stories of a host of new exhibitors over the three days of the event. Watch out for their startup stories and special features throughout the months of October and November this year.
Returning women entrepreneurs who will be exhibiting at the event, and favourites of Lionesses of Africa, include the wonderful Swaady Martin-Leke, the creative genius behind the lifestyle luxury tea brand, Yswara; Karin Rae Matthee, the highly talented jewellery designer and the founder of Dear Rae; Chloe Townsend and Lizel Strydom, the inspirational founders of beautifully crafted and innovatively designed accessories brand, Missibaba. Also look out for one of our recently featured Lionesses of Africa, Bushera Bashir, founder of the incredibly beautiful and ethical cashmere scarf brand, Trebene.
Bushera Bashir, founder of Trebene
TREBENE is an ethical fashion label, designing, printing and handweaving luxury Cashmere scarves. The label combines the rich heritage of this luxurious textile with modern and contemporary designs. Their 100% Cashmere range consists of scarves which are carefully handcrafted over a delicate ten-step process which has been perfected over the generations. It takes about 30 days to handcraft just one 100% Cashmere scarf! Read Bushera's startup story here.
For more information on the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair visit www.SanlamHMC.co.za or contact Artlogic on 011 447-3868.