They say one of the most successful ways of building a company and a brand is to follow a passion, and in the case of South African entrepreneur Frances Edwards, that has certainly been the inspiration for the launch of her business, House of Cinnamon. Today, Frances is creating a unique luxury footwear and accessories brand, that celebrates the art of fine craftsmanship in Africa.
LoA chatted to Frances Edwards, founder of House of Cinnamon this month to find out more about this beautiful brand of accessories that is destined to win new fans of luxury handmade accessories, all crafted with passion.
What does your company do?
House Of Cinnamon is a South African luxury accessories brand. All of our products are handmade by local craftsmen and women. We produce in limited quantities to keep our products special and exclusive. We are based in Johannesburg in South Africa.
"House Of Cinnamon is a South African luxury accessories brand and all of our products are handmade by local craftsmen and women. We produce in limited quantities to keep our products special and exclusive."
What inspired you to start your company?
I have always loved accessories, fabric, leather and design. When I returned to live in South Africa, after having lived in Europe, I found there to be a gap for good quality, affordable ladies shoes. I found a few cobblers who started making shoes for me. After a while I started making them for friends and friends of friends. I quit my job in finance to pursue this love for creating a beautiful product.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
We pride ourselves on the fact that our products are made of excellent quality materials. Our products are exclusive and come in limited quantities. We support local production and try not to use anything that is imported from China.
"When I returned to live in South Africa, after having lived in Europe, I found there to be a gap for good quality, affordable ladies shoes. I found a few cobblers who started making shoes for me."
Tell us a little about your team
We have our main cobbler, who can be quite feisty! Under him we have three wonderful ladies making the shoes, they are based in Cape Town. Our bags are made by a local South African man and a very gentle, knowledgeable Malawian gentleman.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
House Of Cinnamon is now going into its fourth year of business. Its been exciting, challenging and nerve-racking! As an entrepreneur, one definitely needs a lot of patience, resilience and love for one’s work. I was previously working in the finance industry, but already dabbled in the shoe business whilst at University, importing and selling sandals, to earn a bit of extra income.
"I quit my job in finance to pursue this love for creating a beautiful product."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I would love to grow our production and ideally get our cobbler and our bag makers under one roof. I would love to be able to employ more of these amazing, willing, hardworking and skilled craftspeople, who once had work and now don't.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I love finding the different fabrics that we use for the shoes and the bags. I love conceptualizing the product and I love seeing the final product. Although working with local labour can be very frustrating, and it definitely comes with its challenges, I love working and growing with them.
"As an entrepreneur one definitely needs a lot of patience, resilience and love for one’s work."
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA, we love all those women entrepreneurs who follow their passion and, as a result, take a completely different path in life to achieve their goals. Frances Edwards is one such entrepreneur, who did the ultimate career pivot moving from the relatively secure world of finance and into the world of design and fine accessory craftsmanship. The business and brand she is now building reflect that passion and are a credit to her and the team of incredible craftspeople she now has around her. This is definitely an exciting, proudly South African luxury footwear and accessory brand to watch in the future. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa