If you have ever struggled to find the perfect, personalized gift for your corporate clients or loved ones, then help is at hand. Michelle Smith, founder of Woven Bark Studios, is creating beautiful, thoughtfully curated gift boxes and gifting experiences that leave lasting feel-good memories. The added bonus is that each of the gift products is sourced from local artisans in South Africa, creating business opportunities that really make a difference to other entrepreneurs’ lives.
LoA met with the passionate founder of Woven Bark this week to learn more about this successful and growing business.
What does your company do?
Woven Bark Studios offer a personalized, thoughtful gifting service, since 2005. We source the best products from Proudly South African artisans – brands you love and brands you’ve never heard of – for you to send handpicked, thoughtful gifts, every time. We support South African design and craftsmanship with an intent of uplifting small businesses. We work closely with local graphic designers/artists and packaging manufacturers to customize packaging, for gifting and branding solutions. Woven Bark Studios offer the best experience, from handwriting your note to a personal delivery. Gifts by the ones, tens, and thousands, designed, packed, and shipped by a real team of three people.
“We source the best products from Proudly South African artisans – brands you love and brands you’ve never heard of – for you to send handpicked, thoughtful gifts, every time.”
What inspired you to start your company?
I was always given terrible gifts, and spotted a gap in the market to give thoughtful gifts, sourced from local artisans. Growing together with the makers I source from has been one of the most rewarding parts.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
A lot of thought, planning and preparation goes into each task we tackle. We work closely with local makers to source the best quality. We are always looking for new products that tell a story. If you make use of our services, we will ultimately elevate your business, whether it is by something as special as giving an extra-ordinary gift to your clients or staff, or by supplying you with packaging that exceeds your requirements.
“A lot of thought, planning and preparation goes into each task we tackle. We work closely with local makers to source the best quality. We are always looking for new products that tell a story.”
Tell us a little about your team
We are a team of 3 ladies;
Michelle - the CEO Hustler
Gail - CFO Beancounter
Zydia - MD Innovator
We work closely with graphic designers / illustrators, and we call in extra hands to help pack when the workload hits the roof!
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
It has always been a childhood dream of mine to own my own business. I've worked in retail for many years until this opportunity crossed my path.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
To position Woven Bark Studios as your online go-to-for-gifting destination, alongside the likes of Netgifts, and YuppieChef, in a non-commercial, well-curated manner.
“Growing together with the makers I source from has been one of the most rewarding parts.”
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is certainly challenging, it comes with it's ups and downs, but meeting and working with amazing, inspirational people is what keeps me going.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Follow your dreams, but know that it comes with many challenges, you need to be ready to commit and to give everything.
Contact or follow Woven Bark Studios
Why LoA loves it….
The most successful businesses and brands are driven by passionate entrepreneurs who love what they do and who are also conscious of building businesses that can positively impact the lives of others. That is certainly the case with Michelle Smith of Woven Bark Studios. She is passionate about creating highly personalized, luxury gifting experiences that really resonate with her clients. Her commitment to showcasing lovingly crafted artisanal products made in South Africa in her gift boxes is admirable. She is making a positive impact on so many lives, including those who give and receive her curated gift boxes, to those who handcraft them. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa