Category Archives: Launches

Ampersand Social Stationery

By Marica

As we mentioned in our previous post one of our online buddies, Lelanie Slater, the blogger behind “Of Beauty and Love” recently launched her own online stationery shop! How very exciting! The shop, Ampersand Social Stationery, officially opened its online doors on Tuesday and we know a great deal of time and thought was put into the development of the shop as well as the curated products. Lelanie, a self-confessed stationery addict, has sourced a variety of quirky, cute and downright pretty items for her boutique collection – from gorgeous journals & cards to drool-worthy washi tape.

For those who do not know “ampersand” is the name given to the “&” (that is “and”) symbol and is a corruption of the phrase “and (&) per se and”, meaning “and (the symbol ‘&’) intrinsically (is the word) and“. Sounds rather complicated hey? Well, let’s not break our heads over semantics – here is what Lelanie had to say about her chosen name:

“I have a strong affinity towards clear, well designed type and functional, beautifully design. This, paired with the symbolic and emotional connotations I have with the ‘&’ logogram, is what drew me to it. To me, the Ampersand (&) symbolises a coming together, whether it be off people or ideas. It symbolizes the intertwining of creative minds in a valuable collaboration.”

…Now that is far less complicated!

Anyhoo, we wish Lelanie the greatest success with this new venture – she is such a genuine, open-hearted person and authentic blogger – it’s great to see her living her passion.

Be sure to pop over to the Ampersand website to check out some of Lelanie’s awesome products.

Hanging out with Weylandts at Dutch Masters Launch

About a week and a half ago I was one of the very fortunate guests at an event hosted by Weylandts at their Green Point Store. Their mission was to celebrate their collaboration with Dutch Master contemporary furniture designer, Jan Linteloo.  And boy did they do it in total style.  From start to finish, it was entertaining, magical, mysterious, tantalizing and I could go on and on, eventually running out of adjectives with which to describe this fabulous evening.

What made the evening so spectacular for the guests was the food and the presentation of the food.  It was nothing short of a magical experience. Thanks to the talented Margot Janse from The Tasting Room fame.

I am no foodie and cannot even begin to go into any sort of explanation of the style of food etc, suffice to say that it was a celebration of fabulous food design. The theme of the food experience was ‘woody’ – that was my impression anyway, which makes such sense to me.  I found myself being exposed to food that I had no idea existed. Food presentation done in a way that blew my mind away, with the highlight of that food journey for me being the cheese table – behind it was a big plywood board, with toasted pieces of Ciabatta breads hanging from nail pins.  How awesome is that!!  All I had to do (when I got my breath back again) was unhook my toast and pile on the delicious cheeses and jams.  (OMG – I’m salivating here!)

One thing that became very evident during the speeches was that Jan Linteloo, Chris Weylandt and Margot Janse were very comfortable with each other.  In fact there was a depth to this collaboration that warranted this special celebration – these were good friends working using their respective talents to work in perfect synergy.  Bringing to the public products of outstanding design and manufacture quality. The collaboration between Weylandts and Jan Linteloo is not a new one.  What is encouraging is that the standard of our local manufacturers is good enough to meet Jan’s high expectation. The result is that he is extending his range of furniture with Weylandts.  And believe me, this furniture has been well designed, soundly fabricated, is aesthetically appealing and    very comfortable

Both Marica and I are huge Weylandts supporters and we would like to take this opportunity of thanking them for THE MOST OUTSTANDING celebration event. Long may this collaboration last – standing as an example for other collaborations between designers.

Fellow Blogger Vicki Sleet from I Want That has written a fabulous account of the event as well.  If you want to see more images of the amazing food experience, pop over and take a look

Weylandts (4)

The food “trough”

Weylandts Food Trough ǀ I Want That

Gorgeous images of what you could find nestled in the food “trough” | Image: Vicki Sleet

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In keeping with the foraging theme this tree was hung with all kinds of delicious delicate bites!

Weylandts

A little food nest…

Weylandts Bead Wall & Cheese Wheels ǀ I Want That

The bread wall and rustic cheese wheels | Image: Vicki Sleet

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What an unusual and amazing food experience

Weylandts Dessert Wall ǀ I Want That

The dessert wall – hundreds of spoons with sweet treats on them! | Image: Vicki Sleet

The Dynamic Design Team

I can’t remember exactly when it was that the fabrics of the Design Team first came to my attention, but it was many years ago. I just remember being very impressed by the fact that it was very different to any other local designers I had seen before. Their style and patterns had a strong local influence and flavour. I remember seeing Proteas, head and shoulder medalions of African ladies, birds on branches – all  illustrated so differently to the general run of the mill fabric patterns that we were being exposed to. To me anyway, it was the introduction of a completely new genre of fabrics. (I have no doubt that my good friend James Russell, could correct me on this score, since he has this amazing historical knowledge of fabric… coupled with the fact that he is their agent here in Cape Town.

Through the past years, I have managed to attend most of their new range launches here in Cape Town. Each new range delights more than the previous. Each new range just adds further depth to their collection and each new range has them running ahead of the competition.

And speaking of competition… these are my thoughts and opinions on what the two fabulous ladies from the Design Team, Lise Butler and Amanda Haupt have done for the local fabric industry: The Upside – they were among the very first textile designers (surface designers as they are known as well) that illustrated pattern differently. But like a most trail blazers, they have craved a path for others to follow in. By them braving the frontier and penetrating the fabric market as they have, other talented surface designers could take courage and endeavour to follow suite. The Design Team has shown other creatives that Local is indeed Lekker. That it is possible to get out there, not only to make your talented products visible, but that it could turn into a good business venture as well.

The Downside – in doing this, the field became more competitive. But true to form, they have an awesome philosoply towards competition. To quote them: “We have a ‘no negativity policy’ and we rather wear the copycats out by staying one step ahead with new designs.”

So, competition only has them taking their design to the next level. What I hear is this: competition aids our business maturity, bring it on. And their newest range of fabrics attests to this fact. It was first launched and released at Decorex 2012, together with a very special feature – a video showing their historical background and business growth. The new range, called Barcelona-Paris-Istanbul, is strongly influenced by the duo’s recent visits to these cities. The designs are a beautiful visual representation of the “feel” and ambiance of the cities – more figurative than literal… don’t expect Eiffel Tower sketches or tiny bullfighters…

But I wanted to scratch a bit deeper down, below the skin and try to catch more of their heart beat. I wanted to get to know what made them tick as a Design Duo originally, as well as today. Lisa opened up to The Design Tabloid. I invite you to catch it below and enjoy their story…

Q: I am interested to know, and feel readers should as well, what it is that inspired you to take the bull by the horns and do textile design that was just so different at the time you started? 

A: We really had and still do have a passion for creating beautiful things and we were blessed with very supportive parents and lecturers at the time. Ignorance is truly bliss when you are so young! We had nothing to loose and one thing we have never been is scared! Both Amanda and I had produced work during our studies that were recognized in industry related competitions or projects and I think that this gave us the confidence to believe in ourselves. We are both work horses and still put in 10 hour working days even though they are now split up at times fitting in our children’s schedules! We just have this attitude of not being scared to tackle anything, if you have put everything into it and you have planned well it has a very good chance of succeeding and if not, you will have learnt something from it!

Q: What inspired you both? 

A: To set up a business from scratch and build it into a recognized brand means that you have to “live” it, and I think it is just something that some people have in them and others don’t. Many designers have incredible creativity but lack organizational and entrepreneurial skills – we have an unbelievable partnership that balances each other and offers a support system that has seen us through the many tough times.

Q: What motivated you to be so authentic? 

A: We believe that you need to be honest and unpretentious, so it was easy, we had to do something that was close to us and that we could find some sort of connection with. Only after ten years of having the business did we start traveling overseas, up until then we used magazines to keep in touch with global trends and we always aspire towards designing fabrics that can compete anywhere in the world but is still authentic to our own frame of reference.

Q: How did you manage to finance your venture initially? 

A: Many think that we had a secret source of set up capital! Not at all, we both had waitressing jobs while we studied and this financed our initial raw materials. We lived with our parents for many years to keep our own expenses to a minimum and didn’t take salaries for a very long time. The technikon helped us to pay for the first stand we did at Decorex as it was such good marketing for the textile department and the training they offered. Our moms helped us sew the finished items and we mostly printed and cut everything ourselves for the first few years. Once we had built up enough cash flow, we moved away from the technikon facility we shared with the students and rented a small factory space. Growth was significant and so were the costs! We each took a R50 000 personal loan to finance the next move to a larger factory and 12 years later this has still been the only capital injection we have had! We have built up incredible relationships with some of our clients and many have been willing to help us with advance payments if really needed!

Q: What did you see happening in the South Africa interiors / textile industry that lead you to swim upstream?

A: Everyone was trying so hard to keep up and mimic what was happening globally that they missed the hunger for local inspired textiles that had an international appeal and was not ethnic but more contemporary.

Q: How was your product received initially? What did it take from the two of you in terms of sticking with your plans? 

A: We had an overwhelming response but the trick was figuring out which products would really be viable and then to set up the production line to support it. We are still fine tuning! One of our biggest “assets” has been the ability to analyze what we do and to make changes where we had to, as wells an openness to learn.

I am pretty sure that you will agree with me when I say that Lise and Amanda as the Design Team inspire us to authentic design; to persevere through tough times; to be clever, resourceful entrepreneurs and to be Proudly South African creatives.

Check out Design Team’s website: here for more of their GORGEOUS  fabrics or find them on Facebook: here and on Twitter: here.

Skinny laMinx And Her “Flower Dreams”

“The days just zap past a person”… that’s how I feel right now. I thought it was yesterday that Marica and I attended the launch of Heather Moore’s new range of Skinny LaMinx fabrics.  Instead, it was on Wednesday last…

Heather Moore and her Skinny LaMinx brand is no stranger to most folk in the décor world. In fact, it was all of three years ago that we coincidentally came across Skinny LaMinx on the internet. For the past 12 – 18 months, I have followed her on the internet via her blog, Facebook, Twitter and the like. You guessed it, I am a huge fan of Skinny LaMinx and when the invite came to attend her first ‘range’ of fabrics, there was none more thrilled than me. I have such admiration for Heather not only as a design creative, but also as a business person. I have watched how she has grown her business, both locally and internationally. She has been featured by well known international bloggers such as Kate of Design*Sponge and Holly of Decor8. I am sure there are plenty others, but these I know of as I follow their blogs.

Heather’s blog posts are such relaxed reads giving you a glimpse into her life. I am often left with the impression that illustration just comes so naturally to her. Putting fabric /surface designs out there seems to be effortless – such a talented person she is.

To show you how active she is… in 2011 she undertook a trip to the USA, where she participated in collaborative events with a American creative; she has an Etsy shop, she has just recently opened her own retail outlet here in Cape Town, she comes up with new designs… Yes very active creative / business person. Plus, although I have only spent a few minutes with her physically, the internet interaction that I have had with her leaves me in no doubt that she is a lovely person.

Heather – thank you for making us Proudly South African.

But hey… Here more about the launch party and the new range of Skinny fabrics:

The floral-inspired range entitled ‘Flower Dreams‘ is Skinny’s first official fabric collection. The playful yet elegant designs, reminiscent of clean-cut Scandinavian design, also contains a smack of retro. The Space for Life showroom was therefore an excellent launch venue as they import gorgeous and well-made mid-century furniture and other retro treasures from Scandinavia. One or two vintage furniture pieces were upholstered in some of Skinny’s new range – a beautiful and complementary combination. Heather, with a little help from The Silk & Cotton Company, also illustrated how easy it is to develop and change certain moods by mixing and layering Skinny laMinx fabrics with some Silk & Cotton basics.

The new range features a gorgeous almost-edible spring palette of plum, lemon and humbug including a delicious feminine milkshake pink – a colour Heather said she never identified with before now. The Flower Dreams fabric collection is made up of three new designs and a reissue of her popular Orla print.

The striking ‘Flower Fields’ design started as a paper cutout of a flower inspired by a Dutch vintage fabric. This fun design is the first two-colour print to be produced by Skinny laMinx, and is available in three colourways. There is almost something anime-like about this beautiful funky fabric.

‘Wild Flowers’ is a design that is a little bit mad, very playful, and certainly a strong design around which to build a look. The design started out as a custom wallpaper for her studio bathroom but Heather soon realised that it had great fabric pattern potential. Although it is a two-colour print, it reads as three colours, as the base cloth is used as one of the ‘colours’.

The third design called ‘Pincushion’, features a very Proudly South African pincushion protea. The sweet print makes a great South African-flavoured print coordinate for this collection.

Lastly, Heather rehashed the Orla print – a design she affectionately describes as “a bit of a fancy stripe.” For the new range the Orla design was converted into an inverted print aptly named ‘Solid Orla‘ – available of course in the new spring colour range.

To see all the designs in the new range as well as the existing Skinny laMinx fabrics and product, check out the website: here. If you are in the Cape Town area, you can pop into the Skinny laMinx shop in Bree Street (nr 201) or otherwise purchase her GORGEOUS product and fabrics online via Etsy: here.

Images & info via Skinny laMinx
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