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Creative SA: Zana

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Marica Fick

Today we want to share the gorgeous products of Cape Town-based creative studio, Zana, with you.

Zana produces beautiful screen-printed products – textiles, bags, cushions, and other fashion and home accessories but to name a few of their “giftables”. Their trendy graphic designs are bold and fun with a definite Scandi flair.

“We love to create things that pack a punch and give you that hair-blowing-back, confetti-bomb experience. We are in love with colour, pattern and typography. This is really what gets us inspired.”

– Zana

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Something that makes this creative duo all the more admirable and extraordinary is the fact that they are a mother-daughter team.

Sue and Robyn Britz founded Zana in 2012. Sue, who has a BA in Fine Arts, spent many years working in print and production industry. When Robyn graduated from Vega in 2012 with a BA in Creative Brand Communications, the gals decided to join their creative forces.

The name “Zana” derives from a childhood nickname given to Sue by one of her relatives. The ladies decided that “Zana” would make for a unique and authentic label for their creative business. I sure like it – it is one part cute, one part sentimental!

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During the foundational days of their business, the ladies worked out of their garage, juggling their fledgling enterprise, full-time jobs, and studies. Later, as the online orders started rolling in and business grew, they moved to bigger premises and hired additional staff.

In 2015 Zana hosted a series of screen-printing workshops in an exercise to better connect and interact with their customers. These workshops proved to be so popular that they now host them on regularly basis from their studio in Woodstock, Cape Town.  Man oh man, I would LOVE to attend one of those babies!

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A facet of the Zana business model that I completely identify with and appreciate is that each lady has her own skill set which complements the other’s perfectly. With Sue’s experience and Robyn’s design eye and online savvy, their strengths merge to create a thriving and successful business.

In a way it reminded me of my own working relationship with Rose. We each have our own tastes, skills and way of thinking / doing, yet it all comes together to form beautifully balanced interiors

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Zana recently celebrated their 5 birthday. On being asked what 5 valuable lessons they have learnt in 5 years of business, the dynamic mother-daughter duo shared the following sage advise on their blog:

1.  Don’t give up. Persevere.

2.  Know the power of social media and embrace the community it builds.

3.  There’s no quick fix. Things take time.

4.  You need to find the perfect combo of working smart and working hard.

5.  Delegating is key.

Be sure to check out the Zana website to see their full range of awesome products.

You can also follow Zana on FacebookInstagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Creative SA: Block & Chisel

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Marica Fick

The South African creatives we want to share with you today are very special indeed. Block & Chisel is celebrating an extraordinary milestone this year. 2017 marks the furniture and homeware company’s 30th anniversary – which is no small achievement for any business. They are one of the few local creatives who have built their business into a powerful, recognised local brand. One might even call them a furniture and decor dynasty.

We here at Design Monarchy hold Block & Chisel and their founders, Lynn & Sibley McAdam, in very high regard. The way in which they have developed and grown their product range over the decades is admirable.

The husband and wife team first began this journey after Lynn sold Biggie Best. With Lynn’s eye for beautiful pieces together with Sibley’s passion for restoring antiques and crafting fine furniture, Block & Chisel was born. The past 15 years has seen Block & Chisel welcome the McAdams’s son and daughter into the fold.

I, as a relatively “green” designer, love when Rose, who has been in the South African decorating industry for decades, enlightens me on the history of certain creatives and local design-related businesses. Block & Chisel is such a business – Rose can distinctly remember when they first opened their doors in 1987. Now 30 years later they own multiple successful shops.

Block & Chisel fills a very distinctive niche in the furniture and decorative accessories market. Their flavour is distinctly upmarket. They manage to create this delicious mix of eclectic, luxury, traditional but also contemporary, trendy yet timeless, oh-so-chic elements.

While Block & Chisel has their fingers firmly on the global interior trend pulse, they stay rooted in the company’s slightly colonial foundation which is evident in their classic French and English Country ranges.

Sibley first introduced these designs in the early years and to this day, it still forms the backbone of the Block & Chisel product range. In recent years more contemporary designs have been added. Lynn expertly accents these locally manufactured pieces with carefully chosen treasures to create an overall eclectic flair.

It is always such a treat and sensory experience to visit Block & Chisel in Diep River where we often shop and source for our clients. Not only does the showroom smell amazing, it is also filled with layer upon layer of the most beautiful furniture and decorative accessories. The showroom layout and various room settings tell such a wonderful decorative “story”.

We believe the key to Block & Chisel’s success (other than their visionary and talented owners) is longevity. Longevity, not only in their product ranges, but also in their business model. They keep evolving and reinventing to cater to their chosen market. And that is what we appreciate most about Block & Chisel.

Be sure to check out the Block & Chisel to see their full range of furniture & decorative accessories.

You can also follow Block & Chisel on FacebookInstagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Creative SA: Lulasclan

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Marica Fick

Today we would like to introduce you to the bright and bold creations of Lulasclan Design Studio.

Lulasclan (or Lula’s Clan) is the brainchild of Bonolo Helen Chepape, a Joburg based creative with a background in graphic design. While the Lulasclan style is steeped in Bonolo’s African heritage, it undeniably has a strong contemporary appeal. Bonolo refers to this style as “New African” – a fresh and chic interpretation on African design.

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Following her passion, Bonolo left her 9-to-5 last November striking out on her own to form Lulasclan. It is in fact amazing to see how far she has come in such a short period of time – a true testament that one should heed Passion’s call.

Lulasclan recently launched a collection of scatter cushions titled “AfricanWest”. True to its name, the designs feature a marriage of African and “Western” motifs. Finding inspiration in the leaded lines of stained glass windows often found in Roman Cathedrals, Bonolo fused it with the shapes and bold colours of the traditional patterns of the Nguni people.

I am however even more taken with funky designs of Lulasclan’s previous scatter cushion range. The “Meet the Other Side of Africa” collection was launched end last year and features the retro-tastic portraits of several modish African ladies.

The series is said to celebrate Women. Each cushion, each woman, has her own inspiring story and individual characteristics. These scatters have a distinct Pop Art flavour and the use of pattern and colour within the designs are quite striking.

I think what appeals to me most about Lulasclan is the masterful fusion of two worlds and cultures. Her chic designs perfectly illustrate how African aesthetics can find a voice and global appeal in the contemporary design market.

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Be sure to check out the Lulasclan website to see their full range of scatters.

You can also follow Lulasclan on FacebookInstagramTwitter.
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