The striking talent of local-based female entrepreneurs is something to be immensely proud of and continuously inspired by. Existing and emerging creativity, innovation and originality runs deep in our country and is evident in our round-up of local female-owned businesses to be in awe of and stay intrigued by.
Rosa Handmade is a bespoke homeware and fashion accessories brand, founded and run by Makhosazane Sekgwama, who is a fiber artist that specialises in crochet product design. Makhosazane has been celebrated for her work at Design Joburg and Maison & Objet Paris Design Week.
Her beautifully crafted designs are made using recycled cotton fabric yarn from local clothing industries and inspired by the natural landscapes of Kwazulu-Natal where she grew up. Being a conscious entrepreneur, Makhosazane’s manufacturing process and designs do not negatively impact the environment or exhaust natural resources. This mindfulness feeds into the company’s craftsmanship which involves hand-weaving to produce durable and long-lasting products.
Her products include; baskets, pot plant covers, poufs, handbags, ottomans, pillows, throws and rugs. Every item is designed with the intention to be useful while being a decorative piece to any home. Makhosazane’s aim is to combine her passion for creating designs that are eco-conscious with products that serve a functional purpose and aesthetic appeal. As a female business owner, Makhosazane takes pride in empowering women through providing employment and serving as an admirable inspiration in the homeware design industry locally and on a global scale.
The Artery is an art studio run by Gabriella Kaplan, who has been designing and facilitating creativity courses from her garden studio in Cape Town for over ten years now. Offering creative art processes for people from all backgrounds. Now offering remotely guided art processes to do from the convenience of home.
Gabriella designs each course from her multi-cultural background and love for liberal arts disciplines, weaving together a theme resonating deep with meaning and thoughtful intention. Her method of teaching involves the freedom to explore and experiment beyond critical and conventional thinking. Various mediums are exercised, from drawing, painting, printmaking and clay work.
The environment is encouraging of finding creative expression through group guidance and liberation from structured techniques. The flow of a session includes an introduction to the theme which transitions into a meditative or guided visualisation to nudge creative thinking in a direction towards expression, leading to a reflection process on the artmaking process. The Artery is a space of humble intentions, where creative expression can be released without judgment or refrain, where art can be created with subtle guidance without imposing correction. The Artery is open to all who are wanting to tap into their creative curiosity or further expand on it in a cultivating and mindful way.
Frances Pryce Lewis is a fast-rising designer based in Cape Town – talented is an understatement. Her designs reflect an air of elegance missing from modern fashion, delicately detailed and classically handcrafted. Through the carefully crafted catalogue of designs from casual wear to the FPL Boutique range, a signature design style shines through, showcasing her impressive embroidery, beading and print skills which she developed at Fedisa where she graduated with a BA in Fashion Design. Experience working for the Haute Couture brand, Ralph & Russo in London paved the way for Frances to cultivate her brand.
A female-owned brand that is actively promoting sustainable fashion, with all garments made from deadstock and remnant fabrics, as well as all materials being sourced locally. Frances works on a made-to-order basis which reduces excess stock and makes every piece truly unique. In alignment with her consideration of the environment, Frances aims to ensure that all clothing items are priced reasonably and made to last for years to come. Custom designs are available, where Frances designs a garment in collaboration with clients to craft a one-of-kind item. Perfect for an evening dress, cocktail dress, Matric farewell dress, tailored jacket or even a wedding dress to commemorate the special occasion.
Masodi Organics is an online-based beauty shop that makes and sells 100% natural hair and skin products, founded by Liz Letsoalo. A brand inspired by nature’s nourishment. Products are made with meticulous attention to detail, from the ingredients selected, to the essential oils used for nutrition and a refreshing fragrance.
Crafted with care and the environment in mind, the majority of the products are sulfate-free and contain no harsh chemicals. Specialising in natural-based shampoo, conditioner, hair oils and body butters, as well as satin head wraps and pillowcases for glowing hair and skin. Liz is in the process of launching Rave, a mobile beauty service that brings hair, make-up and nail services to clients in the comfort of their home.
Create Space Art Sessions is a collaborative creative environment, facilitated by founders, Nicolene Burger and Olivia Bevan. Offering an open space where everyone is welcome to discover and connect with their creative side. The artistic backgrounds and styles of Nicolene and Olivia blend together to welcome varying experiences and methods of expression. Create Space Art Sessions allows participants to engage with and expand upon the individual and communal art making process through interactive workshops.
Workshops on offer include; Online Guided Art Sessions via Zoom on Tuesdays from 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm and Thursdays from 11:00 am – 12:15 pm / 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm, R65 per session for South African residents and R100 for Internationals. Each session interprets a monthly theme which is explored through mindful art-making by interpreting space, time, body, surface, movement and medium. This exploration aims to expand on the cultivation of creativity by using it as a tool for healing and encouraging self-reflection. The focus is on the creation journey and not so much the art created. Online painting parties are also available, which explore basic painting techniques, provide an outline of art movements and noteworthy artists, technical tips and a guided meditation breaking down the creation process. No prior experience is required, these sessions allow a fun and interactive space for friends to come together creatively. Bookings are R250 per person for a standard online painting party. Private painting parties are also available for birthdays, a kitchen tea or office parties, which is tailored to the event.
Zenzeleni Zenzeleni (meaning ‘do it for yourself’) is a community project, set out to empower women to learn sewing skills with the aim for using those skills for further entrepreneurial ventures. Started by Jeanette Isimbi, who began her sewing journey through selling her hand-sewn pencil cases to classmates while pursuing a teaching training course at CPUT.
The popularity of her work escalated to the point of the Head of Department allowing her to use the space to teach sewing classes to students and women. Soon her sewing career took off and she sought out assistance to establish a marketplace to sell her products, The Women’s Platform at Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town allowed her the opportunity to grow her sewing business through a small business course and introducing a network of contacts.
Jeanette is building up her sewing business with vibrant products for sale from, backpacks, pants to shirts, while running a sewing course every Saturday at CPUT. The future hopes for her business is to give back and create empowering opportunities for women to be self-sufficient and develop profitable and enjoyable skills.
Clay Hands is a ceramic teaching studio owned and run by Natasha Viljoen, situated in Woodstock, Cape Town. A studio dedicated to teaching and spreading the art of clay making. From staring in 2018, Natasha has expanded the space to a co-claying environment which allows for more collaboration where creativity can be expressed freely and through communal communication. The studio also stocks clay, paints, tools and offers drop-in firing services. Natasha’s background in pottery stems from her mother and grandmother, defining a strong female journey of creation and inspiration.
Co-claying is membership-based which offers a minimum of ten hours per month charged at an hourly rate, which can be used anytime during studio hours via the online booking platform. To join, the prior ceramic experience is necessary, as co-claying does not involve teaching, it is focused on more independent work with some guidance available.
Currently, Clay Hands is not open to the public due to COVID-19, although once re-opening, they will be offering short courses to beginners wanting to become members. In the meantime, an online course is on offer, Learn the Foundations of Hand Building which is an opportunity to learn foundational hand-building techniques of clay. This course introduces the art of pinching, coiling and slab construction through the making of a single-bud vase, bowl, coiled vessel or a box. The cost is R850 which includes; video-guided projects and talks for each lesson.
Spice and All Things Nice is the brainchild of passionate cook and dedicated mum, Gillian Downes, who started the venture in 2002 from her mum’s Newlands kitchen. Today her range of spices, pastes, and rice can be bought from the likes of Pick ‘n Pay, Wellness Warehouse, Dischem, and selected Spar stores. Eagle-eyed shoppers and passionate cooks will already be familiar with the tasty curry paste and complimentaries of Spice and All Things Nice. The Kosher-certified group famously steers clear from preservatives and additives, using only the finest ingredients for their gluten-free products.
Spice and All Things Nice also specialises in a variety of pantry boxes priced between R250-R300 that serves as a great base to build plant-based breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. This is ideal for newbies just dipping their toes into the challenge, or just busy cooks.
Their Vegan Pantry Box includes crunchy granola, a chocolate smoothie mix, and Dhal and Korma curry blends to name a few. No Indian feast would be complete without Poppadums, ready to pop in the oven. For the foodies with a more adventuristic palate, the Foods of the World Pantry Box is packed with handcrafted Thai Green Curry, Indian Butter Chicken, Dhal curry, Balti Curry and Moroccan Harissa pastes, a flavour for every night of the week.
All the pantry boxes include some recipe ideas, so no worries if you hit a brick wall. That’s exactly philosophy at Spice and All Things Nice – to make cooking healthy, fun, and convenient.
Secure your pantry box directly from the Spice and All Things Nice online store. Single unit pastes and spices can be bought directly from various grocery stores. Also available from Yuppiechef, Ucook, Faithful to Nature, and Buyfresh.
Something Good Studio’s new range of art blankets will have you looking good AND feeling good. Founder Zydia Botes ran a competition for Young Designers across South Africa and whipped up a whirlwind of girl power in the process. It’s a happy coincidence that all 3 winners are females and the blankets were launched at the end of Women’s month.
Their online store stocks some of the finest blankets, in an array of stylized patterns in black and white, yellow, pink and blue that will transform your house into a home. They also have several woven art and paper pieces and also a fine choice of delicate throws. To top it off, their unique clothing pieces such as the Romario wrap and Romaria Long Kimono can only be found in their store in the whole of South Africa. All pieces are curated, hand-picked and uniquely designed by various artists in the country; leaving you with a personal and unique touch for your home.
Something Good Studio was born out of a desire to live a life worth loving. They use art and design to encourage well-being, happiness, and purpose. That’s why they source their cotton from local, BCI accredited farms. That’s why they make their products in South Africa. These pieces are making a positive impact. All the way from farm to family movie night.
Like most of us, Cecilia M. Kapasula’s career path was unclear in her early years. But her working experiences in Ghana and Gabon marked the starting point of a new directional entrepreneurial spirit.
Kapasula is the owner of Sweet Savannah, an independent interior decor brand that produces modern furniture and decor pieces with African-inspired mesmerising prints and vibrant colours to liven up in any space in your home. They cleverly refer to the style as ‘ContAfricafrican’, a mash-up of contemporary African.
The collection includes a range of soft furniture, stools, ottomans, and hard furniture including wooden tables, reception desks and room stands. For those looking for a more special touch, the group also do bespoke creations and consultations to help craft your decor identity.
The Sweet Savannah team recently launched their new Velvet Ndebele & Shweshwe print fabrics for upholstery and soft furnishings. These custom-made textiles are sourced, printed, and designed by the Fabric Bank and eliminate issues of longevity and rub count.
More tips and style inspiration can be found on their website and social media pages.
Compiled by Alexandra van Nieuwenhuizen