This month we’re focussing on entrepreneurs in our new Self-Starters series. In between interviews and conversations, we’re putting together lists of Self-Starters making their own rules in their various fields. From curated online stores to repurposed wood transformed in a milk shed; these are the product design-focussed businesses we have our eye on now.
What: Anything-is-possible designer/maker consultancy.
Why: Thingking is headed up by Lyall Sprong and Marc Nicolson. Anything from a designer ice-cream truck to a floating vending machine can be seen leaving their workshop in Woodstock, Cape Town. Starting out with conceptual furniture, Thingking has become the go-to company for ad agencies with big ideas for brand activations. Over the passed year and a half they’ve worked on BEV, a Twitter-activated BOS Ice-Tea vending machine; an interactive booth for Castle Lite’s Mind Reader; and a Smile Machine for Toyota Etios.
Who: Southern Guild
What: Prestigious forum for original, high-end contemporary design in South Africa.
Why: Trevyn and Julian McGowan are a wife and husband team who founded Southern Guild in 2008 as an extension of their South African design export company, Source. Southern Guild is a forum for the very best of South African designers and artists who Trevyn and Julian invite to produce and premiere original pieces for the annual Southern Guild collection.
The yearly collections have been shown at the best art fairs around the globe and the showcase made its New York debut earlier this year. The company also established the Southern Guild Foundation in 2011. Lead by a Think Tank board of illustrious industry figures, the foundation awards funding, recognises achievements and acts as a conduit between business and design.
Southern Guild is partnered by ArcelorMittal South Africa.
Pics via www.curatethisspace.com
What: Workshop transforming reclaimed wood into contemporary furniture.
Why: Milkshed is a young East London-based product design and furniture manufacture company. All their products are made from locally sourced, reclaimed timber in a former milk shed owned by product designer Blaire Rieger’s retired dairy farmer granddad.
The Milkshed story is quite straightforward except for one major difference; they give all (as in every cent) of their profits to charity. So far the entrepreneurial NPO has helped to fix up a school on the outskirts of Cathcart and assisted a hospice in Indwede, among other charities.
What: Curated product design emporium, online.
Why: Africandy was founded by architects Chris van Niekerk and Pierre du Plessis as ‘The Definitive South African Design Emporium’. Wanting to limit the ‘curio shop’ association with South African design, the online store was established through careful curation to ensure every item displays a sense of integrity in its craft or concept. Chris and Pierre’s idea for their company is that it becomes a comprehensive resource for information on local designers as well as a place to buy their wares. They offer everything from small gift items to high-end furniture.
What: On-trend daily sales site.
Why: Citymob is the fastest growing ‘e-tailer’ in South Africa selling predominantly local design. Founded in 2012 by Claude Hanan and Luke Jedeikin, Citymob started out as a group buying site to test the local online-buying waters. In 2012 they launched their current model; selling fun, affordable, ‘want it’ design products in daily sales. Besides their regular sales run by the Citymob team of curators, the company cleverly works together with well-known design industry figures on hand-selected online pop-up shops. They also make it possible to own covetable pieces by local designers at discounted rates.