01 Oct Made in Woodstock: Chapel
Chapel was founded by Caleb Pedersen in 2009 after an unsuccessful search for a good-looking, locally made backpack to use while cycling around Cape Town. The backpack he designed to solve this problem became Chapel’s number 1 bestseller, The Rider.
Locally sourced material and quality handmade products for everyday living are the foundations of the business and govern the entire design process. The team – Caleb, Carol, Carmen, Betty, Brandon and Grethe – work from the Chapel concept store and studio at The Woodstock Exchange putting the utmost craft into everything they make. We visited to see how it’s done.
Chapel originated from the idea of making well designed backpacks for riding bicycles around town; how has the brand expanded since its creation?
We now have 10 different leather products, ranging from work bags and handbags to travel bags and accessories. Our bags are made from a combination of game and cow leather and we’re constantly updating our styles keeping them unique to the Chapel brand.
Chapel has been based in Woodstock for a while now, what about the area has made it a good base for your product?
Being part of the change and growth has been inspiring, it’s great to see new business and creatives moving here. I love Woodstock, and the ease of cycling from home to work every day is important to the way I want to live. My days out on the bike inspire and shape a lot of the products we make.
It seems some of the inspiration behind the brand has come from your travels, what places have had an influence?
Scandinavia continues to inspire us, The Netherlands and India are favourites too.
Chapel sources from and produces all its pieces in the area, is this an important aspect of your business ethic?
Absolutely! We try use as many local products as possible and we believe in the quality that we produce. It’s definitely easier and cheaper to have products made up in the East, but we’ve chosen to start and grow our business locally. We have a great team who’ve been in the leather industry for years and have an extensive knowledge about the product.
Your business is part of The Woodstock Exchange, what about working in this environment appeals to you?
Woodstock is a great melting pot of culture, people and creatives businesses. The Exchange is a convenient place to work, and having our workshop/office and flagship store all at the same space is an extra bonus.
How does your brand’s aesthetic translate to the shop’s design and use of space?
We’ve used exposed Chestnut wood and light grey touches, combining a raw and authentic Scandinavian and African heritage. Clean lines and timeless styling.
What music is likely to be playing in your space?
Tough question. Light electro dance or Paul Simon and a bit of reggae when it gets too busy.
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