1. TSAKANI MASHABA, HAMETHOP
The brains behind this fantastic fashion brand, Mashaba has a lot more high-craft up her very stylish sleeve — and all inspired by our continent. If the Mali fabric she uses in her super directional clothing line is anything to go by, we can’t wait. The textile is named for and inspired by the wonderful design work of the West African country and hand-woven by experts in the Joburg CBD. Government types reading this: we need more of this home-grown production and skills development, thanks.
Your main inspiration? Art; I am at my happiest in an art gallery. I am inspired by artists’ freedom of expression.
What do you love most about your job? I love being in the factory; the research and development stage is an absolute delight. We work with amazing crafters who are a treasure for our brand, as craftsmanship is an essential part of our brand ethos.
Your biggest challenge? Navigating what is possible and impossible to manufacture locally. We strive to be a 100% locally manufactured brand but the industry has taken a knock so much that our local factories closing down makes it even more challenging to create locally.
What are you proudest of? I am particularly proud of our local collaborations with crafters, architects, weavers, and manufactures, making it easier to deliver a product that fuses different skillsets and expertise.
Your ultimate luxury? Eating well.
What’s next for your brand? Our new handbag and homeware collections.
• For for more information, visit: @hamethop on Instagram.
2. CAROL BOUWER, CAROL BOUWER BAGS
To say that the philanthropist, TV producer, and lady about town is mad about her luxury-bag brand might be the understatement of the century. Bouwer is building a business based on exceptional production, style, and provenance. Her beauties are produced locally, from fully-traceable animal skins, and their craftsmanship is stellar (check out the mechanism that attaches interchangeable straps on them, and you’ll know what we mean). We want to collect them all.
What’s your inspiration? I love the idea of giving a fresh edge to designs from a bygone era. So the bags are not high fashion but they feel like a return to an old feeling; an old way of being and a time where style was less about what you had and more about how you were. The artisanal world is really being appreciated again, so I am proud that my bags are crafted using the best materials and by South Africa’s very best craftsmen and women.
What’s your ultimate luxury? Time! Covid-19 has taught me that I never had enough of it and no diamond, no car, and no holiday feels as good as being able to determine how my time is spent.
What’s next for Carol Bouwer bags? Global expansion! Am I as confident post-Covid as before it? Wobbly, but helluva determined!
3. MPHO PHALANE, FOOD I LOVE YOU
Phalane gave up a career in advertising to follow her passion — creating food with heart and meaning. What she dishes up for Sunday lunches (comfort alert: she does home deliveries) and at her harvest table at Victoria Yards are meals that embody South African culture, contemporary food thinking, indigenous produce, and proper deliciousness. This brilliant chef is a leading light of the South African food scene.
What’s your main inspiration? People, human stories, and wellbeing inspire me.
What do you love most about your job? Being able to create meaningful experiences through food that allow people to pause, connect, share, and empathise with one another.
Your biggest challenge? Work-life balance. I’m learning more and more to take care of me in order to give the business the best of me. The food business is very taxing when you are extremely passionate and particular. It’s easy to think nothing else matters — including yourself.
What are you proudest of? Listening to myself and being brave enough at any point to pursue opportunities, even when it’s not fashionable.
Your ultimate luxury? Body and face products — I never know when to stop spending on them. I also love quality homeware and beautiful linen.
What’s next for your brand? Tough question. If you had asked me this three months ago, I probably would have given you a different answer. One thing for sure is that I will continue creating meaningful food experiences that really focus on human connection and identity.
• For for more information, visit: foodiloveyou.co.za.
4. TINASHE NYAMUDOKA, KUMUSHA WINES
You’ll know his face, and work, as the former head sommelier at South Africa’s most illustrious restaurant, The Test Kitchen. Now the Zimbabwean-raised, newfound Joburger has struck out to make his own range of wines. Named Kumusha, which is Shona for “origins”, these exciting new varietals and blends are, no doubt, going to cause a stir in the local market. But the fervent Nyamudoka is also making inroads in his home country and further into Africa too. We say, “makorokoto” to him, and to you — stock up!
Your main inspiration? It comes from my inborn need to always prove myself in whatever field I am.
What do you love most about your job? When I was a sommelier working in restaurants, I enjoyed meeting and interacting with people from different fields, brought together by food and wine. Now, as owner of Kumusha Wines, I enjoy introducing my wines to people and evoking emotions with them.
Your biggest challenge? Being on top is a challenge for me because I enjoy the process more than the achievement. It means I’m constantly looking for something to build.
What are you proudest of? Being a father to my two daughters.
Your ultimate luxury? Champagne and oysters for breakfast every day.
What’s next for your brand? To sell a million bottles of wine into Africa and the rest of the world in the next three years.
• For for more information, visit: kumushabrands.com.
5. SHAKIL KHAN, TONKA BEAN BAKERY
Have you stalked Khan’s Instagram to see where he’ll be doing the next pop-up sale of his patisserie yet? If not, we think you’re not taking baked goods seriously enough. The Joburg pastry chef is all about creativity and quality and his filled donuts, croissants, and tartlets and cakes are life-changingly good. No wonder they are in demand for the who’s-who of Joburg. Get in line!
What is your main inspiration? Customers who appreciate and are satisfied with our products will always be our main inspiration.
What do you love most about your job? The feeling of satisfaction I get when I know the product is ready for the market after months of development, experimentation, and preparation.
Who’s your patisserie icon? I have many, including Claire Clark, Dominique Ansel, Mori Yoshida, Kirsten Tibballs, and Adriano Zumbo.
Your biggest challenge? The logistics of getting our products around and the containment of cost from some of our imported ingredients.
What are you proudest of? The staff who have become family and the progress that we have made over the past five years.
Your biggest luxury? Travelling and spending as much time as possible with passionate pastry chefs around the world.
What’s next? To continue growing this small business and having stores all over the country when the time is right and the right opportunities present themselves.
• For for more information, visit: tonkabeanbakery.co.za.
6. BONOLO CHEPAPE, LULASCLAN
Rustenburg-native Chepape’s enthusiasm for her craft is infectious. Chat to her and you’ll immediately want to support her surface-design and interiors brand. Her wallpapers, fabrics, art prints, and scatter cushions all talk to her love for culture, family, and history and her real quest for perfection. We are mad about her bespoke handwoven mohair rugs that feature Zulu, Ndebele, and Xhosa design elements.
What’s your main aim? To create textile designs that preserve our African aesthetic and culture and celebrate our heritage and document stories of everyday life — past and present — in contemporary ways. Hopefully they inspire others as well as serve to educate them.
What do you love most about your job? I love the designing part of it. It allows me to get lost in another world, another space. It’s a spiritual process for me, which I find balance in.
Your biggest challenge? Keeping up with the business’ growth and evolving how I do things every day to improve and to grow. It’s also tapping into the international market and increasing my footprint beyond South African borders.
What are you proudest of? The many accolades that I’ve received so far (and so early in my journey). But I am most proud that I have a family that really has made everything possible for me, working with me, and helping me to bring my vision to life.
What’s your ultimate luxury? It’s a difficult one as I think the concept of luxury is in a state of consistent change. Having products made by the best artisans in South Africa, that are well-crafted and exude our African essence in a contemporary and globally challenging way would probably be it. They don’t have to be made using a million gemstones but rather by the best hands, and with a very beautiful and authentic story.
What’s next for your brand? More product developments, refinements, amazing textiles, and amazing collaborations.
• For for more information, visit: lulasclan.com.
• From the July issue of Wanted 2020.