Blog

Q&A With Vusani Ravele, Native Decor Founder

South African product designer and managing craftsman, Vusani Ravele won the hearts of  TV viewers following his appearance on Shark Tank South Africa. Vusani shares with us the impact securing investment has had on developing his business Native Decor, the challenges and rewards of growing a sustainable creative business, the importance of preparedness, having passion and believing in yourself.

 

1. Please introduce yourself, and tell us a bit about your background, where you are based, and what led you to a career in product design?

I grew up in South Africa in a small town called Tzaneen. In high school, I ran a tuck shop and had my first taste of entrepreneurial success on a small scale. At the same time, I was suppressing my artistic flair and just being a teenager. I went on to co-own a publishing business after studying Industrial Engineering at UJ. That business failed and left me a bit vulnerable but highly skilled at a few things. Following that, I worked as a sales rep and reached my peak as a sales manager within that company. It was on Valentine’s Day of 2015 that my girlfriend bought me a cordless drill that it all changed. I couldn’t stop drilling holes in things. Soon after that, I found myself building all sorts of things and eventually bought a CNC machine which was stationed in my living room. I was fascinated with this thing! With a website running and a few successful designs, I would work on my passion during my lunch hour (I lived 10 min from work), after work (much to my neighbour’s dismay), and on my weekends. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

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Ichyulu Connecting Modern African Fashion With Consumers

Ichyulu is a Nairobi based fashion retail platform that specialises in connecting consumers with African fashion. We caught up with the company to learn more about the African fashion retail industry and get her thoughts on the opportunities and advice for fashion designers looking to stock through retail outlets.   1. Please introduce yourself, and

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Q&A With Pop Up Africa Founder Jessica Laditan

Global interest in all things Africa continues to grow thanks in part to dedicated exhibitions and events that help to introduce the continent’s diverse offerings to new audiences. In the UK Pop Up Africa is one such series of events, usually comprising a mix of vibrant market and delectable food stalls, and where we had

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7 Designers and Artists Embracing Pattern Play

Bold, colourful and intricate patterns can be found throughout African design that reaches back through the centuries. And pattern continues to influence modern design emerging from and inspired by the continent. With the skies grey and overcast, we sought to brighten our spirits with some of the patterns, colours filling our social media feeds, so invite

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Design Inspired by the Decorative Forms Of Adinkra Symbols

As we highlighted in a previous post Adinkra symbols are a much-referenced communication system that has endured to present day. Adinkra symbols carry within them centuries of wisdom and are among one of the African continent’s oldest writing systems. The symbols have inspired designers and artists the world over who have drawn on the distinctive graphic

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Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art Is Open

The 22nd September 2017 saw the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA), in Cape Town, South Africa, heralded as being the first major institution on the African continent dedicated to collecting, researching and preserving the art of contemporary Africa and its diaspora.

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Q&A With Award-Winning Kenyan Digital Artist Osborne Macharia

The rapid advancement of digital technology brings forth diverse creative expressions, such as digital art that continue to astound and amaze us. Digital art has given a powerful voice to Africa’s emerging creative talent allowing for ta relative ease of dissemination and in the process attracting global attention towards stories and images that speak of

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Mozambican Artist Nelsa Guambe Merging Art and Sustainable Design

Nelsa Guambe is a self-taught artist who lives and works in Maputo, Mozambique. She is primarily a painter whose work moves beyond the canvas to incorporate product design, where working in collaboration with a local design studio, Piratas Do Pau Guambe’s colourful and surreal images help to transform discarded water heaters collected from the city’s streets into

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Is Africa Following Or Setting Creative Trends?

I was recently asked the question Is Africa Following Or Setting Creative Trends? I found this to be a very interesting yet difficult question to answer, and having done my best to do so at the time, the question has stayed with me as I felt it was a really important one that warranted a

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