I only learned about Design Store while I was searching for brands to come on board with “fillers” for our Bedroom Makeover Collaboration. And obviously I very quickly realised this was a company with very extensive range of incredible products. Probably one of the few companies I know that have something in just about every category; be it for Kids, Baby nurseries or every element of Home living. And everything is just drop dead gorgeous!! I was smitten!
When Ute, owner of Design Store, sent me a selection of goods that would work in our feature, i was straight away taken by their black Nguni Horn Wall Hook made from Ash timber! It’s really such a beauty! I love the way it can be secured on a wall and used to hang hats or scarves or pretty things, but also be used as an accessory, like we have used it : Just leaning against a wall or on a shelf. It gives the rest of the room a little bit of an edge don’t you think?
Ute was one of the few people I actually met personally through this collaboration and when she walked into my home on a rainy Friday afternoon with her little girl it felt like we had known each other for ages! She exudes such a warmth and her creative energy is almost tangible! Let’s get to know this company a little better as Ute tells us first hand about how her store started and where it’s taken her since……
1. How was your business/brand born and how long have you been running?
Design Store is relatively new and launched end February of this year. Prior to this I worked on another ecommerce brand for 4 years called Green Elephant Collective. This first store served as my ‘school fees’ within the ecommerce space and now I’ve taken what I’ve learnt there and created the much improved brand of Design Store.
2. Tell us a bit about your brand and business ethos.
I’ve got a passion for beautiful things designed and made in South Africa. My aim is to share my finds with you by making them all conveniently accessible in one place via Design Store’s user-friendly online marketplace. Our focus is on bringing the best of South African design to your doorstep.
3. What is your signature product?
Design Store stocks such a variety of homeware, décor and furniture, from a group of top South African designers, that I simply cannot say which our signature product is. We have launched with our own range of steel beds, and these have proven to be extremely popular so far which I’m very grateful about.
4. How would you describe your own personal style?
At home, I naturally gravitate towards a minimalistic yet earthy design aesthetic at home, with the colour combos of grey, white, shades of blue and green, and splashes here and there of either mustard or soft pinks, completing the picture. Our home has real wooden floors throughout and concrete terrazzo floors in the bathrooms, which I absolutely love and would definitely recreate in any future homes we have. I’m a sucker for natural light; so the higher the ceiling the bigger the window, the better.
5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
With social media such as Instagram and Pinterest it’s easy to see what’s out there, both locally and abroad. Cape Town and the surrounds are full of amazing restaurants – there’s nowhere better to get some décor and design trends from, than visiting the prettily-styled eateries around town or the winelands. I’ve also been an avid follower of VISI, House and Leisure, and Design Milk for years.
6. What have been some of the greatest highlights on your journey this far?
Rebranding my original ecommerce store, Green Elephant Collective, into Design Store has definitely been a highlight. Design Store is still a work-in-progress, and getting to the brand I envision more each day. Something that I’ve wanted to do for years is in-house product design. The range of steel beds, which are only available through us, I’m very proud of. I’d love to expand on the current steel bed range later during 2017. I’m also busy exploring adding other exclusive products to the store in collaboration with local artists and creatives.
7. What have been some of your greatest challenges?
The biggest challenge for me personally, is to find enough time each day to do everything I want to achieve with the brand. Balancing family life with work can also be tough, as I want to be that super mom who’s got a successful career, yet spends each mid-to-late afternoon with her kids attending extra-mural activities, plus a trophy wife who dishes up a decent meal for her husband in the evenings. 🙂
8. How do you keep up with trends while still remaining true to your personal style?
It’s all about mixing the trends with what I personally like and feel comfortable with. And what budget allows for!
9. What do you want your customers to feel when they have purchased something from your store?
What will they know when purchasing something from you? Design Store proudly stocks superior-made South African homeware and furniture items. I’m all for supporting local instead of purchasing mass-produced products from the East. Customers that shop with Design Store have the same appreciation for quality and craftsmanship that I do.
10. How do you juggle family/personal life while still looking after your business?
With plenty of coffee! I’m also lucky that my husband is a naturally hands-on dad, so often he’ll entertain the kids over weekends (with the help from either set of grandparents who all live 45 – 60 min away) so that I can play catch-up with the business.
11. Where can we ﬁnd you?