Meet the makers behind the gifts

As we have the privilege to celebrate another festive season, why not give your nearest and dearest meaningful gifts that tell a story? This year, we bring you an inspiring and somewhat different gift guide for a chance to meet the makers behind the gifts. 

The edgy entrepreneurs 

Meet the makers

Once a community clinic, a Stellenbosch heritage building is now an inviting space aimed at nurturing and celebrating entrepreneurial spirit. When local non-profit Ranyaka Community Transformation was awarded the building’s lease, the disused clinic was painstakingly transformed into a hub that showcases local talent: the CoCreate Hub. With the support of visionary investors and a skilled team of local designers and contractors, the historic building has undergone a dramatic transformation. The reimagined, light-filled interior respects the building’s heritage and many of the original aspects have been beautifully preserved. Visitors to the CoCreate Hub can expect baked goods from Idas Valley and Kylemore, bottled sauces and pestos, fresh and dried herbs, intricately beaded jewellery, leather handbags, and fashion with flair from the heart of Kayamandi. Whatever’s on offer, the CoCreate Hub’s designers and creators are not only passionate about their work, they are also invested in improving local economies and celebrating the region’s creative spirit. Whether shopping for festive gifts or looking to spoil yourself, you’re sure to find something that catches the eye. While admiring the building’s modern redesign, enjoy a cup of locally roasted coffee, visit the nail bar or salon, or sample Tannie Siena’s famous roosterkoek in the courtyard alongside various deli and street food vendors.

GOOD TO KNOW: Visit the CoCreate Hub at 7 Victoria Street in Stellenbosch; open Monday to Friday 09:00-16:30 and Saturday 09:00-14:00. Send an email to hub@ranyaka.co.za for more information or call 084 212 2000. For smaller gifting options or specific items, visit the CoCreate Hub online product catalogue.

Support local artisans and give a CoCreate Hub voucher to someone special this holiday. Visit CoCreate Hub online, enter the voucher amount of your choice followed by the recipient’s email address and then finalise your electronic payment. The recipient will get an email stating both the voucher code and the voucher amount to be spent in-store. Happy shopping!

The maverick milliner

Meet the makers

If you’re not familiar with the sheer artistry and talent of Crystal Birch, owner of The Hat Factory, you’d better hang onto your hat. After completing her studies in fashion design at the Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion in Stellenbosch, Crystal wasted no time in perfecting her skill at meticulous millinery under the guidance of Noel Stewart and Piers Atkinson, two of Britain’s finest hat makers. Fast forward a few years and Crystal Birch’s collection of feel-good head adornments are no stranger to fashionistas, celebrities and even the catwalks of Paris. Yes, for a tribute show honouring the work of late fashion designer and Lanvin creative director Alber Elbaz (1961–2021), a dreamy ostrich feather hat was exclusively made by the Crystal Birch team in collaboration with Thebe Magugu and shown as part of a runway celebration held in France’s capital. Back home, The Hat Factory offers everything from berets and fedoras to boleros and boaters. Simply put, hat heaven has never been this real…

Crystal Birch is much, much more than just another South African success story. She’s a soulful woman leading a team with heart and the brand’s many offerings reflect this. Did you know that all Crystal Birch’s felt, panama and wheat straw hats are approved by the Cancer Association of South Africa? This means you are guaranteed protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays.

GOOD TO KNOW: In Cape Town, you will find The Hat Factory – open to the public – at 42 Newmarket Street on the Foreshore. Send an email to studio@thehatfactory.africa or call +27 21 465 4505 for enquiries.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Ten of Crystal Birch’s pork pie boleros in straw are being sold exclusively on Stellenbosch Visio’s online store for a limited time. Each hat is hand-made, hand-braided and available in sizes S–XXL at R1 250. Scan the adjacent QR code and be summer ready, courtesy of the incomparable Crystal Birch.

The activewear duo 

Meet the makers

Want to build an iconic brand? Trust your instincts and surround yourself with inspiring and creative people, say Pierre Cronje and Andriana Botes, founders of local activewear brand Burnt Studios. And they should know – the success story behind the brand is nothing short of astonishing. During the summer of 2018, the couple decided to merge their love for fitness and fashion with a range of high-quality performance activewear that’s both functional and fashionable, and aimed exclusively at those who live and love an active lifestyle. Cue a small room situated on Andriana’s parents’ farm and no mobile coverage for kilometres. “Each morning we had to drive roughly 20km to find a spot on a farm road where there was a signal. Via mobile hotspots, we talked to future suppliers, arranged meetings, dealt with imports and built our very first online store. It was absolutely crazy,” Pierre recalls. With buckets of hard work, dedication, patience and drive, Burnt Studios took off with a vengeance and in 2019, the couple moved to Cape Town to run the business (also read warehouse, store and photo studio) from their apartment. By the end of that year, Burnt Studios had made its mark and a few months later Pierre and Andriana signed a lease agreement for an office and warehouse space in Woodstock. “Everything we do is focused on one goal: to inspire. To be a brand people want to support. To be a brand that people are proud to wear on their chest,” says Andriana. 

GOOD TO KNOW: Visit Burnt Studios online for an extensive selection of sport bras, tees and tanks, sweatshirts, jackets, tights and shorts, sweatpants, socks, caps and even a range of recently launched active jewellery. 

WIN! Burnt Studios is giving three lucky Stellenbosch Visio readers each a voucher to the value of R1,000. To stand a chance to win, send an email with the subject line BURNT to digital@stellenboschvisio.co.za by 10 January 2022. Remember to include your full name and mobile number. Winners will be notified via email.

The masterful potter 

Meet the makers

Artist, creator, retailer, gallerist, curator and teacher. Anthony Shapiro is not only one of South Africa’s leading ceramicists, he’s also a revered teacher in the delicate art of pottery. At the tender age of 13, Anthony discovered the world of pottery – and he was hooked. With a career spanning some four decades, his work is recognised and loved for its simple yet iconic form, as well as the use of elegant colours and glazes. Although most of Anthony’s ceramics are hand-thrown, he also loves building large coiled vessels by hand. “Makers must make. Making ceramics is a way of being in the world, a calling, a vocation,” he says. After serving an apprenticeship with pottery doyenne Kim Sacks from 1988 to 1990, Anthony’s love for teaching took flight. Today, many pottery enthusiasts flock to his well-equipped workshop in the heart of the Mother City to learn from the master known especially for his hand-building and wheel-throwing techniques. “Everyone from students and beginners to intermediate and advanced potters welcome. I simply adore the sacred space these classes create and the sense of community it forms,” he adds.

GOOD TO KNOW: Visit the Anthony Shapiro studio and workshop at 79 Roeland Street in Cape Town. Here you will also meet regular workshop attendee, Coco Shapiro, Anthony’s much-adored black miniature poodle. For more information or workshop enquiries, send an email to anthony@anthonyshapiro.co.za.

WIN! Would you like to win one of two Anthony Shapiro one-month workshop passes worth R1,600 each? Each pass includes four classes (one per week), clay, firing and selected glazes. Workshops take place from Mondays to Saturdays in dedicated time slots. To enter, send an email to digital@stellenboschvisio.co.za by 10 January 2022. Remember to include your full name and mobile number. Winners will be notified via email.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER! Created exclusively for Stellenbosch Visio, a small selection of works by Anthony Shapiro can now be purchased via our online store, but for a limited time only. Choose between nine one-of-a-kind pieces: seven decorative bowls in dark green at R750 each (W: 210mm, H: 110mm), a harlequin vase at R2,500 (W: 190mm, H: 270mm), and a harlequin bowl (W: 275mm, H: 185mm) at R2,000.

The watch enthusiast 

Meet the makers

The new chief executive officer of Swiss luxury and fine watchmaking company Ulysse Nardin, Patrick Pruniaux, has been enthusiastic about watches since his teens. Kicking off his professional timeline at multinational alcohol company Diageo in London, Patrick eventually moved to Africa and later Chicago. After joining luxury goods company LVMH in Miami in 2000, he became regional sales director for wines and spirits for Latin America. His career in watches, however, took off after he completed an MBA (HEC Paris and the London Business School) and graduated from Stanford Business School. Patrick decided to combine his passion for premium watches and sports while holding different notable positions at TAG Heuer. He was also a member of LVMH’s retail committee responsible for co-ordinating sales strategy between LVMH’s various watch and jewellery brands. In 2014, Patrick was hired by Apple to prepare the launch of the much-anticipated Apple Watch. He was later promoted to the position of managing director for the UK and Ireland in 2015. During his tenure at Apple, he spearheaded several launches for the brand’s iconic iPhone, iPad and Mac products. Patrick joined the Kering Group in September 2017 as chief executive officer of Ulysse Nardin, and a year later stepped in as CEO for Girard-Perregaux, another Kering Group brand. As passionate about the outdoors and wilderness sports as he is about sailing, kite surfing and free diving, the father of one is married and lives in Switzerland. 

Meet the makers
Ulysse Nardin owes its reputation to ties with the nautical world; its on-board marine chronometers are among the most reliable ever designed. The brand remains exceptionally popular with collectors all over the world. This year, Ulysse Nardin is celebrating its 175th anniversary and offers fans of exploration a vertical odyssey,  from the ocean depths to the upper atmosphere.

GOOD TO KNOW: Visit the BHH Boutique at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (Shop 6223, Victoria Wharf) for luxury watch and jewellery brands, including Ulysse Nardin, H. Moser & Cie., Parmigiani, Zenith, Dior, Hermès, Bulgari and Ebel. Call +27 21 418 1889/421 4296 or send an email to bhhct@archtime.co.za for more information.