Oh this is one of those stories we get super excited about! Young entrepreneurs finding their own little space in the big world. This business already has so much character and heart – you cannot help it to support them! Plus they have really stunning wooden pieces…
So, who is Yolandi – the brain behind Fox & Twine?
I actually left this question for last! It’s probably one of the hardest questions for me to answer. Hmmm… Well, Yolandi is a person who is in love with the world around her! Honestly, you do not want to go on a road trip with me – everything I see amazes me. Even the bad things have their place but I try not to focus on that too much.
I feel that life is such a precious gift and we need to LIVE it to the utmost best of our abilities. For me, I do that by creating things… Be it a drawing, painting, meal, photograph. I try to put a little bit of myself, my heart, into everything I do.
Growing up in the Free State, I spent my days as a child, building little shelters in the garden with my best friend, or “baking” mud cakes and elaborately decorating them with stones, twigs and leaves. I have always had a passion for drawing and visual media such as photography. The world is way too wonderful not to fall in love with it. So I would say, Yolandi is someone who gets a kick out of being creative and appreciating everything around her.
Tell us a bit more about Fox & Twine and how it all started..
When my parents were newlyweds, they packed up all their belongings and set out to start their own carpentry business in the city. However, things never really worked out so they gave up on their dream and settled for a secure life in the suburbs with their three children. Although they continued to do smaller scale carpentry projects, their main focus was now on their three daughters and raising them to be responsible, headstrong women.
Fast forward to 2016 and their nest is finally empty and suddenly their middle child (that’s me) is nagging them to make some shelves for her home… As soon as those machines were dusted off and the familiar hum of the saw and spindle filled the air, they were both enchanted by the sweet nostalgia ! It was amazing to see the sparkle and enthusiasm in their eyes as they showed me what they had made ! And then, I had a thought… Now that their children have all left the house, why not pick up where they have left off, almost 35 years ago?
So, we started planning and brainstorming and we dreamt up Fox & Twine !
We love the fact that this is a family-run business. Tell us a bit about how you manage it?
I would say that I am the dreamer of the crew! I love showing my parents new designs and ideas and we just go from there. We try not to over-complicate our designs as the key element is simplicity! We always go to these markets and see things on Pinterest or in magazines and think, “I can make that!” But we never do… Until now that is! I also love design and photography, that is why I manage our social media page which is our primary source of advertisement at the moment.
My father is the carpenter (he started his apprenticeship when he was 14 years old!) He is in charge of choosing the wood, sawing, assembling and literally making our products. I’m sure my father was an inventor in his previous life 🙂 He can make anything!
My mother, who is an absolute perfectionist, is in charge of rounding off the design and making sure there are no imperfections. She has a keen eye for detail and is very precise !
We often consult with my two sisters (one a mommy and one a student) and exchange thoughts and ideas regarding functional design in their respective living spaces. (Family market research if you will)
Tell us about your first range of products..
I absolutely love minimal, functional design with clean basic lines inspired by Nordic and Scandinavian decor. We focus on simplicity so we opted for designs that are just that – simple and uncomplicated.
Our first range (which we are still expanding) consists of three types of shelving :
- The Teepee shelf, which works beautifully in a modern / clean / monochromatic space, is one of my favourites. It comes in an array of colours or natural. Pair it with a cactus or succulent and you have the perfect match !
- The skyline shelf – A multi-functional shelf suitable for any space. We can also customise the design at the top! This shelf comes in natural and whitewashed colours.
- Birdhouse shelf – This lovely shelf is so versatile and works well in children’s rooms ! We recently received a request to have the little roofs painted. Which is such a sweet touch!
What are your plans for the rest of the range?
We are planning to incorporate more natural materials alongside the wood i.e. leather, cotton, twine and even mirrors ! Whilst our main focus is functionality we are also introducing a few decorative items and photo frames in various interesting designs. Also be on the lookout for something special for your furry friends !
Where do you find your inspiration for the products?
I absolutely LOVE the city (JHB), especially Maboneng and Braamfontein. I look for inspiration in the colours of the buildings, the lines and textures ! We try to combine modern design (i.e. minimalism, geometric shapes, monochromatic colour schemes) with organic elements such as wood and leather. I am currently obsessed with Scandinavian and Nordic design and I read a ton of design blogs on the subject. Inspiration is all around is, we just need to know what exactly we are looking for in it.
What are your future plans with Fox & Twine?
Markets ! Markets ! Markets ! We honestly just want to get out there and share our work with others. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we don’t have secret dreams of becoming a very popular decor brand, but for now, we are taking it day by day… It’s way too fun to over-complicate 🙂
Any tips you can give to young and upcoming entrepreneurs who want to start their own thing?
Never ever ever let ANYONE tell you that you can’t do something. It definitely is a scary thought, taking those first steps into a new endeavor…
But trust me, I would rather fail gloriously, no wait, EPICLY, than have my dreams fizzle out and die. That to me, is the first step 🙂
You can get in touch with Yolandi @ Facebook give them some love with a like & a share!