Words: Kit Heathcock Images: Supplied
House of Kallie is an artisan jewellery designer and maker specialising in engagement rings. Men’s rings are another focus, as are their distinctive One Cent Africa pieces, plus small-scale manufacturing for other jewellers. Owner Kallie Doran tells us about their new studio in Observatory.
How did your business start?
I started eight years ago selling at markets. I’d recommend it for any designer starting out, as you get really good, honest feedback on your products, so you can quickly establish what works. My One Cent Africa and Heart took off and became the cornerstone of the company. Eventually I no longer had time for all the markets, so we started selling online. In 2013 we got funding from the CCDI to set up our foundry and began small scale mass production for other jewellers, as well as designing and making for House of Kallie. With our engagement rings I want to take away the intimidating element of choosing a ring. Most guys have no idea where to start. We offer a friendly, accessible, down-to-earth approach, encouraging them to customise a design, as each piece is hand-made to order.
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Earlier this year I moved home from Fish Hoek to Observatory. I’d just gone solo again after my business partners had left, so I had the freedom to relocate the workshop anywhere. Obs is so much closer to town than our previous Muizenberg studio, to suppliers and other creatives. I’ve now got so many more resources at my fingertips, I’m loving it.
How did you find your premises?
The Bijou was always a building that I’d wanted to be in, so when I heard via the grapevine that a space was available here, I jumped.
Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
The Bijou is an old art nouveau cinema converted into studios and workshops. It’s got real character and that’s important when you work in a creative field. There’s also so much value to working among other creatives, you feed off each other, share advice, knowledge, and hearing the hum of hammers from the forge below inspires my studio to be more productive.
Who are your neighbours?
Within the Bijou there’s Conrad Hicks Studio, Intaglio Studio, Growbag, Ferral surf boards, Studio Caro de Waal and several others.
What are the rental / sales prices like in this area?
They are quite high compared to our previous Southern Suburbs space, being closer to the CBD, but it’s worth it for the creative vibe that comes with it.
How many people visit your business each day?
We mostly do online business, but we encourage local clients to visit us, by appointment only, and shop directly.
Do you have any expansion plans?
In January we are taking over another section to grow the One Cent Africa as a second company, for which we’re developing an exciting new tech hybrid between online and retail shopping.
Do you operate online as well?
Most of my business is online currently.
What’s your most popular item?
Men’s rings, our olive wood bands. Our protea engagement ring range. All of our nostalgic range of pieces based on the old one cent coins.
House of Kallie
084 445 1670