Henriette Botha is the woman behind the jewellery brand of the same name, which now has a home in the Newtown Workshop. She designs and creates her pieces incorporating African crafts like beadwork, but modernising them with metal finishes, crocheting or semiprecious stones. She employs eight other women.
YN: How did your business start?
Henriette: I studied fashion design in Paris, and when I came back for a visit I noticed so many young designers doing their own thing here. It’s impossible in Paris because there’s such saturation. So I started planning to come back and set something up here. I also wanted to help create jobs and help local talent to retain traditional skills like beading. I came back in 2012, and in 2013, I launched my studio in Parktown creating jewellery to sell wholesale.
YN: Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Henriette: The opportunity came along to open a shop in the Newtown Workshop. The spaces are affordable for young designers and start-ups, and there are lots of other local designers showcasing their creations. So it felt like the right place to be.
YN: How did you find your premises?
Henriette: We chose a shop off plan. Our placement was important – we wanted to be close to the entrance and among specific neighbours.
YN: Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
Henriette: The idea behind the Workshop is to sell locally made products. I just fitted in there because everyone else is also a designer. So it’s great to be a part of that.
YN: Who are your neighbours?
Henriette: We’ve got Yivani Naturals, a cosmetics range, on one side, and KuNa Kids clothes on the other. Then Kisua, a clothing brand, is opposite us. We also share our shop space and a sales assistant with another company called House of Cinnamon that sells shoes.
YN: What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
Henriette: R260/m2, and we have 10m2. The stores go up to 40m2.
YN: How many people go through your store each day?
Henriette: It’s really hard to say, and we’ve only been open two months. It goes up and down, and sometimes we’ll get really busy with tourists. And obviously there are more people on weekends – especially Sundays.
YN: Do you have any expansion plans?
Henriette: Nothing at this stage.
YN: Do you operate online as well?
Henriette: Yes: henriettebotha.com
YN: What’s your most popular item?
Henriette: We have been very surprised that a fairly pricey item – the black rosa necklace – has been so popular it’s sold out.
See for yourself:
Words: Georgina Guedes
Images: Chris Saunders