Ceramic Factory has just changed its name to Rialheim, inspired by the studio’s move to Clairvaux, a farm near Robertson. Founder and creative director, Rial Visagie, talks to us about the Cape Town store, 117 on Long.
I was assisting a group of ceramicists in Diepsloot. A trip to the nearest ceramic studio to buy clay led to the owner asking if I was interested in buying her studio, to which I said no. However, I had a change of heart and called my partner, Daniel, to tell him we’d bought a ceramic studio. The initial thinking behind Ceramic Factory was to create a studio that would craft collections for other designers. We needed to convince them of our credentials so we developed a small collection. We started getting large orders from chain and independent stores all over the world. Just six months into Ceramic Factory’s existence we needed to grow our studio and we decided to move the studio to my family farm, Clairvaux.
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Long Street is like a little village in a big town. The product offerings complement each other so well, attracting international visitors for a uniquely local shopping experience.
How did you find your premises?
Our original store on Kloof Street was riddled with serious site issues. The previous tenant of 117 Long Street, Imagenius, knew we were searching for new premises and mentioned us to the owners. Pieter Visser has always provided platforms for young ceramicists and luckily he and his daughter Liane loved our product so much that they chose us from all the proposals they received.
It’s ideal for the Cape Town retail market, an amazing building and location, and we have supportive owners and wonderful neighbours.
Who are your neighbours?
Art galleries, local clothing designers like MeMeMe, Mungo & Jemima, and Cafe Mozart.
What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
Like any good central location, it doesn’t come cheap, but the landlord has assisted us with a special rate for the first year.
What is your shop foot traffic?
Do you have any expansion plans?
We’ve just opened a store next to our studio at Clairvaux. The name change has enabled us to explore different mediums such as textile. It’s my dream to have different studios that manufacture items in other mediums. We also recently secured a distributor in Europe and are growing the Rialheim brand there.
Do you operate online as well?
We’ve finally embraced e-commerce and will have an online shop on our new website which will be launching soon.
What’s your most popular item?
060 399 5862
Words: Kit Heathcock | Images: supplied