Thursday, 26 June 2014

who we are and what we do

One of the tasks that seemed to keep shifting about ever since we relaunched our website last year was the "About Us" page. We pondered how to best introduce and represent ourselves online...because we really wanted something to boast about, something which we look at and get that delicious chuffed feeling when we did. But this is an "About Us" page. It requires awkward portrait photo's that no one in the world wants to pose for (more awkward than your ID photograph when you were 16 years old) what to do? Chantal (being the idea-generator that she is) sighed aloud one day, "If only we could look as amazing as the characters in Jesse Breytenbach's graphic novel!" And then her eyes got that "Ooo-Ooo-this-is-a-good-idea!" look. It's one of the invaluable perks of working with over 100 talented designers, that with a phone call and a few emails, we now have the best "About Us" page that we've ever seen - with portraits of ourselves that we absolutely love. 
Thank you Jesse!

Chantal  is the proud owner of KIN. It's her eyes that have the creative vision to see all of who KIN is and what it can grow to become. Chantal's road to entrepreneurship was driven by her deep desire to do business differently. Combining her love of art, business and yogic philosophy, she believes in changing the world one connection and one sale at a time. She is a skilful multi-tasker, which allows her to support all aspects of the business and yet simultaneously see a panorama of KIN as a whole. Chantal also has an enviable knack to think up excellent concepts and ideas, and to see possibilities that ordinary eyes miss.

EddieHaving spent his formative months in an art gallery, Eddie has a nose for great design. He’s the type of guy that knows your thoughts before you think them and, in truth, we actually all work for him. With just one of his big-eyed glances, he has us happily doing his bidding –  “A plate of bacon, Eddie? Why right away of course!” He has a heart even bigger than those big eyes, and if you ever need cuddles, Ed is always up for a tummy rub. Naturally, Ed is the Director of Loves and Licks.

Eliana - Although she has the style and street cred of the New Yorker that she is, E’s heart is definitely South African. She looks after all our precious products – from styling and merchandising in the stores, to handling all ordering and stock with our collective of over 100 designers. E dexterously manages the beasts that are Pastel accounting and monthly stock take, and ensures our stores are full to the brim of the things we all love so much. With her compassionate and no-nonsense attitude, E also organises our HR side making sure our KINfolk are healthy, happy and listening to good 80’s playlists.
Melany - Mel is that rare creature in which creativity and business is combined. A pinner of interests and avid online shopper, Mel uses her unique skill set to run KIN online and build her designer-maker company Font and Heart. Mel manages our social media calendar and gets a little over-enthusiastic when KIN followers comment, like and get involved. She also plans our window displays and regular photoshoots, enjoying choosing items from KIN’s vast array of goodies to style for our online store and monthly newsletter, or to suggest to our regular stylists and press.

Tasneem - Taz manages our Kloof Street store. Her bubbly nature and natural passion allow her to handle local and international visitors with ease. As she is a gifted fine artist herself, Taz has an innate love and understanding of KIN’s designer-made products. She is also involved with Kloof’s monthly window exhibitions and can often be seen in the window boxes drawing the most wonderful things on the glass. As KIN on Kloof is a neighbourhood store at heart, Taz our city bowl girl is a perfect fit.
Fazlin manages our V&A store and looks after our Angels who work the night shifts (did you know KIN at V&A is open from 9am – 9pm everyday?!). She speaks several languages and often has us enthral to the wonderful tales of her international travels and adventures. Her effortless warmth and openness ensure she is an instant favourite with even the most hard-to-please international guest. Ever since The Great Flood of 2014, we are in awe of her well-structured thinking and smooth organisation, and know that Fazlin is definitely the right sort of lady to look to in a crisis.

Thessa - A non-native to these lands, arriving in Cape Town eight years ago, it only took four years for The Mountain to imbue the entrepreneurial spirit to Thessa’s love of design. Thessa co-founded and managed KIN with Chantal, constructing our signature visual merchandising style and heading up many of the exciting projects with which KIN has been involved - such our mentorship program and various expos. In 2013, Thessa was offered the irresistible opportunity to coordinate the Dutch Embassy's World Design Capital 2014 programme, and build relationships between Dutch and South African design and innovation. Although off on a new adventure, Thessa remains an integral a part of the KIN family and we love our catch-ups over coffee more than ever.

The Angels - While other stores may have “shop assistants”, KIN has Angels : Adelaide, Lindsay, Mimi, Tamzin & Tshego complete our team. These beautiful ladies have each built up an incredible knowledge of each designer's story and range of products. They are also adept at giving directions and know all the best local restaurants and places of interest to suggest. Our Angels are creative problem solvers and will go out of their way to ensure our customers are delighted, informed and feel completely at home in our stores.

KIN's gorgeous staff portraits are illustrations by the talented Jesse Breytenbach of Henri KuikensAfter us falling in love with her graphic novel I Don't Like Chocolate, her illustrated comic prints and her exquisite block-printed fabric products, Jesse was one of the very first designers to join the KIN family.

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