fraai meRaai Ontwerp {feature}

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. 
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful - Albert Schweizer.

These words couldn't ring more true about today's featured artist - Cornea from fraai meRaai Ontwerp. I am very excited to share this post with you as I have known Cornea for a very very long time - from grade one. In fact, I think we were in the same home class every year as our surnames both started with W - and I have just loved tracking her progress from small beginnings to her now opening her own shop! I love a good success story and showcasing how truly awesome the South African design scape really is. Enjoy!


Fraai MeRaai started when you started planning your own wedding, right?  Please tell me more about this.

When planning my own wedding last year I went to the a very famous Bridal Expo - the idea was to tie down some great suppliers and spend big bucks on all things pretty and totally unnecessary...BUT to my disappointment I was overwhelmed with wedding planners and photographers bombarding me with flyers, brochures and business cards. 

As a graphic designer i was very annoyed and cought myself wondering what I would have done differently. We had some cake, entered a few competitions and left with a bag that could - on it's own - be responsible for global warming! Yes - a paper trail to be ashamed of...

Since I was already designing my own wedding stationery and DIY gifts for the bridal party, I thought I might as well fill the gap in the market and start advertising it. Believe it or not - this idea aided in funding my wedding! YAY! Now, the little idea has exploded into a business I never would have thought possible. 

I am so overwhelmed with the interest, but so thankful as it forced me to quit my day job and persue my passion! My only regret - not having the products and ideas (I currently have) for my own wedding which was in February of this year. Haha

What sort of products do you make? Do you also provide services?

 The main attribute is that I do custom designs for each client. This means that I design all their chosen products to suit their theme and colour combination of the event. Some products include Tank tops & T-shirts, Carry Bags, Drinky Cups, Badges, Boutonnieres, Vintage Sashes, Garters, Dresses and underwear.

Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
My inspiration? Well a simple answer will be: "in all the pretty vintage things". I love DIY, so I am always on the look out for new ideas in magazines and on websites, also my clients have the most wonderful ideas and sometimes a simple "Meraai can you make something like this" enquiry can be responsible for a whole new product line!  Most importantly, when I see something that inspires me to create a new product, I ALWAYS try to do my own concept -  in my own style to make sure it is unique to Fraai Meraai Ontwerp.

You recently decided to do this full time. What are some of the challenges of being your own boss?
True. This is all new to me. People don't always understand that I am one person responsible for everything from admin and invoicing, to marketing, designing and actually producing the handmade products. It's a big learning curve and I struggle to prioritise between when I should pay attention to what. I trust that I will master this in due time, and that having an assistant of sorts would be a great help to myself  and the business.

How do you perceive the South African creatives/design landscape?

I must say, since starting Fraai Meraai Ontwerp I have been exposed to local talent that I never even dreamed of seeing in SA. We are a nation truly blessed with original thoughts and ideas - in my opinion - the mass produced products of America and China will never portray the love and passion we as South African designers capture in our work.

What is your favourite colour/ material to work with, and why?
Oh hello turquoise! It's my happy colour! Materials...hmmm...I would most definitely have to say the Pertersham and Cotton ribbons I use for the boutonnieres :) I don't like working with Satin, but in some cases it really adds that special shine to a product made for a wedding.

What would you do if you won the lotto?
I have a big dream of having my own wedding venue. Designed in my taste and according to what I was looking for when searching for venues. It will be the perfect "one-stop-bridal-spot" and OOPS -  I have already said more than I should! I am currently working towards the dream :)

Where to from here?
I hope to move to a bigger premises and employ more staff. This will also allow me to expand the product line and open franchise studios all over SA for design interns and students to gain experience,helping me help them through job creation and exploring the local talent.

What has been your proudest moment since you started?

Proud moments are those when I am asked to be featured on blogs or websites. I will never get tired of that - it's such a compliment! PROUDEST moment...when a client emailed me saying the following "On a flight for a business trip to Cape Town, the air hostess noticed my Fraai Ring and asked me: "I love your ring, where did you get it - from Fraai Meraai???" I know it's something small, but being noticed means the world to me!


Leanne Van Breda said...

Such beautiful details!!!

Arum Lilea

Catriona @ Precious Impressions said...

Oh my goodness! So much prettiness. I love the bags and t-shirts. Cornea is one super talented lady :)

Meghan Silva said...

Just gorgeous, makes me so proud to be South African when I see creative businesses like this, great interview and beautiful pictures.

Kate said...

I love her idea of a ''one-stop-wedding-shop''. She has some gorgeous things!

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