With a passion for locally sourced homeware, apparel and accessories in tune with nature, African Lab Design was established to showcase stunning, sustainable products. We chat to the founder Angie Kerzner
Which profession/s were you in before starting this business and what inspired you to establish it?
I started in the fashion industry, owning two retail outlets called Lola’s Closet. We imported most of our products but started a range of locally designed dresses which turned out to be our best sellers. I realised just how much potential there was in our local manufacturing industry but it also highlighted for me how local designers were struggling to distribute their products. I started African Lab Design to help designers get their products out to the local market through an online shop. My dream is to become the Net-A-Porter of South Africa.
What differentiates African Lab Design from other brands?
Our ethos is to make a difference locally, by, wherever possible sourcing and manufacturing locally and focusing on the upliftment of women in the community.
Tell us about some of the collaborations you’ve been involved with, as well as who you would love to collaborate with.
We are currently collaborating with a charity called Lalela. The organisation provides education and arts to children and teenagers from first grade up to twelfth grade in a safe learning environment, after-school and during holidays. These programmes help develop and navigate a clear path for students who are normally from underprivileged backgrounds. We then take the children’s artwork, print or embroider it onto fabric and manufacture beautiful products with royalties going back to Lalela. We’ve previously collaborated with Kat van Duinen (luxury fashion and leather designer), Kushn (hand crafted, high-end leather designers) and Mervyn Gers Ceramics. We would love to continue collaborating with local designers, particularly those who have an upliftment element woven into the fabric of their organisation.
What do you love most about your job?
It allows me to express myself creatively, gives me the ability to make a difference and also I get to live my passion for supporting local.
Where can our readers buy your products?
Our products are available from our online store as well as at NAP stores countrywide, Opulent Living on Kloof Street, Merchants on Long in Cape Town, the iWorld stores in KwaZulu-Natal and The Warehouse in Durban.