Sisters doing it for themselves

Natasha and Michelle Talliard with one of their flyers.

Made in Everywhere, an online business which aims to promote creative products, people and their place of origin, is the brainchild of two dynamic entrepreneurs from Westridge who are the keynote speakers at this year’s Open Design Festival.

Sisters Michelle and Natasha Talliard co-founded the brand Made in Everywhere, which was conceptualised by Michelle about three years ago.

It, however, only really started taking shape when Natasha entered the Telkom Future Makers Innotech programme in June last year. The initiative is an incubation and acceleration programme run at the Bandwidth Barn, in Woodstock for entrepreneurs who have a great idea and want to develop it into an actual business.

Natasha said the main aim of their business is to give designers, artists, crafters and home-based industries an opportunity to showcase their ideas.

Michelle said they come from a family of businesses-minded people. Their father was a building contractor and their mother, who was a community activist, sold toffee apples from home. “So while we grew up we were exposed to the business,” she said.

“Then, looking at our area, we saw the tuck shops, and how people made money and products.”

But Made in Everywhere is also about “rebranding” communities, and changing existing perceptions of the Cape Flats, places like Mitchell’s Plain and the people who live there.

“As we see and hear in the media, there is usually a negative stigma attached to Mitchell’s Plain,” said Michelle.

“All we hear about is crime, gangsterism and poverty. But, people in these communities have so much to offer with regards to innovative ideas and products — and historical places are being overlooked,” she said.

And so an important part of the work done by Made in Everywhere is not only promoting products, but also sharing the story of the person who created the item.

Therefore, said Natasha, their website includes a brief piece on the makers’ designs and their journey.

“All the stories aren’t all sad stories and that’s so interesting. And we encourage people to be honest and true to themselves when they speak about their journey,” she said.

Speaking about what makes their business unique, Natasha said they do just about everything in terms of marketing for the maker.

“We have a one-on-one meeting, and this is where we are open and transparent. We do the marketing, take the pictures, seek and source opportunities for the makers.

“To be honest, it is not about the money, it is about passion. We have passion and so we enjoy working with those who have passion,” she said.

But, said Michelle, it hasn’t been an easy journey.

“We are not trust fund children, so yes it has been tough. We started off with zero in our bank accounts and so we are happy that it has kicked off and have some amazing artists onboard,” she said.

Natasha, who works on Made in Everywhere full-time, said they hoped to extend the idea from Cape Town across the country.

And they’ve made a start, with one of the makers featured on their site being a man from Kenya who makes sculptures from recycled flip flop sandals.

“It is wonderful to see how creative people are. We have people who make creative products like bath mats, kitchenware and bags,” she said.

To be featured on Made in Everywhere, Natasha added, product had to be handmade, of quality – and unique. “We have people from around Cape Town, but not from Mitchell’s Plain, so we are encouraging them to touch base with us,” she said.

The two women will be the keynote speakers at the Open Design Festival and will be having a pop up store from Sunday August 13 to Tuesday August 15 at the Cape Town City Hall.

As South Africa celebrates Women’s Month, the sisters encourage other women to find their purpose and passion and go with it.

You can call them on 073 703780 and their offices are in Bandwidth Barn at the Woodstock Exchange.