We are excited to introduce our newest artisan partner, Pichulik, a jewelry workshop based in Cape Town, South Africa.
Katherine-Mary Pichulik, a native of South Africa, is the founder and designer behind Pichulik. Kat’s background is in fine art and cooking, but she become a jewelry make and entrepreneur almost by accident once she started making bold, bright woven rope necklaces out of her home, then launching Pichulik.
The pieces Kat and her team create out of their Cape Town workshop are hand-made from rope and collected materials, all locally sourced. The ropes are embellished with anything from shells to semi-precious stones. What is most striking about the pieces is the use of everyday materials which are transformed into wearable art.
As interest in Pichulik has grown, the one-woman company has expanded to a team of four: Kat, Sarah, Melissa and Elita. They have also relocated from Kat’s living room to a bright and airy space that can accommodate the whole team as they create the pieces.
While South African native Kat is at the helm, she has trained Melissa and Elita in her particular style of design. Melissa, who originally hails from Zimbabwe, is very precise in her work, and also enjoys the congenial atmosphere of the studio. Elita, who moved to South Africa from Mali, is a whiz at creating color combinations and also produces very neat, high quality work. Sarah is more involved in the business aspects of the growing company.
Launched less than two years ago, Pichulik has seen rapid growth as buzz spread around Cape Town and throughout South Africa. With this fast pace of growth Kat has had to adapt quickly, relying on the women around her. She says: “I have learned that your staff and suppliers are your biggest asset. Those around you and those working for you can define your future in so many ways.”
As she considers the next steps for Pichulik, Kat envisions creating an NGO where local women, mothers of young children, caregivers to older relatives, or women housebound due to disabilities, can help produce pieces. Helping make pieces for Pichulik will give these women an opportunity to earn an income without putting too much pressure on their existing kinship structures or health. For this to happen Pichulik needs greater international demand for their product so they can establish a larger production facility, hire more artisans and keep growing so they can make greater impact in South Africa.
In the meantime the Pichulik team is busy collecting, combining, weaving and assembling their signature pieces. Lydali is excited to carry several pieces from the collection, including their Mali necklace, Pichulik rope necklaces and rope bracelets make a bold fashion statement, and when you purchase a Pichulik piece you help support an emerging women-run business in Cape Town.
Wanderlust Wednesday: Swaziland →
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