Our first time experience at the Sanlam HMC 2015

It was our first experience at the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair on the roof of Hyde Park Corner, Johannesburg. The Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair is a showcase event for over 100 makers of fine foods, wines and design. The look of the venue was amazing and considering the featured designer selected to give the Fair a distinct visual identity was Studio19.

A look at the name of the Fair, one could easily expect crafts that directly reflects exceptionality and uniqueness. Our focus was however on local brands that tends to compete in a creative niche market and has potential of competing in the global space. Considering the words of Roberta Thatcher, He explained: “While we’ve always celebrated the beautiful products our exhibitors bring to the rooftop, the focus has now shifted to understanding how those items came to be and recognizing the passion, creativity and uniqueness that went into their production.”

True art can be expressed in any form, creators of art always have a level of relativity to their craft.

We wanted every opportunity to capture the true passion of each exhibitor that got our attention through their offerings and creativity. It wasn’t that long before we were captivated by the beautiful wood craft displayed by UMDAVBU.


According to Robert Cunningham “Umdabu is a Zulu word meaning origin”. The best piece on showcase for Robert was a 700 years old polished wood from Tzaneen, creatively carved and head-boarded with a clean cut glass. The center table finishing is beautifully done without tarnishing the original shape and elements of the tree. The passion of UMDABU co-owner would make anyone easily understand the hard work that has gone into making this art piece alive, and parting with R 36,000 shouldn’t be an issue at all. The company UMDABU exhibition stand and product is a sure 7 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015.



Fashion craft is not something new in the creative space, with millions of fashion houses in the country but Baroka caught our attention with their 100% cotton laces designed to fuse an african feel with almost any type of clothing. To prove this, one of the pasha sisters put the most fancy of the cotton lace on and it was awesome. The more impressive aspect of the 100% cotton laces is the amount of time spent on creating just a piece, according to one of the sister, the process takes approximately 7-8 hours. They are fairly priced and the pasha sister not only design neck laces but simple retro cut dresses. We believe Baroka deserves 5 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015.




Livhuwani is a very shy exhibitor, his craft was somewhat a DIY concept with the growth possibility of becoming something that could save space for wine lovers all over. I wonder why his stand was so far away from the wine exhibitors as this was a complementary product. The simple 3 tier product that was exhibited by this company was cut from one piece of wood : Coaster , wine holder and a wood drain for the shower. Livhuwani said, wine lovers love to shower, so he thought he could encourage wine lovers to take a good shower after a glass of wine by selling the products together. Ithankha Maru deserves 4 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015.



It is our first time at the fair this year, but not our first time interviewing or meeting up with Mrs 0 Foods. A company that promotes sauces inspired from all over Africa. The sauces made by Mrs O Foods are homemade, more interesting is that many of the varieties have their origin in countries as far as Nigeria.
Mrs O Foods would not only like people to experience the aromas and taste inspired from other countries but promote African cuisine in Africa. Mrs O food deserves 7 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015 for their ingenuity.



Breva is a drink we have had several times but never took the time to check the bottle for the country of production. One major attraction of the drink is the package and the classiness.
It was a double wonder to understand the creative process behind the brand, know the creator and finally get re-introduced to the Breva we have always loved.

According to the creator, Gladys Mawoneke ” alcohol is a social beverage that is shared everywhere but surprisingly most people do not drink alcohol, most of these people are then label anti-social. The miracle or breakthrough was then to design and introduce a brand that easily allows non drinkers to fit back into their social class. BREVA drink was born and crafted for the non-alcoholic drinkers. Breva deserves 8 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015 for their creativity.



Let’s start by saying Isse-Marie van vuuren of Life was full of life. She had one of the most amazing story to tell about the art crafts displayed. It a story synonymous to the idea of a village full of craftsman, skills passed down from generations but in this story Isse is a collector of all the fine pieces.
She exhibits and sells these works of art to grow the art that has become part of the lives of these craftsman and in turn support the rurals from the village where she gets the art pieces.

She is in support of the the green world, as almost all items displayed were from natural and recycled items. Life deserves 7 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015.



Food has also been a form of art and creatives are combining art and food skills together to create amazing concepts. The size of the metal pots was very attractive and creative that we had to taste what was on cooking.
Tutto Food  specializes in catering freshly made, tasty fare that gets right to the heart of good food. Armed with big flavors and a focused menu, They are on a mission to bring the real deal in cookery right to people.
We think they have a creative concept to their cooking style and the food was unique but they might consider different spices to give the dishes a more unique taste. Tutto deserves 6 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015.



We had a quick opportunity to pop in by the craft beer stand. Beer has not been one of the items on our list but we would like to say CBC must be doing something really well. Our Correspondence who had never tasted beer before was the judge of the craft beer tabled. He believes the taste was nice and the smooth feel and aroma is a charm to the beer served by CBC. Capetown Brew Company deserves 5 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015.



A lot of creatives these days are drawing ideas and inspirations from their roots. The same is true of the brand icon of Suki Suki, it is full of vibrance and can be interpreted in so many ways but none is as nice as Linda explains the origins of the product and the advantages of the natural ingredients that are used to make these products. The art emboldened in these products are visible in Linda’s hair as she confidently pan the curls of her natural hair.  Linda says there are no chemicals, artificial colours or fragrances of any kind. Suki Suki’s brand is only inspired by Mother Nature. Suki Suki deserves 6 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015 for innovation.



Colour me healthy is a very unique word ” name of the company” considering the company puts in a lot of time to creatively combine vegetables and fruits that are healthy and delicious. It is not only the colors of the different handmade juice displayed that caught our attention but the way the instant mix vegetables and fruits were selected and combined. A lot of research and dedication has sure gone into the process and that definitely deserves 8 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015 for innovation and creativity.



Karolina’s handmade perfumes made from natural essential oils are of a very impressive standards, the quality of the epicscents and the packaging makes it an interesting craft. The glass caged cards were a wonder and something that caught our attention, we loved the scent capture design that was used to display the cards. She reflects her love and passion for her craft in the setting and the beauty of her personality. The perfumes costs R 2000 per piece. House of Gozdawa deserves 6 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015.



We were not sure of the name of the lady that was at the post of the exhibition but her dress choice and an electrifying personality was just not one we could skip. We were not informed at the time we approached her of the relevance or involvement of Studio No 19 but the color layout and the light display with the ceramic plates were just beautifully placed.

She had a lovely smile and just walked us through the different pieces with ease, we believe the art form that is displayed at studio No 19 does not only portray class through simplicity but emboldens that theory in the kind of personality that follows it. We eventually got informed about the role of Studio No 19 and we were delighted we made the stop. Studio No 19 deserves 8 points on our rating board at the Sanlam HMC 2015 for class and simplicity.

Final Observation : We think the price tag for the event was fairly priced but could even be better considering guests would be encouraged to patronize exhibitors who were exhibiting. The event is nice and for the first time, we believe next year would be better.

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