Taunina [South Africa]
Displayed on one of the prettiest websites I have seen in a while, is an adorable, colourful range of soft toys that have been exquisitely handcrafted by a group of talented artists in Woodstock, Cape Town. Taunina is a company that produces an enchanting collection of one-of-a-kind collectable teddy bears, bunny rabbits, and puppy dogs; each a precious gift designed to be passed down the generations as future heirlooms. Individually crafted, comprising of more than twenty panels, each soft toy takes around four to seven days to complete, in a process that involves hand-cutting and stitching together the fabrics, before the intricate appliqué and embroidery are applied to create dainty images such as butterflies, birds, and flowers.
The fabrics used are selected for the vintage feel they give to the toys and include iconic Liberty prints, as well as 100% natural fibres with no harmful dyes or colours. The initials of the artists are incorporated into each creation. The toys are delivered in custom-made hatboxes and come with their own passport, a certificate of authenticity that details information about the artist who created it and their wish for the world, the seamstress, the date the toy was created, the toy’s name given by its creator, and unique identification and registration codes.
[Image credits – top, Teddy Bear Detail;
bottom, Teddy Bears at Barneys, New York – Taunina]
Taunina is more than just toys; a social enterprise that seeks to bring together art, commerce, and greater social awareness for the benefit of the communities it works with. Co-founded in 2011 by Tracey Chiappini-Young, Taunina is an anagram comprising the word ‘Tau’, which means lion, and ‘NINA an acronym that stands for ‘No Income, No Assets’, and conveys the philosophy of giving the artists who work at the company, mainly women from disadvantaged communities, an opportunity to earn an income and provide for their families, enabling them to become ‘lions of their own destinies’. Employees at Taunina are paid above market salaries, following a structure that sees 30% of the business’ profits before tax going to the artists; 20% going to a fund, entitled the Bear Essentials Fund that was set up to pay for needs such as education, housing and healthcare; and 10% going towards productivity-related bonuses.
Globetrotters; the toys have appeared at Barneys, New York, and have now made their way to the iconic department store Selfridges, in London, Birmingham, and Manchester, where they have taken centre stage in the store’s legendary displays, just in time for Easter; after which they will still be available to purchase in-store. Following the success of the soft toys, a home décor line will be launching in April 2013.
For further information about Taunina and stockist information visit: http://taunina.com