“You’ve heard it a thousand times from others, because its true: The best advise we can give is make sure you are designing because you absolutely love what you do. We have learned that your true passion will show when you are able to fall back on it, it will be there to catch you when deadlines linger, long hours tick on, do it first and foremost because you absolutely love it.”
Just over one year after their launch, sisters Astrid and Karen Schwarz have recently celebrated the first birthday of their design brand Schwarzie. Schwarzie is run from Cape Town, South Africa and aims to uplift and inspire the viewer. Today, I get to share some of the work from the creators of Schwarzie. Astrid & Karen work collaboratively on the Stationery items and Karen also creates beautiful Fine Jewellery & Watches. Have a look at some of their amazing design work here. To find out more, you can head to their Website, Facebook or Etsy.
Where did the idea for Schwarzie originate?
When our first niece and nephew were very little we started calling them “Schwarzies” which is in fact a play on of our surname “Schwarz”. With many of our family members playing an active role in growing our brand, we decided that Schwarzie would represent our brand perfectly. We love how it ties back to family, the essence of Schwarzie: the family brand, and by adding the “ie” at the end it brings through an element of play, a side we love to portray through many of our designs.
You’ve been going for over a year now, would you tell yourselves anything if you could go back?
We founded our brand on a solid foundation that we will stand as designers who, above all, thrive from honesty and as women of integrity. So, to go back and tell ourselves something, no, we thrive from the mistakes we’ve made and the lessons learned. So, instead of looking back we focus on keeping ourselves inline with holding onto the way in which we were raised, and incorporate those values into our design. From our work ethics, right through to how we deal with our clients and customers.
Have you got any advice for designers just starting out?
You’ve heard it a thousand times from others, because its true: The best advise we can give is make sure you are designing because you absolutely love what you do. We have learned that your true passion will show when you are able to fall back on it, it will be there to catch you when deadlines linger, long hours tick on, do it first and foremost because you absolutely love it 🙂
You’re the two youngest sisters in a family of seven, are you all creative people?
We are indeed the two youngest of 7, and we come from a family fused with various talents. We believe that being creative is not only limited to the field of design, our immediate family alone knows the likes of a Business analyst, an Aircraft Engineer, a Teacher, an Accountant and retired farmer, a Food industry expert, and a Marketing guru = we have this dream that we’ll pull them all into Schwarzie full time one day they just don’t know it yet 🙂
What was it like selling your first ever item on your online shop?
The novelty doesn’t wear off, very exciting!
Tell us about the impact colour has on your work.
After living in North Sudan, where you’re surrounded by the Sahara desert, and not too many blue skies, colour takes on a whole other meaning. It was as if colour had been taken away and we had to re-introduce it into our lives through other means. Miss A started painting, a lot, back then, using every tube and mix of colour she could combine. Colour became this association with the need for the eye to be fused with colour, it became an escape from the harsh surroundings we were living in.
What is it about travel that influences your creative projects?
We left South Africa at young ages to live in North Sudan where we now look back on, and know that living there is one of the main reasons we are doing what we are today. Travel is our muse, as it is for so many others, we like to take the moments we spend in places to reflect through our work. This shows through in both our Stationery & Jewellery.
What was it like to display your work at your first design showcase?
Our first public showcase was at Design Indaba Expo in February 2013 in Cape Town. It was a thrilling experience to interact with people, it was especially wonderful to see how people reacted to our designs and the stories that went with them.
Dreams are a large theme in your work. Do you think constantly dreaming big has helped you achieve this much so far?
Dreaming big certainly plays an active role throughout our process. We began from small beginnings fused by bigger dreams, and so naturally on days where things aren’t moving on as quick as we may hope, we remember our dreams and it keeps us on track with staying persistent.