After being retrenched from her corporate job in 2014, Chantelle Beukes started La Fede. The Italian word for ‘faith’, La Fede is the namesake of a small heirloom toy company that focuses on a minimalistic approach, a slow craft methodology and the quirky imagination of youngsters – specifically Chantelle’s own two children, Addison and Max.
Taking a leap of faith, she spent the last of her capital on a few metres of fabric and a small straight-stitch sewing machine. Starting out with limited skills in sewing, she got a crash course from her mom and, suddenly, La Fede was in business. Releasing seasonal capsule collections of characters, Chantelle is constantly designing and finding inspiration. Her latest collection, Swoon, is inspired by the theatre, and her next collection will focus on ‘those less popular animals’.
Small elements of design define Chantelle’s characters, and each one has a story, a personality and an individual viewpoint that accompanies it. As a bonus, she keeps her collection small to ensure customers can own limited-edition characters. On top of her soft toy collections, she also offers a range of wooden collectable pieces, including cameras, cars, iPhones and more. Mixing a traditional, almost Victorian style with a modern edge, her toys are lively and completely unique.
La Fede is thriving, having been showcased at the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair as well as Kamers/Makers. When asked about what she has learnt from the process, she says, ‘being a creative entrepreneur has taught me so much about how to make the best of the circumstances you find yourself in, how to grow out of critique, how to apply a positive spin on your negatives and how to collaborate within your field and grow organically’.
Visit lafede.co.za for more details.