News and Trends

Q&A: Hello Pretty

We chatted to Hello Pretty co-founder, Adeline Levescot about supporting local design in South Africa. Tell us about more about Hello Pretty. How did it start? There's just such a wealth of great design right here in South Africa, but designers and consumers experience different sides of the same problem: It's hard for local designers to get exposure or to maintain retail space outside of their own city or market; and it's equally difficult for buyers to be exposed to design outside their city. We wanted to really open up the design community, and give everyone access to the brilliant design happening all across the country. We recently launched our annual Trend Report in the January/February issue of HL. What do you think is the top trend for 2014? I'd say that handcrafted items, especially local ones are really going to come into their own this year. HL's Trend Report mentioned sewing and other similar trends, and I think that people are gradually getting tired of mass-produced and chain-store goods, and are craving a return to real ‘craft’. They want to buy pieces that have an element of the human touch about them. And, of course, I hope that online shopping becomes the biggest trend of all! Why do you think it’s important to support homegrown design? There are dozens of reasons, not least of which is the fact that SA has some truly phenomenal design talent. When you buy from a local designer, you're buying a piece that has been designed and made right here in your country. You're buying a piece that has a story to it, that isn't mass-produced, and is helping someone to live their dream. You're buying a piece that's creating jobs. We're no longer on the back foot when it comes to international design standards. People can really be proud of shopping locally. What are your top three tips when it comes to online shopping? First off, make sure the purchase you're making is secure. Part of the joy of online shopping is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home. If you're smart about which sites you choose to shop on, you won't need to worry about fraud. Second, research is your friend! Browse around to see if the item you want is perhaps on sale or cheaper on another site and see whether the brand or company is responsive on their social media channels in the unfortunate event of there being an issue. And lastly, read the fine print! Make sure you know how long your item will take to get made, when (and how) you can expect delivery, and any other info available. This will help you to not only be sure you're making the right choice, but also to know what to expect. What can we expect to see from Hello Pretty this year? Oh, so many wonderful things! We've got more amazing designers coming on board every week, we're going to be a lot more active at design-related events, and we're constantly rolling out new features. It's going to be a busy year, and we can't wait! For more information about Hello Pretty, visit Interviewed by Lindi Brownell Meiring