You describe Taunina items as ‘Works of art and soul’. How did the atelier start and what are its objectives?
Founded by South African, Tracey Chiappini-Young and Brazilian-American, Karen Jansen in 2011, Taunina was established to provide disadvantaged women with the opportunity to use their traditional artistry and hand skills to achieve financial security and personal recognition, and to revitalise age-old artistries and elevate their status to art. The atelier opened its doors for the training of its artists in September 2011. Taunina hopes to become known and loved as a revered luxury brand synonymous with timeless artistry and social upliftment.
Tell us more about Taunina’s artists.
Taunina's artists are currently all women from disadvantaged communities in Southern Africa, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and the DRC. Since 2011, the artists of Taunina are brimming with confidence not only because they are able to support their families financially, but more importantly because they are recognised and respected for their craftsmanship. Taunina provides its employees with a nurturing and collaborative environment in which to work. The flagship atelier in Woodstock Cape Town is a light–filled studio and the atmosphere is one of dedicated yet relaxed industry. The artists teach each other, share skills and ideas and no day is without laughter shared around the communal table around which they work.
In what way is a Taunina toy a collector’s item?
Each Taunina creation is one-of-a-kind, hand-embroidered by a single artist over a period of four to seven days in Taunina's Cape Town atelier. Each collection piece is a unique canvas onto which a Taunina artist has appliquéd her magical dreamscape, infusing it with her distinctive style and narrative. It is a work of art and soul. Unique and handmade, the following trademarks guarantee a true original:
- A stamp with the artist's initials and Taunina Identification Number (TID)
- A Taunina trademark label
- A unique passport
What’s the best thing about the new collection of toys?
They are quite simply the most beautiful handmade teddy bears in the world! The embroidery is exquisite, the handwork is masterful, the fabrics are of exceptional quality and no two Taunina’s are the same. Each has been made with love and when you hold one in your hands, you know that this treasure is so much more than just a bear. It is a gift of a lifetime.
How can readers purchase Taunina toys?
Readers are welcome to purchase directly from Taunina's Woodstock Studio or online. South African Rand prices are available to customers in South Africa. Delivery takes 5 to 7 days. Taunina's collections are also exclusively available for purchase around the world in New York at Barneys and Bundle NYC and in London at Selfridges and Patrick Mavros.
Customers can order bespoke items by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 021-461-7719. Alternatively, visit the Taunina Studio at Unit 303, 3rd Floor, Fairweather House, 176 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. For more information or to shop online, visit taunina.com.
Interviewed by Lindi Brownell Meiring