From humble beginnings to a globally recognised South African brand, Carrol Boyes has been making her mark on the design world for 30 years!
In 1989, then in her thirties and working as an English teacher, she decided it was now or never to do what she loved. She quit her job and began to apply her sculpting skills and fascination with the human form to unusual pewter-handled cutlery and other items, which she sold on Cape Town’s Greenmarket Square.
With no experience other than her art training, Carrol admits that she didn’t have a business plan when she started. She had to overcome many challenges, including her lack of confidence. But, she persevered, and South Africans quickly fell in love with her quirky and functional products.
Within 3 years Carrol was making and selling around 70 000 items a year. She had outgrown her home workshop and decided to build a factory on her father’s farm in Limpopo Province. Here, with the help of her brother Charles Boyes, a farmer and entrepreneur, she trained a local workforce, becoming at the time one of the largest employers in the area. An aluminium foundry enabled her to create much larger sculptures, and in 2000 a stainless steel division introduced dishwasher-proof cutlery to the range. In time, Carrol began to work with other specialist manufacturers, and many other new materials were introduced, including wood, leather, glass, ceramics and textiles.
2003 saw Carrol opening the Carrol Boyes store in the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town, giving her the opportunity to present her products as a fully-fledged brand.
In 2012 Carrol partnered with her brother John Boyes of Barnard Boyes Wines to launch the Carrol Boyes Wine collection, which today even features Champagne. 2018 was a bumper year, seeing the construction of an entire confectionary studio within the company’s head office in Cape Town, headed by chocolatier Gary Welgemoed, and the launch of Carrol Boyes Chocolates, with their uniquely sculpted shapes. Also in 2018, a much-expanded bath and body range was launched, as well as a new kitchen textiles range.
In 2019 the company has over 1000 products in the range, including glassware, crockery, stationery, accessories, and soft furnishings. Carrol has applied her unique style to thousands of kinds of items over the years, from tape measures to a tea trolley, as well as every conceivable form of cutlery.
There are now 22 wholly-owned stand-alone stores in South Africa and 3 franchise stores, with increasing interest from national and international investors to open branded stores.
Worldwide, her products are sold in 27 countries, including at retailers such as Bloomingdales and Nieman Marcus in the USA and David Jones in Australia.
Over the years Carrol has been recognised and acknowledged for her incredible achievements in business and contributions to the design world, for example:
- 2004: Top Women in Business and Government in the category of Top Woman Owned Business.
- 2004: Runner-up in the SASSDA Stainless Steel Awards in the Products Category
- 2005: TUKS Alumni Board’s Laureate Award.
- 2008: Rapport/ City Press Prestige Women’s Award in the category of Phenomenal Woman.
- 2008: SA’s most Influential Woman in Business and Government in the category of Arts and Culture.
Carrol has appeared in countless local and international print publications and granted many interviews on radio, television and at events.
Today, collectors avidly seek new pieces from her ever-widening range, whilst cherishing early examples. Her recognizable style is seen by millions of South Africans as a must-have addition to their homes. Carrol’s career has been characterised by her determination, grit, openness to new ideas, willingness to take risks and ability to nurture the talent and skills of her team. She is still deeply involved in the business and enjoys sculpting or drawing each item. She feels she is finally becoming the artist she always wanted to be and is thrilled to be able to share her designs with so many people.
There are infinite possibilities for future products but all will bear the Carrol Boyes mark of quality and excellent design.
For more information on Carrol Boyes, visit www.carrolboyes.com
Tel: +27(0) 21 424 8263
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