Watershed Design Lab

It’s been seven years since Watershed was launched as the leading retail destination for SA design and craft, with local beauty products added recently too. True to our ethos of promoting local brands, and offering a commercial platform and enterprise support, we’ve introduced the Watershed Design Lab, a retail-readiness training programme, in partnership with the Craft and Design Institute. Four new businesses will receive assistance with product development and business training so that they too can open a Watershed store in the near future.

Meet the four new businesses participating in the Watershed Design Lab:

Doek SA, started last year by Jenine Allchin, specialises in bespoke napkins, tablecloths, table runners and aprons printed with images of photographs taken and styled by Jenine herself. Fresh botanical imagery is the predominant theme on these stand-out homeware items, and even Christmas and Easter table fabrics depict still-life scenes corresponding to these occasions.

Embrace Collective provides women impacted by HIV and Aids an opportunity to earn an income through the creation of handcrafted papier-mâché products such as bowls, platters and pot-plant holders. The collective is headed up by Moira Jones who has a special interest in the economic development of youth and women. From sales, 50% of profits go toward Wola Nani, an NPO improving the quality of life for people affected by and living with HIV/Aids.

Indwe Designs, by self-taught jewellery designer Nondwe Nyathi, offers a modern take on African patterns, with earrings, neck pieces and brooches showcasing their creator’s off-beat sense of style. The collection is made from leather offcuts and bugle beads, and each piece is a colour-loaded attraction.

Our Workshop is a Langa-based NPO started by social designer-maker Heath Nash. This shared workshop is accessible to anyone in the community and is used as a training ground for emerging young black creatives. It is a free-to-use space, with many tools and different types of ‘waste’ materials that can be repurposed into products. Its entrepreneurial members who are participating in the Watershed Design Lab create everything from wooden bread boards and one-of-a-kind denim artwear to baskets made from recycled PET bottles and jewellery fashioned from computer keys.