Our EthosIn The Beginning
Beloved was founded out of a love of beads, and a desire to explore their creative and expressive potential. Anna, the founding designer (who is also writing this!), had been obsessed with since childhood, and despite studying anthropology and economics, pursued that obsession until it became a career. Originally working as a product developer for other organisations, Anna could see some unmet potential and a gap in the market for beadwork which used the highest quality of beads, and fully explored the deep skills of beadweavers.
We began small in 2009. Two shipping containers at Montebello Design Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, were our original home. One was a studio, the other a shop. Gradually our name became known, orders increased, and three years in we were offered a beautiful space in Montebello's main building, which is our home to this day. Three years after that, we were also offered a shop at the new Watershed development at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. This was an absolute game changer for us. In addition to our retail spaces, we also wholesale to shops and galleries at home and all over the world. If you have visited the V&A Museum in London lately, you may well have seen our work displayed in their beautiful gift shop.
Labour Rights And Joys
Although a love of beads was a big part of the motivation for establishing Beloved, there was another reason too. Beadwork is very labour-intensive. You'll notice on each product page of this site we list the hours taken to make each piece. We think it is this time and attention to detail which make our pieces truly special. We use high quality beads not to so much to improve our products as to match the quality of skill of their makers.
In a country with high unemployment, making labour intensive items is a great way to boost employment. Making meaningful, sustainable jobs is a big part of what motivates us at Beloved. I do want to be clear though, that boosting employment opportunities is not an act of charity on Beloved's part. We are honoured to work with each of our team, and their work deserves respect and acknowledgement.
South Africa has some pretty robust labour laws, which we think are great. We stick to them wholeheartedly. Unlike many craft businesses, in which production staff are considered 'self employed' or 'independent producers' who invoice for their work, and have no employment security or paid leave, all people who make Beloved pieces are permanent employees with contracts. We offer all statutory leave, and some additional benefits, especially around maternity leave and support. Right now we have thirteen amazing employees in our company.
You might be wondering why there aren't pictures of our amazing team here. Well, our contract makes it clear that no one is obligated to be named or photographed when they work for us. And most of our team, understanding the complexities of the internet and privacy, choose caution. Our team feel that their amazing work speaks for itself, and personally I agree wholeheartedly.
If you have questions about Beloved, please share them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org