44 Stanley is often described as one of Joburg’s ‘hidden gems’ and an alternative to the shopping malls that are pervasive in the city. It’s a creative hub made up of a collective of freelance designers, eateries and speciality stores ranging from second-hand books to decor, art and design, fashion and entertainment.
Deviating from the monotony of chain stores that populate much of the retail landscape in South Africa, independently owned shops provide a sense of community in the relationships they form with their customers and fellow shopkeepers.
Since opening our Joburg store at 44 Stanley as a pop-up in 2016, we’ve come to feel very at home in this space. As our range has expanded beyond the capacity of our little 20 square metre shop, we took the opportunity to move into the larger shop next door when it became available earlier this year.
The principles of independence run deeper than the location choice of our stores. As a company, we have always embraced the idea of doing everything ourselves – even if it’s not the shortest route to the destination. It means we all wear many hats and if the job requires putting a new one on, so we do. Our MD jumps straight into handyman mode when a shop needs fitting, road-tripping across the country with a bakkie full of tools and an old rooftop tent – taking advantage of the proverbial journey so to speak.
Situated in a restored industrial building from the 1930s, the high ceilings with original exposed beams inspired the construction of a giant warp which pays homage to the original frame handloom. When you visit, you might catch Phumzile or Sandy trying their hand at weaving a rug made from thick cotton and wool yarns. If you find yourself there, give it a try. There’s something soothing and meditative about creation through repetition – engaging the hands while freeing the mind.
Our full range of towels, blankets, kitchen, table and bed linens are all available and on display in the shop, for you to see and feel – because textile shopping should always be an experience for all the senses.