Tired of the relentlessly negative portrayal of areas like Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha in the media, sisters Michelle and Natasha Talliard have – for starters – launched an online platform through which they want to start rebranding and promoting the positive side of these communities.
In the popular media and imagination, communities and townships on the Cape Flats are often portrayed in a mostly negative light, earning renown only as places of deprivation and crime.
That inspired sisters Michelle and Natasha Talliard, originally from Mitchell’s Plain. The negative impression, “grossly exaggerated at times by the media”, overlooked the “extraordinary” rich legacies of these communities, they say.
And so was born Made in Everywhere, a marketing and brand agency that builds on the sisters’ experience, and on the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of residents. Starting off with an e-commerce platform, the aim of the venture is to highlight and celebrate these “forgotten places”, explains Natasha.
“We want to showcase the positive and poignant stories of these previously disadvantaged communities, homing in on the successful entrepreneurs who have risen above their dismal living conditions to achieve and realise their dreams,” she says. “The aim of this idea is to build a platform for these communities to give them an opportunity to showcase their ideas, allowing locals to connect; to create an open space and build interest in developing new places and investing in forgotten ones.”
There is much to showcase. Entrepreneurship was commonplace in these communities as residents were forced to earn livelihoods under deprived and difficult conditions. So the e-commerce platform will promote and market local craft producers. In time, the sisters’ plan, this will be followed by Living Legend tours to interact with these crafters, as well as cultural and heritage tours. To live up to its name, the aim is to expand the initiative beyond local communities to others around the country, the continent and even beyond.
Along the journey of sourcing craft producers who fit the criteria, the sisters also met craft producers from other parts of Africa who have settled here in Cape Town. These producers were creating various products from art to furniture – which will be showcased on the platform. “A small segment of the craft producers who form part of the Made in Everywhere family have joined primarily because they are in search of additional ways to promote their craft,” says Natasha. “And along the way their life story has taken them out of corporate world and into a creative space – the yin and the yang if you want!”
The sisters conceptualised Made in Everywhere a few years ago, but it only really took shape once Natasha earned a place as a fellow on InnoTech, a business incubation and acceleration programme that aims to take black-owned start-ups from concept to market. The programme is run on behalf of Telkom FutureMakers – Telkom’s enterprise and supplier development programme – by the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock, which forms part of the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi). Through InnoTech, start-ups are provided with business training, office space, internet, telephone access, and a R20 000 ‘angel grant’.
Made in Everywhere is one of seven start-ups currently on the programme.
Echoing other fellows, Natasha describes the months on InnoTech as “invaluable”. “We had access to mentorship and networking opportunities that would not have been possible if we had been working in isolation,” she says.