Emerging Brands Spotlight: Mash.T Design Studio
Introducing Mash.T Design Studio - Based in Johannesburg, Mash.T's aesthetic is the juxtaposition between the straight lines synonymous with Western design and the bold colours of Africa. Achievements include winning "Nando's young designer" for our Tutu 2.0 light, winning Best Product at 100% Design SA. The goal is to bring their stories to the rest of the world though design.
About the company
1) Introduce Your Company:
Mash.T Design Studio is a product design company based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
2) Talk us through your latest product/s?:
'A Place At The Table’ is a collection to acknowledge and honour my grandmother, and all rural African women for their unsung resourceful innovation and cultural influence. Their African culture has inspired a contemporary world-famous design aesthetic, and this collection is about the importance of representing and including the founders of this aesthetic. It gives the daily resourcefulness and ritual of these women’s traditional lives a deserved place at the contemporary table.
3) What goals would you like to achieve for your company in the future?:
I always think of myself as a story-teller, who uses design as the vehicle to tell stories, primarily stories of people who have not had a voice. As the company grows, I would love to work with brands, having the opportunity to tell their brand stories, through product and furniture design. The long-term goal is to have brick and mortar homeware and furniture stores, that will carry the work of up-and-coming African designers and visual artists.
About 100% Design
4) Why did you choose to exhibit at 100% Design?:
I chose to exhibit at 100% design because it is a premiere design expo accessible for both retail and individuals who love design. This is the type of audience I want my brand to reach.
About the industry
5) A recent ‘Dezeen’ Article has highlighted the fact that the vast majority of designers are under 40 - Do you feel that design lacks maturity?:
No, no I don’t believe it lacks maturity. I think the fact that most designers are under 40 is great, it’s great for innovation, it’s great for creating the way we will live in the future, it’s great for approaching the world and how to make the world better through a fresh set of eyes.
6) In contemporary society an online presence is key in order to grow your design firm – How do you utilize the internet to increase your customer base?
That’s a tough one… What I’ve observed is that “likes” and tons of followers don’t necessarily translate to sales. I think having a responsive, more engaged follower base, even if it’s not in the 1000’s, could possibly add more value than having tons of followers.
About the Individual
7) What made you want to become a designer?
I wanted to tell stories and chose design as the medium to do so. I figured it would reach a broader audience.
8) Establishing networks is important for an emerging design firm – How did you go about growing yours?
Getting out of my shell a little bit and really putting myself out there. Whether it be attending events, reaching out to other designers on social media, taking part in exhibitions like 100%, introducing myself to potential clients and partners via email or sending “press kits”. You have to get out of your shell and not be afraid of rejection.