14 Dec 2012
Homeowners looking for designer furniture, décor pieces and Christmas gifts were spoilt for choice at the Sanlam Investments FoodWineDesign Fair.
The third annual event took place between 23 and 25 November on the roof top of Hyde Park Corner mall in Johannesburg featuring more than 100 talented winemakers, designers and food artisans handpicked from Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Visitors to the fair were treated to some unusual selections of gifts from jewellery, ceramics and a newly introduced Carpenter’s alley, which I found to be quite a hit during my visit.
Having been to the event since its debut in 2010, I noticed it gets better each time, a welcome difference in exhibitors and products on offer.
Perhaps the highlights for me were the food stalls, nothing like a session of fast tasting of food and wine, while mingling with people you don’t really know but seem to connect with because you are both hooked.
It was also well-timed to ensure those looking for Christmas gifts and ideas went home with bagfuls. Designers such as Snapp, Flowermill Stationary, Mr Belvedere for the gentlemen and affordable watches by Bamboo Revolution were on hand to delight one’s purse.
In November 2010, Artlogic produced the first Sanlam Investments FoodWineDesign Fair on the rooftop of the Hyde Park Corner.
It is a market that showcases and celebrates the best that South Africans are producing in these three fields.
About the FoodWineDesign Fair
Following an international trend for trade shows in the creative spheres to take place in unusual and custom made spaces, the venue of the Fair created a fittingly bespoke experience.
The fair is the first event to combine food, wine and design – all lifestyle areas that converge on high quality production and craftsmanship, explains director Ross Douglas.
Artlogic began in 2007 following the sell-out success of William Kentridge’s version of The Magic Flute, then produced other once-off events and the now popular Joburg Art Fair, which made its debut on the Johannesburg lifestyle calendar in 2008.
According to Candice Paine, head of retail at Sanlam Investment Management and Fair sponsors, they were drawn to the fair because it is a true celebration of craftsmanship.
“At Sanlam we know that expert financial advisors are needed to put together a sound investment portfolio.
“In much the same way, artisans are the experts of their chosen craft and years of experience have perfected their skills resulting in the perfect product.”
Speaking to Property24.com, Douglas says the fair is about experience and that is why in the past three years, they have showcased different exhibitors
“One change we have seen is that the country's top chefs now want to start participating in the fair and in line with this we have seen a marked improvement in artisanal food product made in this country.”
Annual fair events such as this one, which combines design, wine and food are big internationally as consumers are now more than ever, want to meet with food producers and hear stories behind the produce hence the success.
He says locally, consumers have adopted this trend and it gives them the opportunity to support local producers - think homemade, proudly South African, nothing beats that!
Douglas points out that visitor numbers are around the 10 000 mark per event and although he didn’t have the total sales figures, he says a good designer can make as much as R100 000 during the three-day event.
Exhibitors not only make good money, but the fair offers a platform to make new contacts as well.
Asked what criteria is used to select exhibitors, Douglas says they look for smaller producers who make extraordinary food, wine or design and only choose producers whose products Artlogic know and have tested.
“We then try and balance the mix to get the right combination of the different groups in order to give visitors the best experience,” he says.
Douglas’s top must-buy home gadgets seen at the fair, include the Matblac mini wallet, Missibaba shopper and Cobus Hand Slide for body surfing.
On finance and investments
Although Sanlam is best known for providing financial service products, the company knows how to pick good investments.
As Paine says, they support Artlogic’s vision of making information regarding food, wine and design more accessible as this relates back to their vision of making investments more accessible to clients.
The fair aims to offer consumers bespoke, unique, often handmade design as well as the experience of exceptional food and wine, in the same manner in which individual investments should be tailor-made to meet specific needs.
“Sanlam Investments is all about creating and protecting wealth and so we support this by backing entrepreneurs and promoting considered consumerism.
“We are also acutely aware of the economic environment both locally and globally and that creating employment is everyone’s job and should be everyone’s focus.”
She says by supporting fledgling and small businesses they allow these endeavours to flourish.
Sanlam Investments is a cluster of 20 businesses within the Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed Sanlam Group offering specialised investment and risk management expertise in areas including asset management, private equity, hedge funds, financial engineering, employee benefits and property investments.
Paine says good investment tips are both simple and timeless, that is, they will do this for this economic time or any other, however, the problem is that they are often quoted and seldom followed.
Here are a few tips:
1. Know where your money goes – in its simplest form, have a budget.
Once you have a grip on what you spend where, you can start reallocating money and cut out unnecessary expenses.
2. Spend less than you earn – this is such an obvious tip and so hard to stick to!
3. Pay down debt – get rid of those store cards and car payments.
Put the money into your mortgage and if you have excessive debt, you need to revisit point two above.
4. Start investing as early as possible – the power of compounding really is magic!
5. Diversify your portfolio – clichés abound because mostly they are true.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – and perhaps consult a financial advisor if you’re not sure what to do.
Talking specifically about the fair and the buying power post the economic crisis, she says low economic growth, high unemployment, and rising inflation and incredibly low interest rates means that the average consumer has been forced to focus on what they spend just to make ends meet.
However, she points out that there are very few South Africans who are so financially comfortable that they need pay no heed to what they spend.
As a result people have become far more price conscious, but they are still inclined to overspend – and not necessarily on investment goods such as art and furniture.
“We live in a consumer driven society where manufacturers and retailers spend many hours deciding on the best way to lure a customer in, and with the prodigious amount of ‘must-have', goods, this isn’t hard to do.”
Sanlam’s involvement with the FoodWineDesign fair is in a small way aimed at focusing people’s spending on considered purchases which are not only unique, but also benefit society more broadly by supporting innovative and superior crafts people in their small businesses.
If you must spend, we would prefer that it wasn’t mindlessly, she adds. – Denise Mhlanga
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