Carrol Boyes was the founder, creator and CEO of the Carrol Boyes (Pty) Ltd retailer in Cape Town. She was an iconic South African designer and her brand has deftly crafted a coveted and high-end product range of upmarket home and lifestyle items. Carrol passed away in August 2019 after a brief illness.
Carrol Boyes was a Fine Arts graduate with a major in sculpture from the University of Pretoria. She was initially an English teacher, until at the age of 35 she decided to live her dream of being an artist. She began making crafts from her home in a seaside suburb of Cape Town in 1989. Her aim was to combine sculpture with functionality and the result is a range of absolutely gorgeous homeware and table-top accessories. She had a special talent for taking relatively plain and unadventurous traditional utensils and transforming them into sculptured collectable items. This vision has been successfully passed on to her design team whom she mentored for over a decade and who continue to create products after Carrol’s death in August 2019.
The Carrol Boyes products are associated with style and finesse and are available throughout South Africa, and in over 30 other countries around the world. The designs are inimitable and unique, succeeding in putting South Africa on the design map. New customers are being attracted globally every day by these stylish and distinctive designs.
Today, Carrol Boyes (Pty) Ltd is a multi-cultural organisation that supports gender empowerment both within and out of its infrastructure. The company’s ethos is driven by a sincere commitment to the betterment and welfare of individuals in the community and workplace. It invests in its staff to ensure the future growth of the organisation, and supports the community at a grassroots level. Carrol Boyes (Pty) Ltd is currently working within the guidelines set by sector education and training authorities in South Africa, focusing on skills development, training implementation and growth within the company. The Carrol Boyes brand is recognised as an icon both locally and internationally.
Top Tips and Advice from Carrol Boyes:
- Definitely do it. It’s worth the roller coaster ride. Being a businessperson is very exciting. I am glad that I chose this route and didn’t end up just being an artist.
- Try to find something new or different to do if you are going to start a business. Being the first person to do something is a huge advantage. I was lucky in that I got to the market first with this kind of product. Being first in the market has had a huge impact on our business. If you can’t do something new, then you have to do the old very, very well.
- Be prepared to work hard. There are no shortcuts – you have to work very long hours and put a lot of energy into your business if you want to grow and flourish.
- To support you while you are working these long hours, make sure that you have a good network in place and your partner [if you have one] is supportive. You also need someone to share the wonderful highs with you and to talk you through not so wonderful lows. I think it must be difficult to start a business on your own without anyone to share it with you.
- Never take no for an answer. It doesn’t matter who you are or what walls have been built up to prevent you from achieving your dream, if you are going to be a success, you have to learn never to accept no.
- Use your common sense. When you start out, you have to learn all sorts of things about business you might not have known beforehand – for example contracts of employment and overdrafts, and how they work. It can seem overwhelming, but if you are practical about it and use your common sense, you’ll find that you will acquire the knowledge you need as you go along.
- Try to find some balance in your life that works for you. I work too hard, but I do make time for my creative side. The weekends are mine and I spend hours in my studio. Others might not consider this to be balanced, but for me it works and, when I don’t do it, I feel it. It feeds my soul and makes me feel grounded.
- Believe in yourself.
- Get good people around you to support you in your business. Always hire people who are better than you, make sure you get the best. People can make or break a business – hiring can be a hit and miss experience and you only really get better at it as you go along. A good way to check on a person’s ability is not just to interview her but to give her a practical project to work on to prove herself and indicate the skills she has.
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