By Sanine Baird
South African e-commerce platform The Local Edit has helped boost the bottom lines of its local designers, artisans, and creatives – by over R1-million in its first year.
The startup, founded in September 2021 by Christine Meintjes and Berdine Swart, brings together the largest collection of South African designer products in one online store. Their aim is to showcase local talent, educate consumers about the wide variety of high-quality products available in our country and ultimately help build the local economy.
“The R1-million milestone in pay-outs to the local designers and makers is a huge one for us, and we’re proud to have been able to play a role in helping boost the local economy,” says Christine, co-founder and CEO of The Local Edit. “We’ve curated a pool of over 14 000 quality products from more than 200 local designers and continue to add new brands and products each month. We believe we can play a huge part in the education of what local really has to offer, as well as exponentially accelerate opportunities for established, as well as rising talent within the independent brand space, by assisting them with additional revenue generation”.
The e-commerce start-up offers the widest selection of locally designed products at the same retail price as the independent brand, giving consumers the convenience of discovering and purchasing multiple local brands in one place.
In addition to offering the widest selection of quality local products in South Africa, The Local Edit is also a hub for content and storytelling that educates consumers and aspiring entrepreneurs about what it takes to succeed as a local designer.
“Feedback from shoppers reveals that they love learning about new brands and finding unique, locally-produced items on the platform – and sharing them with their friends, which further expands the producers’ reach and helps us continue to contribute to growing their businesses,” says Christine.
The Local Edit team believes that South African designers are world-class and they want to continue to grow the industry and help consumers discover more incredible local talent and products.
“I’ve absolutely loved purchasing from The Local Edit and more so I love what the company stands for. South Africa has the most talented and dedicated makers and craftsmen so it’s absolutely wonderful to see a platform that supports that.” agrees conscious consumer Kadira Hussain.
Another local supporter, Abena Ayivor, discovered The Local Edit while actively searching for local designers who use natural fabrics. She says “I’d rather spend my money enriching our own economy. And at this point in my life (the 40s), I want to buy timeless pieces that last as opposed to chasing the latest trends.”
With a community of 20 000 registered users, the popularity of The Local Edit is growing. The online stores’ impact is also noticed beyond our borders with expats longing to remain connected to home. Gussie van der Merwe, a South African living in Shanghai says “Since the pandemic, I couldn’t return home and I was looking for authentic gifts for my friends and family back home. The Local Edit gave me the opportunity to still support small South African businesses and make an economic contribution by ordering online and having all the gifts delivered locally. What a win!”