We are so pleased to feature Tam and her husband Grant on the blog today. Tam is the brains behind our newest range of concrete succulent pots and Grant is the muscle! I spotted a Tam-a-Loola pot on Instagram and followed to the source of the image to see if The Ruby Orchard could stock these little goodies. We love supporting local, handmade and small businesses so were pleased Tam was excited to work with us! Read on to find out how Tam-a-Loola began, what inspired Tam and who she’d love to have dinner with!
1// How did your business begin? When / where / how did it all start?
It was getting close to Christmas, we had a limited budget, and loads of people to buy for… so I started looking online for something creative I was able to make and that would be nice as gifts. I found these pots and a bunch of other cool stuff made out of concrete… I love succulents and it seemed easy enough so I gave it a bash. My husband, Grant, is the muscle- he mixed the concrete for me, we gathered some old containers and empty plastic bottles and yogurt containers and did our very first batch of concrete pots. We were totally winging it, and it turned out really great! I had some paint at home so I painted them as well as my limited painting skills would allow and used plants from our personal collection of succulents. Our family and friends loved them. Cheap, awesome Christmas gifts-success! I posted that picture on my personal Instagram because I was so chuffed with how they turned out- and the response was overwhelming! I had loads of family and friends asking if i would make for them and so we decided it might be a good venture to try and see how it goes.
2// Why do you do what you do?
By day I am a primary school teacher and my husband is an industrial designer, so at this stage, this is totally a hobby for us- but we are LOVING it! It has been an awesome project to work on together and get excited about together. We have loved experimenting and just love spending time together doing something constructive, creative and fun!
3// When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up?!
As we all did, I went through phases… at one stage I wanted to be a marine biologist, then a CSI person because I loved the tv programme. Teaching has always been on my mind and something I thought I would enjoy, turns out I totally do and it’s perfect for me.
4// What inspires you when designing new products?
Its always interesting to watch trends and see them flow through so many different types of products, we aim to keep with the trends but in our own unique way- Grant and I love to be a little different and our pots are no exception. We are constantly dreaming and pushing the limits and with Grants design skills and ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude, we hope we are constantly pushing boundaries.
5// What are your hopes and dreams for your products?
We would love for our product to be a stepping stone into all sorts of interior decor areas. Grant is an incredible wood and metal worker so our home is filled with his creations. We would love to offer that to others looking for something unique, to show people good design and let them appreciate and love good, unique, design.
6// What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far in your business journey?
Its hard work! You have to make sure you are always enjoying it otherwise it’s not what you want to do anymore. Always look for new things to get excited about and things that make you love what you do. If it’s fun, it won’t feel like work.
7// Why should our customers buy your products?
We would love people to have unique pieces in their home that catch the attention of your visitors, start conversation about style and creativity.
8// What’s your favourite product from your line? We are loving our geometric range!
They have been fun to make and always start interesting conversations. We look forward to exploring more options in that avenue.
9// About you? What’s your – Top Song? Top Food? Top beverage? Top Place? Top movie?
Song: at the moment “cheerleader by OMI Food: nothing beats my moms cooking… so anything out of her kitchen. (especially sticky chicken) Beverage: TEA! Place: Palau – a little island in the Pacific. We went there for our honeymoon and it’s the most incredible place EVER! 2nd would be my grandparents farm in the midlands. We got married on the farm and it’s always had a special place in my heart.
10// And lastly imagine you are heading out for dinner with a bunch of creative geniuses – who would be sitting around the table with you?
Interesting question…. I think it would be a combination of friends and famous people(dead and alive)… people like Robin Williams, Steve Jobs, Alessi (to make Grant’s day), Trevor Noah (because why not), Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu (creating in the way they fought) and a few friends… (I don’t want to mention names so I don’t make anyone upset… hee hee).
Tam-a-Loola Pots + Succulent: R90 – Such a great little gift.