klaylife: Chandeliers empowering women in South Africa

As soon as we saw these stunning clay chandeliers on Instagram we had to know more and find out where we could buy them!

klaylife chandelier

Close up of chandelier

klaylife is run by Melbourne-based South African father-daughter duo Phillip Jones and Kerri Wallace, who import custom-made, clay-beaded chandeliers from their homeland.

And it’s here where the true beauty of these chandeliers shine.

Like us, Kerri discovered the chandeliers on Instagram back in February 2014 and falling in love with the unusual and stunning creations, she had to find out more. Her search led her to South African native Merewyn De Heer, who designs and produces the centrepieces from a farm in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.

“My dad and I had already booked a trip to South Africa, so arranged to meet Merewyn face-to-face to see if there was a way we could work together, and import the chandeliers to Australia to reach a wider audience,” says Kerri.

Kerri and Phillip soon learnt that Merewyn, a former advertising executive, gave up her occupation to pursue her passion for design and social responsibility. At the time, however, she hadn’t considered exporting her products to an overseas market.

“Merewyn’s a brilliant designer and business woman, but she didn’t have any knowledge or experience in importing and exporting. Fortunately, my dad had spent his entire life in the industry, so from there, we entered into a really great partnership,” says Kerri.

Black chandelier

Merewyn’s farm is located close to an HIV centre, and wanting to find a way to help the local HIV impacted women who couldn’t find work due to the stigma attached, offered them employment.

Starting with eight HIV impacted staff, she now has a team of 65 women of varying backgrounds and circumstances who create the hanging masterpieces.

Every chandelier is numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity, in addition to being fully compliant with Australia’s electrical requirements.

White chandelier

The chandeliers are available to order from their website, and come in a range of colours and sizes, with a 12 to 16 week turnaround time from order to delivery.

“We hope those looking for a unique and show-stopping centrepiece — whether it be for a home, hotel or restaurant — will consider klaylife chandeliers as a beautiful addition to their space,” says Phillip.

“Not only are the chandeliers stunning creations, they go a long way in helping a small group of South African women be self-sufficient to support their families and local community.”

Check out this beautiful video for more about the community.