After years of auctioning his craft at markets in Durban, Thulani Shezi from Chesterville felt the need to expand his business by creating multiple products that are authentic. From accessories to bags, everything inside their store is perfectly fit for the name ‘Crazy Art’.
During his childhood, the Crazy Art founder had a desire of creating items that caught the eye. At some point he made sandals and sold them to a neighbour who recognized his talent; that was when he figured that his expertise was in art and creating craft that had stories behind them.
His store consists of unusual and fascinating dresses, suits, shirts and accessories such as bags & belts that are mainly custom made. A majority of the art found in the distinctive store is primarily made from recycled goods, the clothes are either sown or received from friends – which is why some of them are vintage.
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“Our store turns old stuff into new stuff that are timeless. We create items that do not fade when there is a new trend. We focus on finding unique valuables that we could turn into fashion, even a stone could be of use for a certain piece I may be working on. To us, everything surrounding us can be turned into art,” said the remarkable entrepreneur.
From the beginning, Shezi had always worked alone until he met Nontobeko Makhanya who is his partner and is as devoted as he is. The two share a common interest of turning trash into admirable products. That is how working as a team came about.
Although Makhanya has always had a passion to design and construct, her courage to take more interest in the art was fuelled by her business partner.
“I have always been an artistic being and particularly handy even as a child. I found a way to prove that through Crazy Art. It’s all about doing something you are content with, something you’re always excited about. Creating art makes me happy and running our own business is a cherry on top because we manage ourselves. This work was started by one man, nobody contributed any form of aid, but we have come this far thanks to our patients,” Mkhanya explains.
The duo’s greatest challenge is a lack of funding to help sustain the business, thus having a negative effect on production because material and tools needed to manufacture new designs are costly. Another straining hurdle faced by the two is that people would rather purchase brands from well-known outlets rather than from brands such as Crazy Art which are less established.
The pair’s tremendous hunger has kept the dream alive, which is why they believe in educating “born-frees” in black communities about their range of art. They believe that most black people do not care about their raw craft because they have become prone to the western culture. Theirs is to enlighten the black community about being authentic.
The Crazy Art owners plead with the Department of Arts & Culture to take note of all the artistic talents and skills that many young people possess and develop new platforms for those artists to display their inventions. More than anything, the creatives appeal to black society to support black owned enterprises and to believe in the services they render.
Place your order by contacting Nontobeko Makhanya on +27 78 919 4874 or Thulani Shezi on +27 78 5477 204