It’s Not Made in China is a brand of bottled water that came about when Tracy noticed the influx of Chinese goods into South Africa, which saw many lose their jobs. Tracy and her husband have always been passionate about young, upcoming artists, and hit upon the idea of merging upcycling and art.
‘There isn’t a platform for upcoming artists to market themselves,’ says Tracy. ‘So we started It’s Not Made in China water. We wanted to make a unique bottle, something that people would want to keep. And we wanted to encourage artists to put their artwork on it, hence the square “hip glass”.’ So they sent out a call-to-action to artists to contribute designs.
The bottle-making process is just as creative. ‘It starts with a preform, which is like a test tube,’ Tracy explains. ‘It’s made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), so it’s recyclable, safe to drink from and reuse, and it can decompose. We buy the preform, then blow it into a square shape – so not every bottle comes out identical. We don’t throw away any material, and we like that the bottles are not all perfect – it adds to the originality.’
Why plastic and not glass? ‘If there was only glass, that would also be detrimental to the environment. There’s a balance, and we need to work out when plastic is right and when glass is right.’
‘We don’t throw away any material, and we like that the [water] bottles are not all perfect – it adds to the originality.’