Meet Lisa Storer

House and Leisure (South Africa) - - Contents - COM­PILED BY GARRETH VAN NIEKERK PHOTOGRAPHS SUP­PLIED

I am the founder and creative di­rec­tor of the life­style brand The Storer, an ar­ti­sanal con­cept store based at 44 Stan­ley in Mil­park, Jo­han­nes­burg. We

stock beau­ti­ful pieces from ar­ti­sans and com­mu­nity projects around the world. Each piece car­ries the story of its maker and the jour­ney it has taken to reach the store. I be­lieve a store needs to en­gage all the senses. Our main drive has been to fo­cus on reignit­ing the cus­tomer’s tac­tile ex­pe­ri­ence. A store should also have an ever-evolv­ing per­son­al­ity. I like what I do

be­cause I get to travel to re­mote vil­lages around the world and sit with in­spir­ing ar­ti­sans who tell me their cen­turies-old sto­ries over a tra­di­tional meal with their com­mu­nity. Their tales are both hum­bling and in­spir­ing. The worst as­pects of my

job are the long lay­overs, de­layed flights or lug­gage lost on trips to these far-flung places. It’s not an easy task get­ting to places worth go­ing to. For the most part I can’t speak the lan­guage, which I sup­pose makes it a true ad­ven­ture. De­sign in South

Africa has be­come far more fo­cused on our cul­tural her­itage and how we can make use of our unique arts to find our own hand­writ­ing. We are more hon­est and truth­ful with the re­sources we have lo­cally and this is up­lift­ing. I wish I had bought more Tu­areg tribal jew­ellery pieces on my last trip to Morocco. Their jew­ellery de­signs are tal­is­mans for good for­tune and pro­tec­tion against the harsh el­e­ments. Each piece is en­graved by hand and passed down within the fam­ily, from one gen­er­a­tion to the next. The best views

in South Africa are in the Ka­roo. I love the si­lence as the sun sets over the arid land­scape. When I’m tired I need to re­fuel in na­ture. Be­ing out­doors with the sun on my face is ground­ing. My kitchen cup­board

sta­ples are basil, olives, heir­loom to­ma­toes and av­o­ca­dos… com­ple­mented by a glass of South African red wine. The best ad­vice

I’ve ever re­ceived is to con­cen­trate on the finer de­tails, the things peo­ple can’t see but feel. ‘Sur­prise and de­light’ is my motto. Craft is the fu­ture. It con­nects us with what it means to cre­ate. The one thing

no one knows about me is that I am both creative and an­a­lyt­i­cal. As much as I love the de­sign el­e­ment of what I do, I also love the busi­ness and fi­nan­cial side. Ev­ery

dec­o­ra­tor should for­get what they know and lis­ten to the room: it speaks vol­umes on what it needs. Dec­o­rate from the heart, not from what is trend­ing. My go-to

com­fort food is pasta. I al­ways travel with my mo­hair blan­ket, leather slip­pers and Bose head­phones. One trip I’ll never for­get

was to Siem Reap, Cam­bo­dia. I watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, and its still­ness and beauty at dawn is tac­tile. From my

trav­els I al­ways bring back a piece of jew­ellery unique to the coun­try, steeped in tribal or cul­tural ori­gins. Ev­ery time I wear that piece I am trans­ported back to that place and its maker. The jour­ney of ob­jects plays an im­por­tant part of who I am and what I value. My next dream

hol­i­day is Bawah Is­land in In­done­sia. It ticks my box of ‘lost on a de­serted is­land, to­tally cut off from the world’. If money was

no ob­ject, I would treat my­self to a Watsu mas­sage ev­ery day. I am read­ing The Widow Clic­quot: the Story of the Cham­pagne Em­pire and the Woman Who Ruled It by Ti­lar J Mazzeo (HarperCollins), and

lis­ten­ing to Talk­ing Tim­buktu by Ali Farka Touré with Ry Cooder. It is a gritty trib­ute to jour­neys and Africa. I hate it when peo­ple are pre­ten­tious or snobby. I’m into con­nect­ing with peo­ple in a gen­uine, heart­felt way. I am def­i­nitely not scared to try new things, places or foods. Ad­ven­ture is my ad­dic­tion. If I could change one

thing about South Africa it would be more job cre­ation through tra­di­tional crafts. After all my trav­els I re­alise that SA is truly a land of op­por­tu­nity… Peo­ple in this coun­try are creative and will­ing to find these op­por­tu­ni­ties if given the means. the­

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