The KOEL team has full respect for brands that hold strong to eco-friendly and fair trade values, so when we found out about Michelle du Plessis's range of yarns, we were in awe. With a strong family heritage in merino and mohair wool production, her love for crafts and fiber and her desire to create more employment for families in South Africa, Scaapi was born. The production of the yarns are all done entirely by hand and handled with the utmost care that the fibres are treated delicately and with the respect that they deserve. With a strong focus on fair trade, Scaapi creates stable employment for women and men in economically repressed rural areas in South Africa, Afghanistan and Peru.
Her newest collection of yarns, Kokon, is a luxury range that is made of the finest grade of Alpaca fiber and hand dyed in Peru by a fair trade certified dye house. Holding strong to Scaapi's ethos, the Alpacas are raised in the Andean highlands where there is no presence of chemical sprays and its production supports 70% of small farms in Peru. Available in 11 semi solid colours and 3 gradient color ways, Kokon is the epitome of elegant, softness and simplicity.
We had a chat with Michelle about what motivated her to start Scaapi, her best selling yarns and more!
1. Tell us more about Scaapi.
Scaapi is a yarn distributor specialized in unique hand dyed and natural yarns that have been produced with respect and consideration for our planet, fellow man and animals. I have always loved and been interested in textiles. In my youth, all forms of craft formed a big part of my interests. Wool is in my heritage. My grandfather and 4 uncles were merino and mohair farmers. They set up a farming business in the central Karoo region of South Africa and were specialized in merino and mohair wool production. I had the privilege of spending most of my weekends on these farms, playing with my cousins and roaming free on vast Karoo land. It was magical as Karoo is one of the most beautiful semi desert areas in the world.
2. What motivated you to start Scaapi?
As a South African that grew up in the time of Apartheid, I have seen the sad and tragic consequences of this unfair and inhumane regime. I have always wanted to contribute to creating employment in South Africa and to do something to contribute back to my country. My love for craft and fibre, my family heritage and my love for South Africa formed the three pillars that created the base of Scaapi and the reason why I started of the business.
3. We have high respect for brands that focuses on fair trade. Tell us more about the production process of your yarn collections.
All the brands that I represent have been made in an eco-friendly production chain. The production of yarns are all done by hand such as dyeing and ball winding. They are dried in the sun and solar power is used for heating of water. The residue of dye baths are also recycled. Our employees are paid with fair wages and given social benefits.
4. Share with us more about your newest collection Kokon.
I created Kokon because I had a desire to express my own creativity in a yarn brand. The name Kokon bears a special meaning to me as I named it after my late parents, Koko and Nell. Kokon stands for everything I care about and I hope it will embrace others in beauty and kindness.
5. Your bestselling yarns?
My best selling yarns are Kokon Worsted Baby Alpaca and Kokon Lace Baby Alpaca.
6. Share with us your experience at H+H Cologne Trade Fair.
H&H Cologne is an amazing trade show that is very inspiring. It forms the highlight of my creative year and I love meeting customers and seeing what other brands offer at this show. The focus at H&H this year has shifted to include smaller and unique hand dyed brands and to showcase products that are produced in a fair trade and eco-friendly manner. I am very proud that Kokon was showcased at the Cologne Goes Green exhibition at H&H this year.
7. What can we look forward to from Scaapi in the next 2 years or so?
The focus in the next two years will be on bringing more inspiration, more unique yarns and increasing our emphasis on fair trade produced yarns.
8. Thoughts on the yarn trend?
There are two consumer trends that are important. Consumers want to buy unique products that offer them a unique experience and the opportunity to create something different. The other is a greater need and importance for consumers to know where products come from and how they are made. Custom dyed, small volume and unique yarns is becoming a big trend.
Photo Credits: Scaapi & KOEL Magazine