IMARI WAS BORN INTO A FAMILY WITH A LOVE FOR WOOD AND WOODWORK. SHE GREW UP ON A FARM OUTSIDE WOLSELEY AND STUDIED FASHION DESIGN IN CAPE TOWN. ONLY TO FIND HERSELF BACK ON THE FARM, APPLYING DESIGN PRINCIPLES TO WOODWORK. A FEW YEARS BACK SHE WAS WORKING IN CAPE TOWN AND DECIDED IT WAS NOW OR NEVER AS IT WAS ALWAYS A DREAM TO HAVE HER OWN BUSINESS.
Her inspiration was her father who is an admirable woodworker. After school, he left the farm to learn the art of woodworking in Knysna. Throughout the years he has been doing woodwork and last year he started making wooden chopping boards. He originally asked his daughter to get a branding iron made – this made her curious and soon she started helping him in the workshop and started selling these items in a few shops. At the time she was working in Cape Town and on weekends, hours would fly by as she spends time in the workshop playing around with different types of designs and wood.
Imari started her business in her dad’s workshop. At the time it was very messy. The wood and metal were mixed up and it was more of a storage building than a workshop. Soon she started selling her products at a shop in Cape Town, and the response was great. Instagram has been a great way to get recognized. Today it’s important to her to create timeless pieces with high quality.
“At Ark we only use only the finest solid woods and natural oils to treat the wood”, says Imari.
Arks products are handmade – each product is carefully sanded and finished off to perfection. The wood we use is hand-picked from the floors of century-old barns and buildings sourced throughout South Africa, so each piece is unique. Minimalist designs reveal the natural beauty and distinct character of the wood grain. Some of the Imari’s employees were previously unskilled, now they can run the workshop on their own. They also have a solid income every month. Currently, Ark has five people working full time at ARK, but we get contract workers in when it gets super busy! And what are her plans for the future? Mastering the technique of working with leather is definitely something that she would love to do. Hopefully, making shoes would follow.
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