Handmade with Love― Bofred

Handmade with Love― Bofred

Welcome to our latest Handmade with Love Journal series featuring an in-depth Q&A with Christa Botha and Carla Erasmus, the dynamic duo behind Bofred, a prominent Cape Town-based furniture design brand. They share their journey from meeting at a Lawnballs party to forging a successful business, highlighting their creative processes, design philosophies, and the personal and professional challenges they've encountered. Delve into the insights and stories that showcase their innovation and passion in transforming everyday spaces with unique, thoughtful designs.

This interview below was completed by Christa and Carla, Co-Founders of Bofred.

furniture design duo south African

kanju: First things first, can you tell us more about how you found each other? What made you  most excited about taking on BoFred together? 

Bofred: We met at a Lawnballs party in 2014 and bonded over our love for interiors and furniture. Both  of us were looking for a new creative challenge and were eager to delve into the world of  furniture and interiors together. 

kanju: Tell us about your journey to furniture design. Was your own brand always the end  game? 

Bofred: Both of us studied fine arts and ran small creative businesses before starting Bofred. Our interest in homeware naturally led us to furniture design, and establishing our own brand was always the goal. 

Our design process typically starts with a mood board and concept, often inspired by recent travels and life experiences.

kanju: Were there any early experiences that shaped your path to furniture design? 

Bofred: Being chosen as part of the Cape Town Design Indaba Emerging Creatives in 2015 gave us the  confidence to keep developing our brand and designs. 

kanju: Have you had any unexpected pivots or challenges that you had to overcome that  surprised you since starting BoFred? 

Bofred: Running a small business always presents challenges, but taking things slow and doing things at our own pace has helped us navigate unexpected turns. 

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kanju: How would you describe your creative process or design philosophy? 

Bofred: We approach our designs with careful consideration of time and place, always keeping a specific woman in mind. Our design process typically starts with a mood board and concept, often inspired by recent travels and life experiences. 

kanju: Could you kindly share some highlights from a project that you hold dear as your  favorite?

Bofred: Our first official collection - Bahla - was a significant milestone and high point. It defined our aesthetic and design capabilities.

Running a small business always presents challenges, but taking things slow and doing things at our own pace has helped us navigate unexpected turns. 

kanju: Your showroom, nestled at the base of Table Mountain in Cape Town, finds its unique  home within a dwelling we deeply admire. What inspired the choice of a residential  setting for your showroom, as opposed to opting for a more traditional commercial  space? 

Bofred: It was Christa's previous home as well as the initial Bofred studio, and when she moved to Dubai, the property became available. The cozy, familiar and intimate setting felt right to come back to and set up our showroom. 

kanju: Could you share whether there is a consistent methodology you adhere to across each design? Is there a stage in this process when the essence of the design truly begins to flourish? 

Bofred: Designing together, and both of us loving the final design, is integral to it being a Bofred piece.  We have created many pieces that have not seen the light of day because they didn't resonate authentically with one of us. When we both love the first draft or concept of a design, it usually is an easy process to follow. 

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kanju: From development to design, what aspect of building the collection is most rewarding? 

Bofred: Seeing the final piece styled beautifully in someone’s home, surpassing what we ever could have envisioned for that piece is definitely the most rewarding  

kanju: What, if anything, do you find distinctively influential about being female entrepreneurs in furniture design? Are there specific challenges or advantages that you've encountered, and how do these experiences shape the way you approach your business  and creative process? 

Bofred: We have definitely been underestimated at times. However, our overall experience has been positive and welcoming. Any challenges have instilled in us determination and resilience, shaping our approach to business and creativity. We know this isn't a universal experience for everyone, but hopefully, we can help with inclusivity and support future female designers wanting to enter the industry.

Any challenges have instilled in us determination and resilience, shaping our approach to business and creativity.

kanju: In the enchanting world of interior design, We're curious—what recent discoveries or trends have been filling your heart with joy? 

Bofred: We're excited about the shift towards a more eclectic, collected feel to interiors. 

kanju: The collection is neutral at its foundation but sprinkled with bold pops of art, color, and  texture. Can you walk us through how you curated these moments?  

Bofred: Art guides our creative process and especially our colour selection. We integrate artworks we love during the design process to infuse each piece with a distinct mood. 

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kanju: Being that both of you are from Cape Town, how does the city inspire you? What  elements of design or business feel most quintessentially Cape Town to you? 

Bofred: We were drawn to Cape Town as adults, enticed by its rich creative community that serves as a constant wellspring of inspiration for us. Our products reflect this deep connection to the city, as we collaborate closely with a diverse array of local artists, suppliers, and small-batch producers. It's a genuine Capetonian endeavor, embodying the vibrant and inclusive spirit of Cape Town's creative community. 

kanju: The Villa Collection is a quite call to adventure, a reminder that the great big world  awaits, and that its filled with boundless beauty and wonder— in cape town or beyond where is your favorite place to languid meander, have lingering lunches, clink a celebratory drink, and spend sun-drenched afternoons?  

Bofred: Any place where we can sip with a mountain view or be serenaded by the ocean sounds good to us. Luckily, Cape Town offers the best of both worlds! We are approaching our 10th anniversary and we are hoping to make a trip to Morocco for some new inspiration.

wooden end table and blue loveseat sofa

As we conclude this enlightening Q&A with Christa Botha and Carla Erasmus of BoFred, we are reminded of the power of partnership and passion in crafting a vision into reality. Their journey from a chance meeting to becoming pioneers in the furniture design industry highlights their creativity, resilience, and dedication to producing distinctive, soulful designs that resonate deeply with their ethos. Looking ahead, Christa and Carla continue to draw inspiration from their vibrant Cape Town roots and beyond, promising to deliver innovative designs that not only beautify spaces but also tell a compelling story of artistry and connection. 

Shop the curated collection of BoFred at kanju interiors. 

Photo Credits: Photographer: Inge Prins @inge_prins Stylist: Sanri Pienaar @sanripienaar Agent: Agent Emma Presents @agentemmarepresents Art Directions: Bofred @bofredcpt

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