Spases: The African Textile-Inspired Brand Where Artistry Meets Accessibility

Spases: The African Textile-Inspired Brand Where Artistry Meets Accessibility


Founded in 2010 by a South African homeowner with passion for all things interiors, Spases began life as a humble blog, a sanctuary for the creative musings and artistic explorations of Durban native Germaine Jacobs.

The journey of Spases truly began when Jacobs wanted to decorate her home with colorful mud cloth fabrics, an emblem of African heritage and artistry. Unfortunately, the search proved to be a challenge, revealing the sad truth of just how inaccessible these textiles were. “It was wild that I would have to order it from an Etsy store in the US all the way to South Africa,” Jacobs says. This revelation sparked a determination to bridge the gap between the richness of African textile design and the homes of individuals worldwide. That led me to researching other textiles from this continent that are beautiful but are not celebrated or accessible,” says Jacobs.

Soon, Spases evolved from a blog to a thriving e-commerce store, shaped by a desire to celebrate and honor traditional design elements, enriching the world with the essence of Africa. By bringing these creations closer to home, Spases seeks to instill a profound appreciation for the heritage of African design. “That has always been the ethos: to educate our audience around the regions and heritage of these textiles, and creating beautiful products,” Jacobs says.

Over the years, Spases has created a collection of handcrafted products such as scatter cushions fashioned from mud cloths and textiles sourced from around the continent. From the traditionally dyed Malian mud cloth pieces to the intricate Baule design from the Ivory Coast, and enchanting Moroccan textiles, every piece tells a story, preserving the essence of time-honored craftsmanship. 

The Folklore Edit spoke to Germaine Jacobs about celebrating African textile and design, making them more accessible to a wider audience, and the advice she would give to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Germaine Jacobs, founder Spases


Could you tell us about your background and what inspired you to start Spases. Did you always want to work in interior design?

My background is actually in the corporate pharmaceutical world, and Spases was just a hobby. Back then in 2008, it was just a blog. It was a place for me to talk about textiles and interior design, which is where my passion lies. At the time, I just didn’t know how to pivot and make it a career, which is what it has become today. 

What do you think makes Spases stand out as a brand? What is your brand’s ethos and how is that reflected in your designs?

Our ethos has always been personal to me, and it’s about sharing and celebrating African textile and design with the average consumer. It’s sharing the education around where these textiles come from and their richness in terms of the heritage, and making it more accessible to the market.

What led you to focus on African-inspired designs for your products, particularly using textiles like mud cloth from Mali and Baule fabric from Ivory Coast?

I think I was first drawn to mudcloth because of the texture and the minimalism, and how the patterns were hand-painted on. That led me to discover other cloths such as the Baule cloth from the Ivory Coast. I loved how steeped in tradition and heritage both of those textiles were.

How do you source and select the fabrics for your designs? What is your creative process?

Personally, I’ve always put great value in items that tell a story, that are handmade, that have great quality. That’s the mindset that I apply to the store when selecting any prints of textiles. Do I love it? Would I love it in my home? What I do know is that our clients love products that are one-off, that are unique and have a story to tell.

Spases interior design

Sustainability is an important consideration for many consumers today. How does Spases incorporate sustainability practices in its manufacturing and sourcing processes?

Sustainability is definitely part of our core values. All of our items are handmade to order, and that has been our business model from the get-go. Aside from our main mud cloth collection we also create cloth and leather clutch bags towards the end of the season, which allows us to use our overrun fabric and eliminate waste. We also repurpose vintage rugs that are sometimes up to 20 years old, all with sustainability in mind, which is very important to us. 

How has the response been from customers and the community towards your home goods, and what do you believe draws people to Spases’ products?

We’ve always been clear with our audience about our core ethos: our intention is to celebrate African design and textiles, and make them more accessible. We also share the importance of slow design, the value of handmade homeware with a story to tell. Our community has always been supportive of our vision and at times remind us about their belief in our products and appreciate the intentionality. I think what really draws our customers to the store is that our items are made in small batches and are often one-off unique pieces. They often become a story to tell in the home. 

Handmade products often carry a unique charm and value. Could you share with us the significance of craftsmanship and how it plays a role in the creation of Spases’ home goods?

A big part of our brand story is that we believe in textiles that are considered, made with intention. As a consumer, I see value in items that cant be found anywhere else, carefully handmade with superior quality and a story to tell. Thats always been a personal thing for me when purchasing for my own home. This translates back into the brand in that our business model has been handmade-to-order from the beginning. We place value in creating slowly, in small batches. This way of creating has always been part of our storytelling and our audience love receiving items that are made with love and intent.

African-inspired designs have gained popularity globally. How does Spases stand out in a competitive market and maintain its unique identity?

In our South African market Spases has gained customer trust purely because we came into the market when these textiles and designs were not really accessible in product form. We have become a go-to store for unique, handmade, minimalist African homeware. The cool thing with creating in small batches is that it gives us more creative freedom to test our market by introducing new items and seeing the response. This really allows us to understand our customer taste. Our customers also love when items are only made in limited quantities because they become super special in the home.

Spases decor

Spases’ products seem to reflect a rich cultural heritage. Do you actively engage in promoting African culture through your brand, and if so, how do you achieve this?

As a store our ethos still comes back to celebrating African design and textiles, by creating products and educating our audience about origin stories, sharing the value in items that are handmade and rich in tradition. There has always been a through-line as an online brand to educate our audience around the importance of supporting our continent.

As a founder of a growing homeware brand, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own socially responsible and culturally inspired business?

I think something that’s always stuck with me is constantly aligning with my vision. I’ve always kept in mind my “why”, why I started a business, what’s the impact I’d like to make. My “why” is always compared to the products we create. Starting a business is hard, it keeps on evolving, but always checking in with my “why” has kept us on the right path. Having the internal guide as an aspiring entrepreneur is what keeps you inspired to keep on moving forward.

Looking ahead, what are your long-term goals for Spases? Are there any specific milestones or plans you hope to achieve while continuing to uphold your commitment to craftsmanship and sustainability?

Long-term goals for Spases is to grow globally. I would love to see our items across the world, reminding the world of how important Africa as a continent is.

How do you envision the The Folklore Connect’s wholesale platform benefiting your brand? What would you say is the main reason for signing up to join the platform?

I had first heard Amira [Rasool, founder of The Folklore] speak on a podcast about The Folklore in the early days.  I loved the idea of empowering brands from smaller countries like ourselves that lack access to the international market. The lack of real network is the breakdown point for small brands to gain access. This is the main reason for joining The Folklore.


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