Brand-new Taunina sells bespoke soft toys
Taunina sells beautiful, luxurious one-of-a-kind soft toys.
Taunina is Tracey Chiappini-Young and Karen Jansen’s labour of love. With its focus on sustainable development and particularly sustainable luxury, it’s a brand with soul and feeling.
Teddy bears, rabbits and puppies are sold at Taunina and, while they are expensive, there are reasons for the seemingly exorbitant prices of these treasures. They are handmade by women who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are incredibly talented seamstresses and embroiderers. Embellished with exquisite embroidery and appliqué details, each bear takes 4-7 days to make, and is made with the strictest quality control. The women must wash and powder their hands every hour and a half to ensure the cotton stays clean. They are inspected carefully by Tracey before they’re shipped off in a beautiful Taunina hat box.
The toys are marketed as heirlooms – not necessarily for playing with, but for becoming a part of the home, a piece of art that evokes a sense of nostalgia, treasured for generations. With this in mind, the toys are made intricately with only the finest luxury heritage fabrics from iconic textile houses such as Liberty of London.
The name Taunina is made up of two parts – 'Tau' meaning ‘lion’ and 'NINA' which is an acronym for the business term 'No Income No Asset'. The idea behind the name, according to Tracey and Karen, is that Taunina gives women who once had no income and no assets the power to become lions of their own destinies.
Tracey calls the shop/studio in Woodstock where the toys are made and sold an ‘atelier’ – a small studio used by an artist. She believes that the women who make the toys are artists in their own right. They are taught which patterns and colours go together so that a unifrom aesthetic is achieved, but they are still given a large amount of creative freedom.
Taunina is new, but Tracey seems to have no doubt that it will be successful. The Taunina toys are currently sold in only two places in the world – Woodstock in Cape Town and exclusive children’s store Bundle in New York. Soon, Taunina toys will be available at Harrods in London and in Barney’s in New York.
Visit the Taunina store in Fairweather House, 176 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town or buy online here.