We meet up with Guiyani Monteiro, owner of Johannesburg concept store, Ants.
Ants is an interesting name for a store – what is the meaning behind it?
It’s quite straightforward actually. Ants go out and find different goods and experiences and bring them back to share with their communities, which is what we do at our store.
You source content from around the world – where are some of the most exciting places in terms of design?
Design coming out of the African continent excites me immensely, as I’m seeing creativity from a completely fresh perspective brought on by mixes of varying traditions, cultures and heritage. All of this is driven by a young population who are breaking all conventions in design, such as AAKS, The Ninevites and Maxhosa.
Your favourite African country from which to source?
Mozambique, Ghana, Morocco and South Africa. They are all uniquely interesting and different. It’s hard to pick a favourite.
The most exciting thing about being a retailer in Africa?
The most exciting part is to be able to support the growth of craftsmen and -women, and other upcoming brands by giving them the exposure and platform to showcase their work and their stories.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had when it comes to retail?
Retail has never been an easy endeavour and the current economic times, globally, have been a wake-up call. That said, they’ve offered a great lesson on being creative with one’s offering.
You are looking into some interesting ways to enhance the retail experience – can you tell us a bit about this?
Our time is so precious and we want to make sure that the outcome of the experiences we choose are long-lasting and valuable. Ants is a destination so I’m evolving the offering by making sure that every time you walk into the store, it’s always a memorable event. To this end, we are introducing the concept of themed installations. Stay tuned.
You stock vinyl – what should we all have on our playlist this festive season?
Overall chilled vibes, old or new school such as Freddy’s Drop, Bobby Hutcherson, Fela Kuti, Silk Rhodes, Jay <3 Japan, Kaytranada’s 99% and Anderson Paak – you won’t be disappointed.
A South African design item you’re coveting?
So many, but I’ll give you two. Any neckpiece from the “Day Feels and Iloni Jewelery collaboration” and I’m dying for “The Rotunda” a drinks cabinet by Studium design studio.
An international design item you’re coveting?Any rug from CC Tapis.
Follow the exciting happenings planned for Ants at www.weareants.com