Keneilwe Mothoa and Lubabalo Mxalisa, the creative couple who founded the multidisciplinary design brand in 2018, said they were stunned when H&M asked them to create an exclusive interior design collection that will be sold in select H&M Home stores. of the country under the Neimil brand.
The partnership represents a significant commercial boost for a small brand like Neimil, which now benefits from a valuable association with one of the most recognized retailers in the world.
100% of the proceeds to Neimil
H&M will not take a penny from the Neimil x H&M collection, with all proceeds from sales going to the small business. Caroline Nelsen, Country Manager for H&M South Africa, said Bizcommunity that this is a unique approach taken by the company for this particular partnership.
âIt’s pretty special for us to do this in South Africa, because it gives these designers a platform on a huge level that is really hard to come by any other way. We thought it would be nice to give it our all [the proceeds] of this collaboration completely to artists, because we are in a position where we can do it for people.
The Design Collaboration is a project initiated by H&M to support small businesses and promote the design industry in South Africa. Hinting at possible local collaborations in the future, Nelsen said: âOur ambition is to do more. Whether it’s in this format or not, I’m not 100% sure, but we really want to be closer to the local community here.
She added: âWe believe there is potential to further position H&M as a truly diverse and inclusive global brand with local relevance in the South African market. Supporting local brands and giving them a space to promote and sell their products will allow them to build and develop their brand even further. “
Made in South Africa
Officially launching in H&M stores in Sandton City, V&A Waterfront and Menlyn Park on Thursday, November 4, the Niemil x H&M collection includes cushion covers, placemats, cosmetic or essential pouches, and bathroom rugs. With materials sourced from local fabric suppliers, all Neimil products are made locally.
The techniques used in the making of the collection are called needling and tufting; both techniques give the same result of tight coils of wool that are pulled together to create a soft, textured piece. The materials used in the collection are a wide range of wools and yarns on a linen backing. All scrap materials are also used to create works of art.
The design of the range can be attributed wholeheartedly to Neimil, whose founders had full creative freedom to create the collection. However, the couple praised H&M for providing much needed advice throughout the partnership, from ideation to implementation.
âOur relationship with H&M was so fluid, so beautiful, so straightforward and so encouraging. There was so much advice given and it made us feel at ease because we knew they were supporting us. It wasn’t just a transaction. They were like âguys, we see where you want to be, we want to support you, let’s workâ. And we have shifted, âsaid Lubabalo Mxalisa, co-founder and COO of Neimil.
With a focus on handcrafted products, designer Keneilwe Mothoa described Neimil’s trademark design language as “eclectic African or African with a modern twist.” We like to keep everything very simple and very current, while having this little baggage of our cultures and the things we believe in. “
It was this rootedness in culture and values ââthat drew H&M to the brand, along with Neimil’s obsession with product quality and beautiful design.
In addition to the main collection of Neimel decorations, H&M also worked with Bags 4 Good to produce polyester felt tote bags, made from recycled plastic bottles and made by women in Elsies River, Cape Town, as part of a community improvement project. The tote bags feature artwork designed by Neimil and a portion of the bag sales will be donated to the Social Elevation Project.
Developing what the H&M collaboration means for Neimil, Mothoa said Bizcommunity, âIt’s really special. It just shows that there is support for small businesses and for H&M to be an international brand that has decided to help a local South African brand get where it needs to go … it’s huge! It’s a great stepping stone and they’re the ones saying “well done for coming as far as you have come, here’s an extra push, go ahead and shine”.