African luxury products enter high end global market


According to consumer research company Milward Brown, the number of luxury goods consumers in 1995, which was recorded at 90 million people, has since catapulted to 330 million consumers in 2013.

The growth of luxury goods consumption in the world is therefore a prime opportunity for niche market products to become a part of the sector.

“In 2011 I looked at ways of building sustainability, and at the same time[creating] leverage in building handcrafts and art in Africa, that was the beginning of Taunina,” Tracy Chiappini Young, co-owner and CEO of Taunina Sustainable Luxury Lifestyle Brand, told CNBC Africa.


Taunina is a South Africa-based company specialising in the production of high-end luxury teddy bears.

The South African Luxury Association has sought to combine South African brands to interconnect to explore the growing markets in Africa.

Kenya’s Vision 2030 flagship project seeks to facilitate golf as niche, in an attempt develop their Tourism industry. High end luxury products are associated with the sport and could grow African brands through their advertising.

Young’s business also aims to empower women within the arts and crafts sector in South Africa, which is often a poorly funded and supported industry.

(READ MORE:Africa’s appetite for luxury goods to be sated)

“The company aims to empower women from disadvantaged communities, to use their age old artistries to use to produce one of a kind luxury items,” Young explained.

The toys, which are handcrafted in South Africa, are then sold to the public from high end luxury stores across the world.

 The outlets include the Patrick Mavros flagship boutique and retail outlet, and New and Lingwood in London.

Harrods, a high end luxury store in London, as well as Barney’s in New York, will also soon stock Taunina’s toys.

 Young explained that Taunina’s products are luxury items because of the rare craftsmanship used to create the products, which can be classified as artwork.

“A piece takes four days to produce. One can’t scale handwork. Each piece is completely unique to the respective talisman, [and] this makes the toy a collector’s item,” said Young.

Item prices range from 325 pounds to 450 pounds in London, and between 1,780 rand to 5,320 rand in South Africa.

Despite challenges of attaining investment in crafts and the scarcity of textile factories producing fabric in South Africa, Taunina have made toys into a luxury sought after item.

(READ MORE: Africa is expected to become a luxury goods capital

“We developed a strong business ethic and focus on processes that can contend with luxury businesses worldwide.  We have three external individual investors, who have insight into global logistic channels. We entered into [a] uncontended market sector using teddy bears as a collector’s item” conclude Youngs.