I first found Snob at the Interior Design Show in 2008. I was intrigued by the accessories displayed and even more so when I started asking questions about the products; there were cushions made from buttons and wire, large, very real looking “rocks” that were made out of felt and a stunning console made out of twigs. I’d always meant to visit the store, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when doing my “field trip Fridays” run that I made it in. It turns out that Snob is in the same really cool converted warehouse where Greentea Design resides. Great! Two blog posts with one trip!
Denise Zidel, Snob’s owner, sources her merchandise from 13 African countries. Not only does she have a good eye, but she also buys from ethical sources. Merchandise comes from disadvantaged groups who are taught skills to help them earn a living. Further, often the material used to make these products are scraps that would otherwise end up in landfill. But if you didn’t know all that, you would still buy these accessories, because first and foremost, the items are beautiful. Below, I’ve put a few snapshots of some of the many items in the store, and given a bit of background on them.
Recycled copper wire and button pillows ($125 each, left photo) and silk and beaded pillows ($85 each, right photo). The button pillows are surprisingly soft, given that it’s covered with buttons and wire, and really unique pieces. These pillows are made by the uSisi group of women (“uSisi” translates to “my sister”). They get together at their local church and bead and embroider these pillows. Each pillow is signed by the artist, and each artist is paid directly for her work.
Old wine casks are turned into cutting boards, still with lovely grape stains and winery stamp. ($155 each).
Portrait by Artist Gert Naude in oil ($1500). In the photo to the right of the portrait, the decorative plates are made of recycled telephone wire ($175 each). The groups that weave these beautiful plates come from four different communities in the Kwa-Zulu Natale province in South Africa. Their sales support more than 350 families.
Zulu mama chair, ($1150 each). Chairs are woven using recycled plastic around stainless steel by a group of women in Limpopo, South Africa. Money goes back to the community to help provide literacy, childcare and other development programs. Chairs are designed by Haldane Martin, a contemporary South African design company.
Left photo: The lower shelf features beaded animals made by women artists in “the most economically under-resourced areas of South Africa.” Each animal is signed by the artist, and the group that helps sell their art, MonkeyBiz is a non-profit group working to make lives better for women in their communities. All money earned is reinvested back into the community services.
The upper shelf displays authentic African masks sourced from Kenya, Nigeria and Camroon and are approximately 60 years old. (with stand, $175).
These are just a few of the many unusual and beautiful accessories that Snob has to offer. It’s well worth a trip to this store.
Snob: 388 Carlaw Avenue, Suite 202F, Toronto, ON, M4M 2T4.