INTERVIEWS

5 Questions with Michelle from Telulinen

The collection at Telulinen is beautiful simplicity, so pure and natural. It has us feeling quality family time and appreciating the little things. Reading the story of founder Michelle, it all makes sense. We so enjoyed reading her answers to our 5 questions and getting to know more about her! Read along to find out more about her business and where she gathers inspiration.

telu linen mother love

vegetables kids linen telu

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live and about your family.

I was born on a farm, the third of four girls, in South Africa. My parents created a wholesome wonderland for us. We had big vegetable gardens, workers spinning wool, grannies knitting popcorn sweaters, lots of pets, and lots of time spent on the grass learning cartwheels from my mom and holding running races with my dad.

My mom left her job as state prosecutor to raise us, and her passions led her to start what was probably the root of all my and my sisters’ loves in life. She believed that if you teach a woman a skill a whole family would benefit. This is especially true in Third World countries where single moms are very common.

My Dad contracted a German master weaver for her, bought some Angora goats, and she started a weavery making natural fibre carpets on our farm. She employed each of the unemployed women on our farm, and later more. Within the first year the weavery was more profitable than the farm and my parents both committed to the passion full time.

In the following three decades the business evolved to encompass many other products. They produce white label products for many big brands around the world to this day.

I met my husband whilst doing an accounting degree in Stellenbosch. It took me quite a bit longer to finish in the end, preoccupied as I was with falling in love!

His job took us traveling all around Europe for some years, and I was lucky enough to fill my days strolling the streets and getting wonderfully lost. To this day, I am inspired by those scenes and by the solitude.

We started spending more time in USA from 2012, the year our lives became complete when we met our first child Tehila.

Fast forward to 2017; we decided to take up our Greencards and move to the US permanently.

girl vegetable plot telu linen

tell pink linen apron kids

2. Tell us a little bit about your brand and how you came to create your label.

Telu creates luxury linen essentials for everyday living. I created my brand as an attempt to connect all that is in my sweet past with all that is in our future. My kids names Tehila and Lukas inspired the name. My parents and their factories’ capacities and abilities helped define my range.

girl blows bubbes telu tent

pure simple natural linen

 telu bed linen stack sheep

versatile play crown all ages

3. What is important to you when designing and producing your products?

I love natural fibres: linen, wool, mohair, cotton, silk. These have worked through the ages and it just feels good.

My mom dries her Linen on her rosemary hedge. Linen is what you sleep under in their house; it’s what babies messes are wiped up with, what they are bundled into for a nap. My dad’s mohair blankets adorn every bed and couch and if a breeze settles in all the kids snuggle under it.

We have really lived in the products.

telu linen bedlinen sleeping daughter

Producing more than the simple bedding range I started off with has proven a great joy. The bonnets are a favourite; they’re what we wore as kiddos too. That and the wool sweaters – so in vogue – are styles I’m sure all the late 70, early 80’s kids can relate to.

Tehila has taken a great interest in the business bearing her name and often brings me sketches for ideas, or little things she’s sewn. Lukas is more than happy to test-drive anything that gets him to snooze on my chest.

broccoli beetroot brother sister telu

mother daughter love linen robe

4. How do you juggle motherhood and your career?

We have only really been operating for a few months, although of course we have the decades-strong legs of my parents manufacturing facilities. I’m still adjusting and finding my feet. However, what has been amazing is the affirmation from every person who has held the product in his or her hands.

The online community of mom entrepreneurs has caught me very pleasantly surprised. I am learning every day the science that is online marketing, having found other moms willing to share and soundboard has turned out to be a necessity.

I do a lot of online reading and courses, which is difficult to do when the little ones are not used to my giving so much attention in another direction. But they, too, have pleasantly surprised me – with their excitement when we pack an order, their pride in the stickers bearing their names, and their grace with me finding my feet in a world so new to me

telu linen coverup dress natural

woman window restful natural

5. What’s next for Telulinen?

In the future I would like to harness the skills of other designers and makers in South Africa. As far as manufacturing goes, I don’t think international brands know how reliable and accessible South African factories can be. There are also many beneficial trade agreements in place to consider.

Since my focus is wholesale as well as retail, I understand what is needed to make it all work. Having lived most of my life in SA, I do have a lot of lovely connections there.

I hope that all who utilise our products will feel the history in them; the love of three generations poured into each piece.

 

Telulinen is a recently-joined member of our shopping portal. Read more about this beautiful shop here. Or, come and say hi to Michelle at the upcoming London ShopUp, on the 3 and 4 December!


SHARE

Comments (0)

Leave a Comment