Art is too important not to share. -Romero Britto
“The Midlands is known to be a special destination where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy a range of fun activities for the entire family.
Together with the iKhokha Product team, I took the scenic route out to Zulu Lulu Art House and Gallery to meet the lovely Vanessa Cadman. Situated at Piggly Wiggly (near Howick) on the Midlands Meander, this gorgeous Art House specialises in showcasing work from leading South African artists, sculptors and ceramic makers. Here’s what Vanessa had to say about Zulu Lulu.” –Samantha Gounden
Hey Vanessa, tell us a little about Zulu Lulu?
Hey Sam, so I’m Vanessa Cadman from Zulu Lulu Art House and Gallery. We are based here at Piggly Wiggly and run an Art Gallery showcasing fine art ceramics and sculptures. We showcase many, many local South African artists but not necessarily local from the area. We tell their unique stories so they can be shared with collectors who visit our galley.
“Creativity is magic, come and give it a try!” – Vanessa Cadman
We have an Art Bar, and an Art Studio adjacent to our gallery where kids and adults can paint their own ceramics, take part in acrylic pouring and candle dipping. There’s Chocolate Heaven on the other side as well as a pizza place – it’s really nice for kids and families to enjoy a general outing over weekends. There’s lots of fun and entertainment for everyone especially the kids. We even do groups and kiddies’ birthday parties. It’s an absolute jol.
So, what inspired the concept of Zulu Lulu?
About 12 or 13 years ago, the gallery was started by a local artist in the area who was part of the Midlands Meander. They had started here in a tiny, tiny little place and it gradually expanded over the years. In November 2018, they sold it to my husband Charles and I because they wanted to focus on the art instead of running a commercial business. Charles is a farmer by profession and I’m a physiotherapist by training. We moved a year-and-a-half ago looking for a business to purchase and because we’ve always had a passion for arts, crafts and kids’ activities, it just seemed like the right kind of fit.
“The interaction has been good. It’s been easy. It’s been positive.” – Vanessa Cadman
Tell me more about the Art Bar?
We offer a “paint your own ceramics Art Bar” for children and adults. You can select a blank pottery item off the shelf, grab a brush, paint set and create your own masterpiece. Your finished item will be glazed and fired in our on-site kiln and can be collected or couriered directly to your door, ready to use and enjoy.
Who or what inspires you/your brand, Vanessa?
The artists. Definitely. They all have different styles, are passionate about what they do and obviously they need an outlet. So, they’re our primary objective. The artists. They’re excited about creating art and selling art – and that’s what keeps us going.
We take all their art on consignment and we sell it on their behalf. Then, we tie up the deals and pay them for their work. So, it seems like a good match haha. We take care of the nitty gritty and they get to enjoy their passion.
Vanessa, what’s your recipe for success?
Honesty. To really be upfront with our artists. It’s been an interesting walk for us because we have discovered, sadly and surprisingly, how dishonest some galleries are with their artists. They don’t pay them on time, and often they don’t pay them at all.
Why did you choose iKhokha?
We inherited iKhokha hahaha. The previous owners already had a Shaker card machine, so it was an easy and smooth transition. In fact, subsequently, we’ve gotten a second Shaker Solo card machine because it gets really busy between the Studio and the Gallery. It made sense and was a no-brainer to stay on with iKhokha because we were happy.
What’s the vision for Zulu Lulu in next 5 years?
Just within the year, we’ve grown the Art Studio side – I guess because people love to entertain their kids. I think families are becoming more and more aware of spending time together and getting their kids off their cell phones, so we’ve tripled our offering within the year.
What’s your advice to young entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Work smart. Work tight. Budget properly. Price things accordingly. Market it well. Stay relevant on all social platforms. Most importantly, make sure what you’re getting into is something that you are passionate about. Because if you have a passion for what you do, it will keep you strong during tough times.
How do people get a hold of you?
There’s our website: www.zulululu.co.za, Facebook: Zulu Lulu and Instagram: @zulululu_arthouse
You may also call us on 083 357 0588 or get in touch via the Piggly Wiggly website www.pigglywiggly.co.za
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