In cognisance of the fact that we live in a world of duality, theStorer is complementing its existing online consumer platform with the opening of its ‘bricks and mortar’ store that will allow its client base to come in and interact with both the supplier and the product. theStorer is a distinctive stockist of lifestyle products that are unique and valuable creations sourced and curated from all over the globe in the quest to bridge the gap between the maker and the user.

For quite some time, Lisa Storer had a burning desire to create something different. She relentlessly searched for reasons to be a little more excited when she got out of bed every morning. She wanted to do something epic, not just for herself, but something that she would share with the community of people who have analogous perspectives of wanting to inspire and be inspired. She was committed to doing something great; something that would allow and encourage others to slow down their pace, catch their breath a little and” live in the now….”

That is the rationale behind theStorer, how it came into being. The concept is to stock fair trade items that celebrate nature’s palette and myriad textures, crafted by small communities around the world. In the process, it seeks not to just sell the product, but also to educate its consumer about the legacies and heritage attached to all their wares. “We wish to reconnect our tribe from all over the globe, and to bridge the gap between maker and user again,” says Lisa.

Explaining the idea behind theStorer, Lisa says the “Storer” is an aesthete who travels the world, collecting beautiful things as a reflection of authentic product globally within the eco-community. Thus, for the past two years, Lisa has been travelling far and wide to connect and work with artisans from India, Africa and South America. “We are a lifestyle brand that sources fair trade produce from apparel and accessories to décor and furniture,” she explains.

TheStorer has been online-based since it commenced trading in July this year. Lisa is of the view that as we live in a world of duality, it is of utmost significance to find the balance between marketing the brand using the technologies available to us. This includes digital platforms, whilst staying true and honest to the journey of the founding principles of the business. This ensures that the shopping experience is both more mindful and personal. “At theStorer we endeavour to make each online purchase more “human”, which is challenging, given that we are not face-to-face with the buyer. A vital part of our journey is to bring home the stories that are inextricably linked to the artisans (and their families and ancestors) worldwide, to our local community,” she says.

Face-to-face with the customer

As online spending in South Africa is expected to reach R53 billion by next year, Lisa concurs that it is the way of the future; but for her, sometimes an online deal can be daunting as it is devoid of the personal touch. “It is often hard to perceive how the product will actually feel or look in an everyday environment,” says Lisa. She is also of the view that South Africa still has a long way to go before being on a par with the international market, as far as online purchasing and fair-trade product is concerned.

As a result, on October 26, the Storer will, over a period of three days, officially unveil its physical store, located in Fourways, Johannesburg. “Our 200 m² showroom stocks lifestyle product – from homeware, accessories and clothing to body products,” says Lisa. As a multi-dimensional brand, we are launching our ‘bricks and mortar’ store so that our buyers can come in and interact with us and the items they wish to purchase. The showroom, in essence, will be a place to visit, slow down and browse through, taking in our varied and unique selection of artefacts on offer. In other words, a tangible, tactile experience.”

This prestigious “by invitation only” launch is exclusive to a selection of press and the existing client base. The showroom will, however, be open to the public from November 2, just ahead of the festive season shopping. “We will be showcasing our online selection in a lifestyle setting. Additionally, as a “sneak peek” we will be revealing our new stock which is not yet available online; as well as furniture and bespoke pieces which are not offered online,” says Lisa.

Why theStorer?

Lisa says the idea behind theStorer is to offer more than just a quality, unique product. It’s about the story and the heritage of the communities that make the particular item so special. “Our process is creative and from the heart. We work with artisans and community projects that inspire us, forging bonds with such groups throughout the world. This way, we’re affirming respect for each human being’s journey and creativity,” she explains. “This is evident through the treasures we offer locally. Moreover, the unique spectrum of our wares is infused with the human touch.”

For Lisa, it isn’t just about selling “things to enhance our lifestyle”. She feels that often the human connection is lacking, especially in the fast-paced world we live in today, where new, bigger, better is the mantra of 21st century living. “It seems that in all this consumerism, we as humans feel the void, a lack of connection. So, our approach is to look at the world as a series of connections that lead us to engage with our environment and fellow humans. I am always humbled by the gracious communities who welcome us in and tell us stories of their rich heritage and craft,” she says.

Looking at the road ahead, Lisa says theStorer will always stay true to its path; that being a mindful, considered assortment of wares, conducive to a slower pace of life. “It is challenging to do this in a world of fast fashion, mass production and a society that favours instant gratification. For me, this business is soulful. Connection and community is the foundation of what we do and I would like to see us working more in Africa and discovering numerous other projects around the globe, providing them with a platform, not only enabling them to earn a living but more importantly, to enable them to tell their stories,” concludes Lisa.



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