Self-confessed Gypsetter and the founder of artisanal lifestyle brand The Storer, Lisa Storer finds inspiration in the honesty of working with artisans in far-flung places.
After a 15-year career in retail that saw her in roles ranging from junior designer and warehouse manager to merchandiser and business owner, Johannesburg-born Lisa Storer was in need of a change and wanted to ‘work from a place with heart and soul’. ‘About two years ago, I felt a pull to slow my life down. I longed to form a human connection with the maker and the product, so my journey began to find small community projects and artisans to support around the globe.’
This is how The Storer was born. Starting out as an online venture, the stockist of unique products sourced from sustainable crafters from all over the world has grown into a fully fledged brand, with Lisa Storer opening her first shop at 44 Stanley Ave in Johannesburg last year – and the promise of a Cape-Town based shop on the horizon. ‘Our ethos is to reimagine the store every few months so that the customer has a unique experience each time they visit,’ she says. ‘The large vertical garden wall in our store is organic, which reflects what we are about: growth, slow growth.’
Lisa Storer doesn’t follow trends when stocking her store and, instead, emphasises the importance of collecting pieces that make you feel connected to their story, and the people who have made it or owned it before. ‘Our brand is about all five senses: we want our customer to feel moved and exhilarated, educated and inspired,’ she says. ‘Community is the basis for purpose in this life. The lessons, skills and crafts that are passed down from generation to generation can only be done so in a community. Without community, all our craft and heritage would be lost.’
Lisa Storer’s Favourite Things
This magnificent cathedral in Barcelona, Spain, by Antoni Gaudí is my favourite piece of architecture. I love his work – it’s so organic and seems to grow out from the constraints of the concrete, taking on a life of its own.
I can’t get enough of this colour at the moment. I find its earthy hue so grounding.
Casa Oaxaca Café
This little café in Oaxaca in southern Mexico is my top spot and where I like to sip Mescalini cocktails infused with ginger and basil. It’s located on a church square, where the local children play and dance until late, and it serves a sublime mix of Mexican exotic and traditional dishes.
If money weren’t an issue, I would love to own a piece by this iconic South African artist. The grittiness of his work resonates with the reality of life, amplifying the duality that is life.
Le Majorelle Garden
I adore this museum in Marrakech for the Yves Saint Laurent Berber traditional costume exhibition. I also love MoMa in New York City, whose Monet paintings are out of this world. Finally, the Rothko room at the Tate Modern in London is akin to a spiritual sanctuary.
Salvadore Dalí and his wife Gala
The Dalís, as well as Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Paulo Coelho and Coco Chanel, would be my dream dinner-party guests, and I’d love to enjoy an evening with them where we’d contemplate the infinite possibilities within the universe.
I am obsessed with this designer’s work and I find the limitlessness of his creativity extremely inspiring.
Palm straw, linen and cotton
In terms of materials, anything natural from the earth is grounding and truthful.
At the moment, we are working at grassroots level to uplift communities that have had no funding. The raw talent indigenous to Africa inspires me with its possibilities. Recently, while travelling in Turkey, I realised exactly why I love Africa – nothing is impossible here and we can always find a way to make it happen. This is not true for all countries.