The Carrol Boyes Story | Our Designers

Our story began more than 30 years ago, when a talented English teacher – Carrol Boyes – decided to pursue her passion for art and sculpture. Since the inception of the brand, our products can be found in the homes of South African collectors and abroad. Carrol Boyes is a trusted and celebrated brand; we pride ourselves in exceptional quality and recognizable style.

Young Carrol

Carrol Heather Boyes was Born in Cape Town, 21 November 1954 as the oldest sibling to her two brothers, Charles, and John Boyes. The Boyes children were lovingly raised on a farm in Limpopo and were always community driven – with a passion for local entrepreneurs, artists and the rich heritage South Africa exudes. Carrol, Charles, and John have always focused on business steeped in family and the legacy continues as Charles took over as CEO of the brand in 2019.

​Carrol Boyes was a fine arts graduate with a major in sculpture from the University of Pretoria. She was initially an English teacher until at the age of 35 she decided to live her dream of being an artist. She began making crafts from her home in a seaside suburb of Cape Town in 1989. Her aim was to combine sculpture with functionality and the result is a range of absolutely gorgeous homeware and table-top accessories. She had a special talent for taking relatively plain and unadventurous traditional utensils and transforming them into sculptured collectable items. This vision has been successfully passed on to her design team whom she mentored for over a decade and who continue to create products after Carrol’s death in August 2019.

Carrol’s Graduation

Carrol Boyes graduated with a fine arts degree from the University of Pretoria. Like most art graduates in the country, she had dreams of taking the art world by storm but was met with the tough reality that a career as a sculpturer was not feasible in South Africa. Instead, she made a career of teaching English to high school students and art to juniors. At the age of 35, she decided to start her own functional art business after 15 years of teaching. She experimented with jewellery before finding her niche in home décor accessories and kitchenware. She launched her business in 1989 from her home in Cape Town where she focused on cutlery and flatware specifically.

At the age of 35, she decided to start her own functional art business after 15 years of teaching. She experimented with jewellery before finding her niche in home decor accessories, and kitchenware. She launched her business in 1989 from her home in Cape Town where she focused on cuttlery and flatware specifically.
“After 11 years of teaching, I followed my childhood dream of being an artist and a designer.”– Carrol Boyes

The Brand is Born

The first 3 years of her design and artwork, she worked with copper, silver, brass, and pewter. She created Verdigris candle sticks, jewellery, and assorted brass works. The public fell in love with these quirky and functional items for the home and are still in the homes of those who bought her first pieces from a small stall at Cape Town’s Greenmarket Square.

Art dealer, Peter Visser gave Carrol her first break after she gave up teaching by displaying and selling her pieces in his trendy store in Cape Town’s vibrant Loop Street. ‘’Each of her designs is a statement in itself, completely personal, fresh and different.” Peter Visser.

Carrol’s ethos was to produce high quality, unique, quirky, and collectable pieces of art that could be used every day. Pieces to enjoy and pass down from generation to generation. The brand still holds this vision true to this very day.
“Being the first person to do something is a huge advantage. I was lucky in that I got to the market first with the kind of products I produce. If you can’t do something new, then you must do the old very, very well.” -Carrol Boyes

In 1991, as her brand grew by word of mouth, with many people flocking to her stall in Greenmarket Square, Carrol quickly realised that she needed production on a larger scale to keep up with the demand for her homeware pieces. This is when the manufacturing plant opened in 1990 in Limpopo. The factory opened its doors with a staff complement of 12 which quickly grew to 350 employees.

Carrol’s father solved the need for a large-scale manufacturing plant by offering an empty building on their family farm to help Carrol in realising her dream. Charles, who had just graduated from university took this opportunity to assist her in setting up the factory, and in essence becoming a major role player in the brand.

The Limpopo plant is located near Tzaneen in the Northern Province, where the casting and stamping of the metals is done and larger items are assembled prior to their transportation to the head office in Cape Town. Carrol and her family were passionate about job security in the communities they lived and worked in – and the factory afforded the community the much-needed opportunity of being skilled and employed. With a headcount of 350 employees, the factory became the second biggest employer in the area affording skills development and job creation to local residents.

“Employing people has always been very stressful for me… The idea of having someone’s life in my hands was nerve-racking. It was a responsibility I took very seriously and still do to this very day.”– Carrol Boyes

The Brand Grows

Two years after setting up her factory, Carrol received her first international order and Carrol’s pieces were catapulted into popularity with the demand for her products exceeding her expectations. In 1999, Carrol moved from her home office in Llandudno to her new office premises in Rose Street, Cape Town.

Four years later, in 2003 she launched her first retail store at the tourist mecca, he Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town. This flagship store was the beginning of the brand’s retail footprint which now sees a compliment of 25 stores nationwide and a successful online selling website. Our retail footprint has ensured that our brand is widely recognisable, both locally 

Present Day

After more than 30 years, the business is continually growing with an offering of over 1 000 products available. More than 27 countries currently stock the Carrol Boyes brand with some big names such as Bloomingdales and Nieman Marcus in the USA and David Jones in Australia among these retailers and stockists.

Over the years Carrol has been recognised and acknowledged for her incredible achievements in business and contributions to the design world. The Carrol Boyes group draws its talented complement of people and vendors from all over the country to provide excellence in quality and functionality. With decades of sketches in the archive and personally selected designers who worked alongside her for many years, the brand is only set to reach new heights with each year that passes and ensuring that Carrol’s legacy lives on in her designs.
“My vision is to take it into the next generation. I believe there is a lot of talent in this country, and I owe it to my staff and customer to find it so that the company has longevity.”– Carrol Boyes

Meet Our Designers

Carrol is an iconic South African artist who is widely recognized and globally celebrated. Carrol created and founded the brand that many collectors love today with her incomparable designs that elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary. Carrol was meticulous about the quality of the materials she used and spent countless hours honing her creativity into functional art pieces that are passed down from generation to generation. She graduated with a Degree in Fine Arts and first pursued teaching as a career before returning to sculpting and design which was her true love and passion. Since then, Carrol has been the recipient of countless awards in both art, design, and entrepreneurship. Even after Carrol’s untimely passing, she remains the heart and soul of the brand and our designers are constantly striving to hit the creative mark – just like she taught them.

Mentored under the guidance of Carrol, our product designers and developers were handpicked by Carrol to work with her. Our designers continue to develop products the way Carrol taught them, as well as use the suppliers she chose herself. Carrol has left the business with a plethora of new products in the pipeline. The talented design team, headed up by Madeleine Morgan, continue to create world class functional art in keeping with the legacy of the brand.

Madeleine Morgan

Madeleine proudly leads the team of product designers and developers with more than 16 years of experience behind her with 11 of them being under the wing of Carrol. Madeleine’s work ethic revolves around ensuring that Carrol’s legacy of unique design and quality remains at the heart of the brand in terms of design and development. When Industrial Design was introduced to her in her final year of high school, Madeleine immediately knew this was the direction she was meant to focus on as a career and so she graduated in 2004 with a Diploma in Industrial Design. The Ripple Glassware range is close to her heart as it reminds her of Carrol’s stature and thinking process. When Madeleine is not working on product design and development, she can be found in her kitchen cooking up a storm. Carrol taught Madeleine to push boundaries and get out of her comfort zone which is something she continues to do both in her career and personal life.

Holly Birkby

Holly is a talented artist that describes herself as getting into product design over the years. From a young age, she reads books on design which enabled her to spot an Eames Chair at the age of 10 from afar which is why she aptly worked as a design lecturer for some time. Her talents were predominantly focused on jewellery before she moved to Carrol Boyes. Holly worked with Carrol for 13 years which honed her skills at producing products for the brand that work well and are loved by collectors too.

Greg Visagie

Since high school Greg has had a deep appreciation for different art movements and as a child his fascination with how objects were put together, so product design and development has always been at the forefront of his passions. Greg was mentored by Carrol for just over 2,5 years and has since ensured that each piece he works on speaks to functionality, art and quality whilst upholding the standards of excellence Carrol Boyes is renown for. Greg’s favourite piece is Sculpture – Dreamer which he worked closely on with Carrol and is the first non-functional product the brand has sent out to the market. Greg works closely with the product design team and appreciates the creativity that everyone brings to the table. He draws inspiration from his fellow designers.

Jinx Shaw

Jinx has been a part of the Carrol Boyes family for over 25 years, of which 23 were spent working with Carrol. Jinx draws inspiration from her home in Africa and enjoys incorporating ancient and contemporary art into her projects. Jinx spends her time honing her craft in designing and creating ceramic pieces if she is not busy with a carpentry challenge. Art and creativity have always been part of Jinx’s lifestyle and she enjoys getting involved in projects at work where she has a hand in items that are successful in the marketplace. The special sculpture designed for Desmond Tutu in 2002 remains Jinx’s favourite project. She described this piece as one never to be forgotten as she completed the piece and designed the mould for the sculpture. Jinx loves working on figurative pieces and holds the personal, design and business lessons Carrol imparted close to her heart.

Janine George

Janine creatively leads the brand at Carrol Boyes. With two decades of experience in production, product development and commercial management across a number of industries, Janine has had the opportunity to build and grow the marketing, content and digital teams in the business. With a love of all things customer and product, Janine has a love for insight and data. Whilst she would say she is half Engineer (Mechanical) and half Creative, she most enjoys bringing teams together.

The new Carrol Boyes website took 9 months to design and launch (she calls it her 5th child) and Janine has been instrumental in making this happen – bringing Art to more people around the world. When Janine is not officially ‘at work’, she is a wife and mom to four children and 2 dogs. She is obsessed with clearing and is crafting a new range of storage – her favourite saying ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’.