What we learned from The Business of Design 2017

We recently had the privilege of attending the annual Business of Design Conference in Johannesburg.

Here is a quick run down of the top 10 insights we took away from the conference to apply to our own retail interior design studio going forward:

1) Trend analyst and cultural anthropologist, Nicola Cooper, explained, that when it comes to design, Africa is where it’s at right now. Global consumers are hungry for authentic African stories and authentic African designs.

2) Adverting guru, Ann Nurock, told us how your brand and business purpose leads to purchase – and explained the importance of aligning your business values with those of your customers.

3) Chris Weylant, the brains and vision behind the Weylandt’s homeward empire challenged us to ask the question “If you take the logo away, does your customer still know they are inside YOUR store”?

4) The Architect behind Absa’s Odd Labs innovation project, Adrian Morris inspired us to design for delight – and reminded us that people ignore design that ignores people.

5) Business of Design co-founder, Cathy O’Clery challenged us to create retail interiors that offer inhabitants more than a place to purchase an object.

6) David Krynauw inspired us with his personal  journey and his passion for creating a design brand that builds on what nature gives us – he is involved with farming and growing the raw wood and materials he uses in his iconic furniture range.

7) Laduma Ngxokolo, founder and designer of the Xhosa-inspired luxury knitwear brand, MaXhoza explained how embracing his own African culture and identity is a key element of his global success.

8) Thando Hopa re-inforced the importance of diversity and embracing your uniqueness in every aspect of your design work.

9) Branding genius and business man, Thebe Ikalafeng’s hugely entertaining talk centred on the importance of African designers owning our own narrative and identity amidst the African cultural renaissance going on right now.

10) Ntsako Mokwena, MBA and Uber boss-lady, revealed what it takes to disrupt an industry with a simple idea.

We’re inspired to take Blackline Retail Interiors to the next level. We hope you are too!


See you next year at Business of Design 2018, and look us up in person if you are attending the Jozi sessions.