How I started Jabulani Design Studio

The baobab tree is known as the ‘the tree of life’. It is an icon of the African escarpment, a symbol of life and abundance, solidly rooted in a dry and desolate landscape.

Jabulani is the Zulu word meaning ‘rejoice’.

Together the name and the logo of Jabulani Design Studio symbolise rejoicing for life and abundance where normally there would be scarcity and lack. It signifies something very majestic and honourable that was born out of humble beginnings.

But where did it all start?

Jabulani Design Studio was started by Ilse Venter. Though the studio has been through many cycles of change, it has grown from strength to strength with Ilse at the helm. This is her story…

“My artistic side first appeared when I was young. My mother loved using the time we had together to inspire me to draw and paint. Art was my favourite subject at school. When I completed high school I followed my heart and signed up for a BA Fine Arts degree at TUKS. Only 50 students were selected for the course. Having a will of my own I knocked heads with a lecturer and walked out of the class.

“I think that was one of the most impulsive decisions I made but I quickly changed my study course to Psychology because I thought it would bring in more bucks and it was also a big passion. After successfully completing an Honours degree in Educational Psychology and teaching for a few years and training people in HR, the creative bug still nagged me. I decided to follow my dream by getting a job as a graphic designer at ABSA where they gave me in-house training and sent me for several graphic design courses.

“22 years later I am the sole owner of a very successful design studio.”

It took guts

Eleven years ago, it took guts to walk away from the corporate world, a stable salary and a solid job with Alexander Forbes. But Ilse spread her wings, and with only one printer and one computer she faced the biggest challenge of her life.

Ilse believes that her trust in God is what kept her going each month. She still believes that without Him, she wouldn’t have fulfilled her dream. She wouldn’t be where she is today.

The freedom to be

Ilse is a free spirit, but she takes her business very seriously.
She has the spirit of someone who loves the outdoors and wild life. You can see it at her home and studio where the cats waltz in and out of the studio to check up on the work being done.
She loves her freedom and that is why she left the corporate world – she realised that she could not be caged in an office.

A passion for learning

Ilse continues to learn and grow her skills at any opportunity she gets. She is currently studying Web Design through a school in the UK called Excel with Business. And once that is completed, she will search out other courses that she feels will help her grow to her fullest potential.

“I am professional but not a big corporate company – you are not just a number. I give each customer personal attention. I want you to feel at home in my studio.”

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