Lise Butler and Amanda Haupt

Co-founders, The Design Team

Lise Butler and Amanda Haupt first met as students while studying for their BTech degrees in textile design and technology. At the completion of the four year course they decided to open The Design Team, a textile design and print company. The two friends lectured at Pretoria Technikon (now the Tshwane University of Technology) for two years and used the facilities while concurrently running their business. "We never really had capital,� says Butler. "One job basically paid for the next.� The pair did, however, ask their department at the Technikon to fund a stand at the Decorex expo and it was there that Loads of Living placed "a substantial order� with The Design Team and, 10 years later, they are still clients. The Design Team has grown exponentially since then, doubling its turnover every year for the past three years and now looking to expand. "We add to our staff almost on a monthly basis,� says Butler. The work force now numbers 26, all with little or no prior experience in the textile industry. The business operates seven days a week and Butler and Haupt are considering introducing night shifts to keep up with the demand. What makes this dynamic duo remarkable is that they do all their design and printing in-house. "It is a collaborative process,� says Butler. "We develop stuff together � we produce and print everything from scratch.� But, she says, "it's not just about design, but about creating a sustainable business�. � Lisa Steyn

Lunch spot: Tasha's Cafe, Atholl Square, Sandton