Hand Painted By Carmel was established in 1997 by Carmel and Benjy Stoch, a brother and sister team, which in the past decade, has become a name renowned for distinctive signature table cloths, covering tables across the world.
The birth of Hand Painted By Carmel happened by chance when Carmel graduated from The Ruth Prowse School of Art in Cape Town. One of Carmel’s textile designs gained the recognition of an esteemed fabric buyer who immediately bought it and put it into production.
This inspired Carmel to develop her talent and style for textiles on her own, and soon created her own range of designs, mostly for table wear use.
Carmel’s artistic influences include Matisse for colour and Kandinsky for basic yet simple form, which would propagate the basis of her “less is more” distinguishable style. Colour plays a key roll in addition to the juxtapositions of unusual shades such as pink and orange.
The next stage for Carmel was to turn her talent into a thriving business. Her brother, Benjy Stoch a successful businessman within the restaurant industry from Johannesburg, realised the great potential and joined forces to drive the business forward.
Carmel and Benjy created a signature product which would become the unique selling point of Hand Painted By Carmel: the handpainted coated tablecloth. Carmel’s designs, which are painted onto 100% raw bull denim cotton, would be coated with a specially developed coating making them completely stain and liquid resistant. These specialised tablecloths never need be laundered, but simply wiped down after use. The result was an artistically designed, customised hand painted product with complete functionability. In particular, the restaurant industry has recognised this useful, creative and cost saving product.
Through the rest of the late 90's into the 2000’s Carmel and Benjy set up two Hand Painted By Carmel shops in Johannesburg , selling the handpainted coated tablecloths, placemats, chair cushions and aprons. In addition to the stores, Hand Painted By Carmel has supplied hundreds of restaurants with customised designs which can be seen all over South Africa, the UK, Australia, America and Canada. Benjy realised there was a gap in the market for customised tablecloths in small quantities for restaurants, and so a unique concept came into being.
Carmel is the designer and artist of the team and has the support of a formidable, trustworthy, loyal and talented staff in Cape Town where the factory and coating machine is based.
Carmel and Benjy grew up on a farm in the town of Malmesbury in the Western Cape. Many of the people with whom they grew up with on the farm have since joined the company. The painting team of twenty seven women is hugely talented and contributes great vibrancy and energy to the business. Hand Painted By Carmel is also a socially responsible company, investing into its staff's well being.
Over the past sixteen years, Benjy and Carmel have established a company which is truly ‘proudly South African’ in every way, and continues to inspire with creativity, energy and a brand, which has positive association with all who come to know it.