Mothers & Daughters in Design (Part 1): Zana Products

The mother and daughter team behind Zana Products tells us about their dynamic business.

Working with family can be tough and terrific! This year at Design Indaba Festival we have a few family teams on the Expo floor. We’ve interviewed three mother-daughter partnerships. Here we talk to Sue and Robyn Britz from Zana Products.

“'Zana’ is a family nickname,” says Sue. “When I was growing up, I got the nickname Zana; it’s really a name from when I was little.” 

Sue’s daughter Robyn explains that when the business started, the two of them wanted to find a name that had sentimental meaning but that wasn’t taken directly from either of their names. 

“It was something that was derivative of something to do with one of us and ‘Zana’ just seemed like something that was fun, cool and it actually has a nice story to it,” says Robyn. “It’s nice when people ask us, ‘where does your name come from?’ and we say, ‘it’s a family nickname that has kind of stuck and we love it’.”

Sue Britz had been in the printing business for many years when her daughter graduated, and they decided to join their creative energies. With Sue’s experience and Robyn’s understanding of online marketing and the modern customer, their strengths complemented each other’s.

“We started at home, like a true small business – in the garage,” laughs Robyn. But when online orders started coming in, they moved to bigger premises and took on more staff.

“Originally Sue did all the sewing. She’s like a jack-of-all-trades!” says Robyn.

Zana produces screen-printed bags, cushions and home décor – often printing textiles with graphic statements. They’ll be bringing a range of their products to Expo this year.

“What we bring to Design Indaba Expo is definitely our fun, bold and graphic style. It’s really accessible, we feel, and also really trendy,” says Robyn. 

The Zana products span various price brackets: from the larger leather bags to the small textile pouches. The pair is also launching some new designs, including a contemporary copper and material magazine rack.

“What I really like about working with Robyn is that she is of the younger generation and she understands our client and the computer technology,” says Sue. “Also, she has a very good eye for fashion trends.”

Although they acknowledge that mother-daughter pairs might not always have the right dynamic for business, Sue and Robyn Britz think that they are a good example of two skill sets coming together to create a business that can thrive.