Tarah Van Wyk

Magpie Calls

What does your company do?

As the designer and maker of Magpie Calls, I handmake bridal and special occasion accessories from scratch. I specialise in custom and unique designs. I work hand in hand with my brides, clients, designers and stylists to make pieces that celebrate the person they are being made for. I believe every woman should feel like a queen and every man like a king. I am known for my headpieces, but also make earrings, necklaces, bracelets and belts. I use a variety of components, and believe in bringing in sustainability where I can. From repurposing retro and vintage jewellery components, to working on sentimental pieces using fabric or beads from special wedding dresses, outfits etc. I dont believe in wastage, and so my pieces are one-offs, custom or limited edition. Slow fashion is important, and each piece can take hours from start to finish. I often make my own components, or even paint each component to match. Detail and finishing off is important, as I want my pieces to always look amazing from all angles, as well as be comfortable and heirloom pieces that can be passed on or worn again. I started Magpie Calls making custom dance accessories and in 2016 started specialising in Bridal and Special occasion designs, when I realised that brides were needing unique accessories that were not imported and could be customised. They appreciate the work and detail that comes with a Magpie Calls creation. I love working hand in hand with my clients.

What is your biggest success?

I absolutely adore getting photos back from clients on the days they choose to wear my pieces, weddings, matric dances, maternity shoots, milestone birthdays, engagements, and fancy black tie events. It makes me giddy to see how it all comes together. I love that my work is part of love stories and special memories I got an amazing opportunity in 2019 to create a customised belt for a J. William Aria dress that Zozibini Tunzi wore during her Miss Universe pageant. It was an honour to be a part of her design team even in a small way. I have worked with some of SAs top designers or shared brides with them and it makes me so proud. I think a big success has just been getting through Covid. The wedding industry shut down completely and it was an extremely hard time for my little business. Perseverance has been my biggest success.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Frankly. lack of funds and reaching the right clients. I would love to expand my reach through advertising, get better equipment and also do more colaborations with artisan jewelry makers, metalsmiths and just expand what my brand can offer my clients. I would love to have exclusive fine jewellery, offer pieces that can be soldered, create more components from scratch here in SA and just find a way to keep more of the base work here in SA rather than having to source from overseas. So my biggest hurdle is finding a way to make that happen.