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Interview with Karin Rae Matthee from Dear Rae


Karin Rae Matthees love for jewellery began at Stellenbosch University where she studied a BA fine Art (Jewellery and Metal Techniques) and in 2008 completed a semester at the Pforzheim Hochschule in Germany.

After this, drawing on inspirations from her diverse South African and German familial heritage, Karin was inspired to launch Dear Rae in 2010. Karins passion for empowering and employing local South Africans has been a driving force in the business.

Each Dear Rae piece is designed and made by Karin and her hand picked manufacturers at her Cape Town based studio. The studio and workshop create one space, allowing the ancient art of jewellery making to be exposed to all who visit.

What was your “uh hu” moment that made you pursue jewellery design and open your own shop?

When I came back from studying in Germany,  I was blown away by the raw energy in South Africa. I was so inspired to start a platform where I could employ locals, engage in creativity and be surrounded by people from diverse backgrounds.  Dear Rae Jewellery started in 2010, it started small in my parents garage and has developed into a beautiful space for creative collaboration and empowerment.

Talk us through a typical day in your life, including what you eat.

Well, everyday is so different, I have structured my week in a way that I focus on one area of Dear Rae per day, it helps me to direct my energy more effectively and make time for creativity and business.

My week is made up of the following days:

  • Mentorship Monday
  • Creative Tuesday
  • Admin Wednesday
  • Boss Thursday
  • Collaborative Friday

Generally, I always start off with a cup of buchu and mint tea.

Twice a week I  fit in a yoga session around 6:30 am, it helps set my intention for the day.  If I have time I make myself a breakfast wrap with scrambled eggs, avo, white cheddar, pesto and cherry tomatoes.

I usually get to the office by 8 am, where I have a focused meeting with two of my managers over a cup of coffee.

Lunch is anything interesting that I can find from a cafe in the Woodstock area, I am often too lazy or busy to make my own lunch.

My day usually ends with a mountain run or a surf if it’s a good day.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee, but I am starting to explore the wonderful world of tea!

I am trying to replace coffee with with tea where I can.

What is your indulgence of choice?

Home baked carrot cake.

Favourite quick fix recipe?

Um… I’m really good at throwing together any salad with whatever I find in my fridge.

Advice for keeping a good work-life balance?

Make time for yourself to rest, exercise, meditate, eat well and have fun.

I try not to take my work home with me, I find it very helpful to stick to work and play boundaries, both are equally important.

3 tips for women entrepreneurs?

  • Work hard at understanding your true essence,  respond from this essence with everything that you do.
  • Be brave enough to say no to work that does not suit you.
  • Find a mentor who can walk the hard road with you, it can be a lonely journey.

3 foods you cannot live without?

Eggs, white cheddar cheese and avocado.

What is your go-to snack for those days on the run?

Good old Peanuts and Raisins.

What makes you the happiest?

Connecting deeply with my friends and family, creative collaboration, a good dance, surfing and ocean swims, mountain runs, sharing a delicious meal with good company, travel and spending time alone connecting with myself.