Hive Highlights Blog ft. VELT Designs

by Cayley Bolleurs

Bee Festive blog

Hive highlights blog ft. VELT Designs

Introducing Hive Highlights, a weekly blog on the Bee Festive website that fosters a vibrant hive community while celebrating and showcasing local brands. Join us as we shine a spotlight on the remarkable talents and stories behind South Africa's homegrown businesses.

Welcome to another edition of Hive Highlights, our weekly blog post dedicated to showcasing the vibrant community of local South African brands. This week, we are excited to feature VELT Designs, a brand that beautifully combines nature-inspired aesthetics with sustainable craftsmanship.

VELT Designs, founded by Nicola Andrag, is a celebration of the natural world and captivating design. Nicola's deep passion for nature led her to embark on a journey in 2017, pressing and preserving plants in a modern and unique way. What began as an exploration of plant preservation quickly blossomed into the creation of VELT's stunning botanical wall hangings.

Stay tuned as we delve deeper into the remarkable story of VELT Designs and explore how they harmonise nature, creativity, and sustainability. Together, let's support local South African brands and embrace the beauty of the natural world through their captivating creations.

Welcome Nicola!

Tell me a bit about yourself:

Nicola Andrag – owner and founder of VELT Designs. She is the main energy behind all the designs and products. She is extremely passionate about nature and beautiful aesthetics/design and wanted to encapsulate both elements into timeless pieces that breathe a natural yet contemporary style into people's lives.

We have Sbu Dube, who has been freelancing for VELT since it started and helps with the production of our glass frames when times are busy. He is a gentle soul and works well with his hands. He says making the pieces is like a form of meditation to him, and he has become like a right hand to Nicky throughout the years.

What inspired you to create this brand?

“I started this journey in 2017, by pressing and preserving plants and wanted to capture them in a modern way. We created VELT’s botanical wall hangings within a year. The glass and metal frame with brass chain concept was what made the product really unique and allowed an exceptional view of the plant specimen. After time went by, my appreciation of plants grew. I come from a design background and got engulfed with the plant trends that are so prevalent today.

Can you tell me about the products you offer and what sets them apart from similar products on the market?

Each piece is uniquely handcrafted, composed using recycled glass and pressed plants. Each plant is ethically foraged. VELT Designs has a primary range of botanicals and seaweeds encased in glass and framed in metal. This is available in its signature black and rose gold colours. Although there is a primary range, no two pieces are alike.

The range has grown to include their (best on the market) Flower Presses and its Botanica Classica range, which contains a variety of traditionally mounted botanicals in wooden box frames.

VELT Designs also offers Bridal or custom-made bespoke services. These custom-made-to-order once-off pieces are designed in collaboration with or by direction of our clients, to breathe life into their creative visions. We have been lucky enough to create pieces for high-end clients such as The Mount Nelson Hotel, Singita Lodge, Poetry Stores, Savile Row Architectural Designs, among others.

VELT Designs aims to create long-lasting pieces that capture the essence of nature's beauty as well as complete one's home, cafe, or hotel environment.

What is the story behind the name of your brand?

VELT is derived from the word 'Veld' or 'Veldt', referring to a type of wide, open rural landscape in Southern Africa, usually covered in grass or low scrub. I wanted people to get a raw and natural feel of the brand through the name and our dedication to educating people on the importance of our natural world.

Are your products handmade or locally sourced?

Handmade and locally produced in-house.

What are your values as a brand and how do they reflect in your products?

The main message behind the brand and what we live by is our ENVIRONMENT. Both Nicola (owner/founder) and her husband Heijn are avid nature seekers. They spend a lot of their free time in the African bush and are gearing towards starting an eco-bush camp and wildlife conservation organisation in the Kafue National Park in Zambia. To complement both dreams, they have intertwined the brand VELT as the ambassador of the conservation bush camp and have pledged profits from frames sold towards the efforts of getting the camp running and ultimately saving wildlife in Africa. The road is long, but if there is a will, there's always a way!

 What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a local brand, and how did you overcome it?

Building the brand to what it is today, sourcing our materials at affordable prices, and trying to offer artworks and products that are both sustainable for the environment and carry an important message.

What are your future plans for the brand?

To be a highly acclaimed artist and conservationist through creative creations and inspiring others.

How can consumers best support your brand and the local community?

Share our name, invest in our artworks, and enjoy our natural spaces.

Who is someone that inspires you?

David Attenborough, who has dedicated his life to the natural world and has made such an impact worldwide for so many years.

What do you love most about South Africa?

Our nature reserves and beautiful beaches.

What is your favourite song?

"Right down the line" - Gerry Rafferty

Is there anything you could say to someone wanting to start their own business?

Create a space and environment that you have always dreamed of working in. If you want to be in the creative space, know that you will have days when you need to rest or take some time in nature to re-energize your mind and soul.

Is there anything more you would like to add?

Loved answering these questions as it reminded me how much I love what I have created on my own and can take it in any direction I feel I want my business to go.

In conclusion, VELT Designs has captured our hearts with their exquisite blend of nature, creativity, and sustainability. Their handcrafted botanical creations are a testament to their passion for preserving the beauty of the natural world. We invite you to join us again next week as we continue to highlight inspiring local South African brands.

If you have a brand that you would like to see featured on Hive Highlights, don't hesitate to reach out to Bee Festive at We are always excited to discover and support new talents within our community.

Personally, I am thrilled to stock the A5 flower press from VELT Designs and eagerly anticipate our future collaborations. Stay tuned, as we have some exciting plans in store for the rest of the year.

Thank you for joining us on this journey of celebrating local South African brands. Together, let's continue to nurture and uplift our hive community.!

Don't forget to follow us on Instagram  & Facebook and show your support!