Why do the angels have different names?

The naming of the Karoo Angel came very intuitively – it was a means of communication between the crafters and Isandi as to which angels we referred to, instead of using complicated codes (which also are a bit boring….). And it was of course quite natural to choose familiar names – and so the tradition of giving names from the Vondeling – and later Rietbron – community was born. It is always the crafters themselves who decide the names, and the rest of us involved are always very curious and excited to get the new names.

How accurate are the sizes of the angels?

If you look closely at the angels you will soon discover that none of them are identical, even if they have the same name. Perhaps the one has bigger wings than the other, or perhaps the ostrich feather dress is a bit longer. This is of course due to the fact that every single Karoo Angel is entirely made by hand. And the ostrich has of course no standardized measurements for its feathers.

My feather angel looks so “flat”?

The smaller feather angels, those made with tuft feathers, all come packaged in a small plastic bag, where they indeed look very flat. The feathers need air to unfold, and the longer they are allowed to “breathe” – the more fluffy and beautiful they become, ready to fly….

Do I need to treat the Karoo Angels in any special way?

Your Karoo Angel is guaranteed a long life if you look after it well. When not part of your home decoration, we recommend to store it in a closed box, or put them back in the plastic pouch that comes with your angel. Please notice that if the angels are exposed very long to harsh direct sunlight the colored copper wire might bleach somewhat.

The feathers are looking bland, what should I do?

The feather angels have their dresses made from bleached and dyed ostrich feathers. If they over a long period, like many years, hang in f.i. a window, the feathers might look not as white any longer. A simple dusting will most of the time makes wonders! You can also make them whiter again by using inexpensive hydrogen peroxide – we have tested by intense spraying – and it worked! Make sure that you have not anything near the angel that you do not want to bleach in the same go. Handwashing in mild detergent for wool and silk will also work. You make the dress fluffy again by using a hair dryer on low temperatures. Caution: Do not hold the hair dryer too close to the angel dress, high temperatures will easily burn it.

Where do the feathers come from?

The ostrich feathers come from Cape Karoo International – CKI – in Oudtshoorn, named the “ostrich capital of the world”, a town approximately 150 km from Willowmore. So, our most prominent material is locally sourced. Ostrich feathers come in different sizes, and in different grading. For the bigger feather angels we use several single feathers, which explains why this is a more expensive product. For the smaller angels we use a feather tuft. We recommend to check out CKI’s home page if you would like to read more about the ostrich industry in South Africa, including the controversies that always surround animal industrial production. www.capekarooint.com

Where do the rest of the materials used come from?

The wire used in the angels was originally manufactured in South Africa, the so-called EasiCoil wire. However, mostly due to the impact of the corona pandemic this wire is no longer produced. We now import all our wires from the UK.   Our glass beads are all imported from Preciosa, the famous glass bead producer in the Czech Republic. Our wool is from local farmers in Eastern Cape, and all the dying of the wool is done at a farm, also in Eastern Cape. The felting is done by the Karoo Angels crafters.

How is Karoo Angels organized?

Karoo Angels is a South African company, registered as a (Pty)Ltd. Kjersti Lie Holtar founded the company, but today the majority shareholders of the company are the members of the Admin Trio in Willowmore, i.e. the young team that run the business on an everyday purpose.  The purpose of the company is to facilitate and be the link between the crafters and the market. Karoo Angels (Pty) Ltd develops the angel ranges, facilitates orders and logistics, does marketing, develops and maintains production schedules, organizes the purchases of material – and last, but not least – Karoo Angels guarantees that the crafters get paid for all the angels they produce. The crafters themselves are organised via independent co-ops.

How are the crafters paid?

The most common way of payment in the craft sector in South Africa is per piece. From this follows that the more you make, the more you earn. Karoo Angels (Pty) Ltd, buys the angels made by Rietbron Craft and Vondeling Optel Craft. The two craft groups are separate legal entities, both organized as cooperatives. However, the two groups have chosen different ways of paying their members, which also reflects their production lines:
In Vondeling Optel Craft each crafter makes the entire angel, so the individual crafter is paid per angel made.  In Rietbron Craft they have adopted a different production line approach: Each crafter makes a component of each angel, In addition they often alternate between themselves who is doing what: One felts the head, one knits the wings, one makes the dress, one makes the halo, one assembles the different parts together, one puts on necklaces and other adornments, one puts on hanging threads, one do the packaging etc. Rietbron then shares the payment received equally between the crafters.

Now to what crafters are actually paid:
At our Annual Crafters Meeting, held in February every year, it is decided and agreed on the per piece price for the various angels for the coming year.  In addition to the per piece price, the crafters get a 10% bonus on top, plus access to a savings and interest-free loan scheme. The benchmark is to match the minimum wage per hour in South Africa by at least 50% more. As per 2024 the minimum wage per hour is by law R27,58, implying that the Karoo Angels crafters should earn between R40 – R50 per hour.

Since the demand for the angel is so big, why are the craft groups so small?

Both Vondeling Optel Craft and Rietbron Craft are independent craft groups, with their own distinct identity and ways of operation. It is easy for outsiders to think that it is just to add on more people to the craft group, to solve production capacity issues. The reality is that it is not that simple at all. The groups dynamics are so important and vital to the success of  Karoo Angels, and this is to be respected. It is quite remarkable that the two craft groups are very stable, consisting of more or less the same members as 15 years back… This is also an important contribution to why the quality of the angels are so good – the crafters are true Master Crafters. Besides this – more people will also mean more administration, and higher running costs. (We should all learn from Jesus: if you are more than 11 people in a group, you surely will have a constant staff problem….)

Can I visit the Angel Factory?

Of course, you are more than welcome to visit the Angel Factory! However, since it is quite a drive, and we do not want you to arrive at a moment where there might be no activities, (also angel makers have holidays etc…..) we strongly recommend that you contact us in advance.

Can I order my own special angel?

Although our angels seem to be popular all year around, they are first and foremost a seasonal product.The crafters start already in February to make angels, in order to build up stock to meet the demand for angels during the Christmas and Festive season, 10 months later. We rely on production schedules, with corresponding material supplies, and due to this we unfortunately cannot accommodate custom angels. But – we are always open to suggestions and ideas for new angels! And – you can in our webshop order your angel with a custom name tag, just for you!

I wish to buy Karoo Angels, but there is no shop near me

If you live in South Africa and want to buy Karoo Angels, we will of course try to assist you. Send us a WhatsApp message or email us.

I live outside South Africa and wish to buy Karoo Angels

Our webshop is open for international orders, as well – and at the moment we charge a flat rate shipping cost, a bit dependent on where in the world you live. The freight is actually not that expensive…. Alternatively you can contact us and we will let you know if there are any shops nearer to you that stock our angels.

I own a shop and wish to sell Karoo Angels

We would of course like to get in contact with you if you want to sell Karoo Angels in your shop! Please use the Contact Form under “Contact us”