Where contemporary textile design meets traditional weaving.
At Mungo we’re humanists, not industrialists – we put people, their visions and livelihoods at the heart of what we do.
And what we do is create heirloom-quality woven goods.
Our Story Begins With Just Two Old Looms
In 1998, Master Weaver Stuart Holding came into possession of two restored antique looms. He used these looms to weave limited runs of beautiful homeware textiles from what he called his ‘working weaving museum’ – an old barn where passersby could watch him work. He sold the resulting small textiles in his wife, Janet’s, shop. Soon demand outstripped supply and Mungo expanded production to a mill housed in an old dairy building a few kilometres away. Years later, things have changed; we have left the cows behind, moved to our very own mill and opened four stores in South Africa. Our one-man team has grown to a family of over 80, and alongside our South African/global site, we now have websites based in the USA and the EU. Although we are growing, our foundational values remain the same – to produce beautifully designed homeware textiles, woven with care for our community and the environment.
In 2017 the Mungo team fulfilled a long cherished dream; building our own mill on the grounds of Old Nick Village, near Stuart’s original barn, and next door to our flagship store. The Mungo Mill is a testament to our philosophy of transparency in the production process, with the entire mill open to the public. You can read more about the mill and how we make our fabric here. And those two old looms? Still going strong.
Pursuant to our sustainability objectives, in 2020 we underwent an audit for Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification. We are now South Africa’s first GOTS-certified textile weaving mill.
Throughout the world, textile manufacturing has become solely driven by the bottom line. This means inferior yarn quality, less pay for workers and compromised working conditions. At Mungo we defy the status quo and endeavour to help shape and uphold the standards of sustainable production in a non-industrial environment. We challenge the idea that value is a product of price. We don’t compromise on production methods or cost of raw materials when it comes to producing a quality product.
We believe strongly that what we create, and the manner in which we create it, will filter down to the end user and help to improve the world we live in. We’re using the art of weaving in a contemporary manner to create quality products for people to treasure. Ethical trading and integrity underpins our philosophy, and we are particular about sourcing quality natural fibres. Our fabrics are constructed to stand the test of time – we believe in creating textiles that are made to last and not destined for landfill.
As a part of our sustainability, transparency and traceability objective, we hope that when people understand where something comes from and how it is made, they will value it more, and in turn this can help encourage conscious purchasing decisions.
In 2018 Mungo began putting the wheels in motion for our very own CSR programme.
The Mungo MOVE CSR programme is our commitment to giving back to our community.
From the start of the new financial year in March 2019, Mungo began putting 1% of its annual turnover towards projects and initiatives that seek to benefit and empower the Plettenberg Bay area in which our mill and entire production process is based.
Inspired by the international B-Corp certification, awarded to companies who meet defined criteria for their positive social and environmental impact and full public transparency, Mungo is hoping to join the growing number of businesses who are actively seeking to benefit the people and places on which their success depends.
It is the strong belief of Mungo, and of companies like these, that they have a symbiotic relationship with the environment in which they operate. We recognise that it is our responsibility to actively give back to those who enable us to function and flourish, and not to take anything for granted. So instead of a ‘business as usual’ approach driven purely by profit, the MOVE programme places equal emphasis on a triple bottom line of three P’s: people, planet and profit.
The Mungo Team:
Mungo’s mission is to provide a product of exceptional quality and beauty, while providing employment and skills development to the local community. This is something we strive to do in a non-industrial environment.
We are a team of over 80 people, which spans from our design team, weaving and production, to admin, marketing and our stores. To do the things we do and in the way that we do them, each person is just as integral in their role as the next. The skills that individuals brought with them to Mungo come from a variety of backgrounds. Many of the weavers have been trained from scratch, and have worked their way up from apprentices to full-fledged machine operators. A handful of our team were trained by Stuart at his previous factory, close to 30 years ago – an investment of skills that we value immensely today. Seamstresses have either gained their trade through tertiary education or the craft was handed down through their parents.
Together we are working to not only create a great product, but also opportunities in skills and job creation, social responsibility and an impact on our local economy – all in an authentic and meaningful way.