The homewares brand Mo’s Crib is well known in South Africa. Now available from U.S. retailers, it’s finding a whole new audience.
If you’ve stayed at the Silo Hotel in Cape Town or a Singita Lodge elsewhere in South Africa, you may have seen elegant woven baskets tucked discreetly under a sink or by a bedside. These are the work of Mo and Michelle Mokone, the sisters behind the Pretoria-based decor company Mo’s Crib.
This innovation paid off: the sisters won the market’s best new product award, which led to the launch of Mo’s Crib in 2016. Today, their laundry and storage baskets, place mats, trays, plant pots, and wall art — some of which are made from natural fibers like the sisal plant — are found in major retail stores around South Africa and online. In 2021, they began distributing in the United States through Crate & Barrel and, this past January, at Target.
Some designs, like the “spark orange” baskets, are a celebration of South Africa’s vibrant visual culture, Mo says. In contrast, the sisters’ signature black-and-white line — which they say represents different races coming together—is inspired by Ubuntu, a humanist concept that translates to “I am because you are.”
In September, the sisters will debut a new basket made from banana-tree bark at Crate & Barrel. But their ambitions don’t stop there. “We would really like to have our own retail stores,” Michelle says. “I want to one day look back and say, ‘This was a dream, and now it’s here.’ ”
A version of this story first appeared in the September 2023 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline "A Tisket, A Tasket."
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