Home People Personalities Chalk of the town

Chalk of the town

If you’re into arts and crafts, do-it-yourself projects, or home décor, you know about chalk paint. And this paint’s popularity is spreading like a wildfire. We chatted to chalk paint guru Nadine Vosloo, aka Mama Tjhoko, about her never-ending quest to find treasures to chalk paint.

Many of you know Nadine Vosloo as the fearless DIYer who loves to transform almost anything you can think of with a lick of Tjhoko Paint. You’ll have seen her on DStv’s The Home Channel and more recently on Doodgewone Jo on VIA, where she and singer Jo Black tackle various DIY projects, from creating a washed look wall to painting a braai to giving an old fridge an incredible makeover.

But what you might not know is that growing up, this creative director of Tjhoko Paint vowed that she would never paint!

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‘My mom is really the most creative person I know. If she ever gets her hands on a tin of paint, she paints everything. The flower pots, the gutters … everything. On our way home from school, my brother and I would walk past our house, not recognising! Oh, I so often said that I would never paint because of this. Yet, here I am today, painting pretty much anything I can lay my hands on.’

She has, however, always had a very creative streak. ‘I did an interior design course, but then decided to study something professional. So I completed my degree in psychology … to understand my husband better. That didn’t work, haha, so I tried being a stay-at-home mom and later ended up doing my degree and honours in education. Gosh, and did I live out my creativity in the classroom. I loved every single moment of it, maybe too much some days.

‘Five years down the line and my husband, Jaco, asked me to join the family business and assist with marketing events. We have a paint factory that manufactures a household brand. I immediately saw it as an opportunity to bring my personal dream and goal to life … to bring change, create job opportunities and empower, especially women.

I firmly believe that money can’t buy happiness,
but it can buy paint

‘Friends planted the seed of chalk paint, but a no-fuss version. And my picture brain started working overtime. I imagined a unique paint, proudly South African, from the name to the packaging. A paint that tells a story. And most importantly, one that would give the opportunity to create more work.

‘I proposed a business plan – a very informal one – driven by passion and emotional drive. But not so well thought out and planned. The script was clear … a chalk paint that grips, that is extremely versatile. A product that helps people to beautify their homes, without leaving a chalky residue. A paint which needs no water to be added. In short, a smooth
chalk-based paint.’

And she’s done just that. After more than 200 test batches and plenty of lab tests, Tjhoko (Sotho word for chalk) was formulated. Nadine started out with just one woman helping her out. ‘Olivia Sebela is a gentle, sincere and true pillar. She assisted me with the packaging on one table. Yes, we only had one table available at that time. Fast forward a few years, and Olivia has worked her way up in the administrative office as part of the creditors’ team. And I’m proud to say that we now have a team of 62 members.’

And of those 62 members, some have paint named after them. In fact, most of the Tjhoko colours are named after the people who work there. Character traits, personalities and alliterations with names were taken into consideration when they named the chalk paint … so you’ll find Godfrey’s Glimpse, Olivia’s Pale, Laughing Lee and Eye of Elsie. Such fun. And it makes members of the team feel special.

Nadine recalls when a client was visiting from Mauritius, and she asked the staff to pack up a sample box for him to take home. ‘Precious was first with a jar of Precious, next Petunia, then Godfrey added Godfrey’s Glimpse. The jam-packed box was sealed, the client driving off, and suddenly our head tinter, Comfort, came sprinting down the road shouting ‘Sorry sir, Comfort is not in the box yet.’ Needless to say, everyone had a good chuckle.’
The latest venture is Nadine’s Tjhoko book, due to be launched in December. There’ll be step by step guides, DIY tips and tricks, and so much more. It’s well thought out, and well-timed … due to more people spending time at home and trying their hands at DIY projects.

‘DIY is a cost-effective way to zoosh up your home. It is also rewarding and therapeutic. To create something is meditative and reduces stress. You completely forget about all the noise around you. Because you are focused and both mentally and physically involved with your project. A lot of creative thinking, problem-solving, planning and organising is happening. And the reward is sweet, something to be proud of.’

‘If there is one thing I firmly believe, it is that money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy paint,’ she laughs.

Don’t miss Nadine in action on Doodgewone Jo, VIA (DStv channel 147) every Tuesday at 8:30pm and the repeat on Fridays at 7:30pm.

Text: RIALIEN FURSTENBERG. • Photographer: HILDA MANS. • Make-up & hair: ANTOINETTE DE BEER

Click here for a DIY: Textured and stencilled cheeseboard … Plus you can win everything you need to tackle the project!

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