Our favourite features are those that inspire! To see others not only dreaming up great ideas and initiatives, but actively going out and DOING. See-Saw-Do is one such company.
Headed by a young husband and wife team, Jeremy and Xanele Puren, this company embodies what South African companies should be – morally conscious. They do amazing work in providing children with environments that are conducive to learning! Xanele was so nice to tell us more …
Tell us about See-Saw-Do.
See-Saw-Do is a design studio and a team-building/events company that specialises in designing and upgrading environments where children live, learn and play. Our scope of work includes child accessories, mural painting, classroom upgrades, playground equipment design and the facilitation of corporate volunteer events.
How did this project come to life?
See-Saw-Do was born out of my final year studying Visual Communication Design at Stellenbosch University. Our brief was “design to make a difference” and I decided to focus my energy and creativity on designing for children. I ended up seeing a great need for beautification at local Early childhood development [ECD] centres as well as a need for educational books. During 2010 I designed 3 English/Xhosa work/image picture books and three relevant themed murals. I entered this idea for the “Sappi Ideas that Matter” competition and won a grant that funded printing 2000 of my books and running costs to re-paint more ECD centres. This grant gave me the confidence to pursue See-Saw-Do post graduation. My husband, Jeremy, (who played a big role in the entire process up to this point) also decided to devote 100% of his time to make this initiative a success. See-Saw-Do has been running for 4 years.
See-Saw-Do has developed into a company that re-imagines and designs beautiful, functional and relevant child environments.
What do you feel has been your biggest achievement/most memorable moment since starting this journey?
When we made the shift from focusing solely on mural painting to include spatial makeovers and upgrades we were commissioned by VPUU (violence prevention through urban upgrading) to re-design the interior of an old vintage bus. The brief was to turn the bus into a child-friendly mobile resource centre. This project was a true landmark in See-Saw-Do’s history. It’s still one of my favourite projects to date.
Another memorable moment happened when we just started out and painting the first Early Learning Centre in Stellenbosch. We designed Siyakhula Educare’s mural based on a Xhosa nursery rhyme the kids sing at the school. We then painted the murals with a group of friends on a Saturday. The principle told us that when the kids arrived at school on the Monday, they collectively started to sing the nursery rhyme! Children are the best!
What has turned out to be your biggest challenges?
We both come from a creative background and we “fell into” a business with no knowledge of what it takes to actually run a business. We’ve had to learn from experience. Thankfully, we’ve also had some great mentors along the way who helped us a great deal. It’s been an eventful journey and at this stage our biggest challenge is creating systems to scale our business. We’ve reached tipping point where scalability is crucial for See-Saw-Do to be able expand our scope to achieve a greater impact in the communities, spaces and people we work .