Our Team

As producers and purveyors of handmade South African jewellery pieces, each member of our team plays an integral role in ensuring that each client leaves our shop happier (and significantly more sparkly) than they arrived. Meet the team that makes the magic happen:

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Jackie Hahn

Head Designer & Managing Director

Jackie graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BA Hons degree in Jewellery Design and Manufacturing. During her studies, she won third place in the student category of a prestigious Anglo Plat design competition for a beautiful piece that is now proudly displayed in our shop. Following a five-month internship at a jewellery company in Germany in 2011 (where she got to reconnect with her German roots and pick up some key German phrases), she returned to South Africa to start her own handmade silver jewellery line before joining Penchant Design as Production Manager in April 2014. In March 2016, when the time came for the founders and previous owners of Penchant Design to pass the baton, Jackie was a natural fit, and she flourished the second she stepped into her new role.

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Erich Hahn

Photographer, Designer & All-rounder

Jackie’s brother Erich studied photography and graphic design at Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography, and has such an eye for photography that we often joke that he was born with a camera in his hands. Erich is in charge of managing our online shop, styling and photographing our lovely custom jewellery, graphic design, copywriting, general maintenance and just about everything else that needs a man’s touch… Essentially, he is the glue that keeps our entire operation together, whether it’s with his camera, his computer or just his clever way of doing things.

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Laurent Mubenga

Senior Goldsmith

Hailing from the DRC, francophone Laurent is a perfect fit for our team and the Franschhoek valley. Laurent joined Penchant Design after obtaining a 4-year degree in Jewellery Manufacturing from CPUT, where he subsequently also lectured. His superb craftsmanship and extensive knowledge make Laurent an invaluable asset to the business and everything that leaves his desk is of the highest quality. This talented goldsmith has a fine sense of proportion and an eye for detail and quality, and his impressive repertoire also extends to include setting.

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Melinda Lewis

Production & Administrative Assistant

Melinda is incredibly organised and extremely efficient, juggling many balls at once and miraculously managing to get everything done. She’s also a massive jewellery and gemstone fan, so when she’s done making the impossible happen, she likes to lend a helping hand around the shop. If you’re lucky enough to find her in this environment, stay around, strike up a conversation and she might just spoil you with a cup of coffee while she shares her wisdom.

Gretchen van Vuuren

Floor Manager and Sales Consultant

As the lovely lady in charge of running and beautifying the Penchant Design shop and sales floor, Gretchen uses her iron, or rather platinum, fist to make sure everything (and everyone) is running smoothly. This includes making sure our shop is tidy, updating the store displays, and merchandising all our pieces so they are presented in the best possible way. Gretchen is a real team player and uses her innate problem-solving abilities to help the management team keep their heads on straight.

Retanya Richards

Sales Consultant

Retanya (or Tanya, as she prefers to be called), is a real people’s person, whose bubbly personality always brightens the day for co-workers and clients alike. In addition to being an absolute treat to work with, she is very knowledgeable about gemstones and is happy to jump in and help out with everything from inventory, merchandising, sales and special orders to sourcing stones or items from suppliers.

Sheryl-Lee Johnson

Part-time

Another friendly face in our shop, albeit in a temporary capacity for now, Sheryl-Lee helps us out a few times a month, whenever and wherever an extra pair hands is needed. As the youngest member of our team, Sheryl-Lee is still new to the industry and just starting to learn about gemstones and jewellery, but what she lacks in experience, she more than makes up for in enthusiasm.