Meet the Team

Meet the Team
Over the past few years we have been lucky enough to collaborate with some of South Africa's best creatives.

We have formed real connections and life long friendships through our business which we will always hold close. Without really intending to, we’ve sort of formed a better half family. A team that works so well together to bring all our creative visions to life. There is a very special feeling attached to capturing moments in time that speak a language of their own.
 
With the new season upon us, we thought we would take this opportunity to introduce our family members to you, so that you too can get a taste of what happens on set. 

I asked each person 4 questions, here is what they said:

Better Half founder, Sarah Byram is collector of pretty things and curator. She brings her day dreams to life for BH with her strong passion, work ethic and unbeatable aesthetic eye. She is a woman of many talents, carefully creative directing the BH business one step at a time. All of these traits are the reasons BH has gotten to where it is today and where it will continue to grow. 

Tell us a bit about your craft and how you got started?
S: Thrifting has always been something we’ve done. I grew up with my parents teaching me to buy second hand rather than new. My mom with fashion, my dad with everything else. I remember going with my mom to one of those “coat shops” from a young age and finding the coolest pieces that all my friends would want for themselves. I’ll never forget the day my dad came home with a retro popcorn machine. He had a big smile on his face and bought it for a bargain at our local cash crusaders. We made very good use of it for many years. I guess it’s safe to say the thrifting bug hit very early on in my life.  

What is your first/most memorable moment of shooting with BH?
S: I learn something new on every shoot for better half, and that for me is the ultimate goal. To constantly be learning and growing. We’ve worked with so many talented creatives and it’s always such a great feeling creating something close to your heart and then seeing how it translates on camera. It quite literally feels like magic. 

I would say one of my favourite shoots was last year, when we were still quite seriously locked down and we gathered a very small team to shoot a neighbourhood story here in Observatory. Kim modeled, conveniently living only one road away,  J’dee who was then my housemate took the photographs, I styled and Gareth did the make up. Our spirits were high and it was so wonderful to connect and create again after the initial lockdown. We had to get creative with locations and ended up on our rooftop at dusk, which made for the most dreamy of shots. The wardrobe that was used was a collection of pieces that have never made it into the store or onto the website. It’s pieces I have collected over many years and are too special to re-sell, so the intention is to launch BH RENTALS, which will be aimed at making these special pieces accessible for special occasions. 

What is your favourite item you have ever thrifted?
S: I have an extensive designer scarf collection, each piece sits beautifully in my wardrobe, and very seldom makes an appearance if i'm honest. Sometimes, if i'm in the mood, I put one on Humphrey (my dog) and he gets to sport one for the day, lucky dog. I find silk scarves, especially designer scarves one of the most exhilarating experiences when it comes to sourcing, not to mention one of the most rewarding.  

The plan is to one day gift this collection to my daughter (crossing fingers that I have one) Unfortunately my mother wasn’t very sentimental back then and when I look at her old photos I get so upset, because she had the most insane dress sense. I wouldn’t want my daughter to say the same thing. 

Sarah wrote about one of her favourite items she ever thrifted on our instagram not so long ago, read about it here

What is quote you live by?
S: There’s no one quote I choose to live by, but I think when it comes to business I always remind myself that the secret to success is to start before you are ready.  This has truly helped me within my business, just start, and grow organically. Troubleshoot when problems arise, learn from your mistakes first hand, deal with the growing pains as they come and enjoy the ride. Also, remember that dreaming is infact a form of planning, so never stop dreaming. 

When it comes to life, I always remind myself that kindness goes a long way. Spread love and be a nice human, it’s really quite simple. 

~

 

J'dee Allin is a long time friend of BH who has been shooting with us for many years. It is a huge blessing to have her sharp eye capturing our pieces. Fun fact, Sarah and J'dee met on a provincial hockey tour back in 2004 when they were 12. Their friendship has grown over the years from preteen sports days, living together and to creating together, year after year. 

We’re always proud to see J’dee talents grow from strength to strength - late 2019 J’dee had the privilege of shooting for Dior at the Miami Art Basel, read more about that here.

Tell us a bit about your craft and how you got started?
J: I’ve been taking photographs for as long as I can remember. My first introduction to photography was through my grandfather. I was always fascinated by his cameras and the medium. I first went to film school, and then after graduating I started assisting various fashion photographers both locally and internationally. Those years were an integral part of my photographic journey. Having assisted so many different photographers I picked up many skills and lessons along the way. I love to shoot both fashion and travel. I always aim to evoke a sense of serenity, stillness and femininity.

What is your first/most memorable moment of shooting with BH?
J: I have many memorable moments shooting for BH! It’s tricky to pick just one. During lockdown, we gathered a small team together and created a beautiful 70’s inspired shoot with Kim Davidson. With the Covid restrictions we had to think out the box. We decided to shoot in our neighbourhood and we created a beautiful story in Observatory! I find that sometimes your best work comes when working within creative constraints.

 What is your favourite item you have ever thrifted?
J: My maroon Doc Martens from BH!

 

~

Louise Steytler and Sarah had one of those instant sisterly connections. They met in 2012 and have been friends ever since. They work side by side on most of the BH shoots. Louise is not only our go-to stylist, but she is also Sarah’s sounding board when it comes to all her creative concepts.

We look at Louise with a lot of admiration and respect as a stylist but also someone who has been a guiding, mentor figure. It’s always great to have her on set as she has a gentle way of managing and imagining.

Tell us a bit about your craft and how you got started?
L: I’ve been a wardrobe stylist since 2013. One fateful night I met Crystal Birch and for those who know her you can imagine my life changed from that very moment and for the next 2/3 years it was “go go go”. From the first campaign where I spent the whole day cleaning the steamer bottle (not as easy as it sounds) till the end where I was cutting 30k wedding dresses on kitchen tables 5 minutes before shoot, I experienced so much and am super grateful for those times learning as much as I could. 

What is your first/most memorable moment of shooting with BH?
L: My first experience with Better Half is amazing. It was in 2014 or 15. I don’t know exactly when because I’m always years late when posting work - I don’t know why I do that. Myself, Sarah Byram, Gabriella Achadinah, Anya Bruwer and Eranne Hancke were on a rooftop in Cape Town and it was a beautiful day. I’m proud to look back at those absolute cuties. My most memorable is a mashup of shoot sleepovers, infinite garments, being Sarah’s work sister and watching her become a powerhouse. 

 

 

What is your favourite item you have ever thrifted?
L: Sarah’s grey,100% wool Ralph Lauren Collection trousers but anyone that knows my wardrobe knows that 80% of it is all thrifted or hand me downs so, difficult question!

What is quote you live by?
L: I don’t have a quote that I live by really but my mom always told me that to be good person we had to always be kind, to every single person. I guess I try do that everyday.

~



Gareth Coleman is a make up artist who we have admired for a long time, turned friend. As a core member of Mac Cosmetics, he always comes through with exciting new products ready to play and explore. It’s a pleasure working together because he loves all things cute and colourful but comes with a high level of professionalism and admirable work ethic. 

Tell us a bit about your craft and how you got started?
G: I'm an artist, I love to paint, and the face was just another canvas I could apply my art to. I don't like following any set rules regarding creativity and tend to paint outside of the lines.

What is your first/most memorable moment of shooting with BH? 
G: I have to say the incredible energy on set when I did the first one, was inspiring. It's always a creative team effort, and the team sure knows how to put looks together. I always come back for more, that in itself says everything.

What is your favourite item you have ever thrifted? 
G: My Calvin Klein dungarees from BH. My no. 1 most worn item during the colder months.

What is quote you live by?
G: Regarding makeup: don't take it too seriously, always have fun. 
With life: there's no such thing as perfection, there's beauty in the imperfect and vulnerability always wins. Don't be scared to show it.

We have recently connected with Avies Newton and have not stop shooting with him since. He is such a breeze to work with and makes everything look good - in all honesty we can’t find one bad photo of him. He travelled from Nigeria to pursue his modelling career and we are so grateful for it because we love having him as one of the key faces of BH.  

Tell us a bit about your craft and how you got started?
N: I am a 24 year old model, based in South Africa, but originally from Nigeria. I am signed to Twenty model management, Cape Town. At an early age, I never thought I’d be a model because music was always my passion. After I graduated I got scouted and I decided to follow a different path in life. I began my modeling career first here in SA.

I’ve always loved fashion, watching Fashion TV and shows like American Next Top Model which also gave me a great insight Into what fashion world is all about. So far I’ve walked various fashion weeks and shows and have been privileged to work with good designers and shot campaigns for both local and international brands.

What is your first/most memorable moment of shooting with BH?
N: Working with BH was very exciting and I’ve enjoyed every moment. Those memories will be cherished forever! The brand is very unique and the team is blessed, amazing and very welcoming. I would say the whole time on set was phenomenal and I’m lucky to have worked with them.

What is your favourite item you have ever thrifted?

N: I’ve always admired leather. I think it’s iconic and gothic and I just love it.. My favourite item would be the leather Nina Ricci jacket I got from BH. I still rock very often- it’s funky and stylish. 

What is quote you live by?
N: You only live once, so live right!

 

We have shot with Kimberley Davidson many times but she never ceases to bring wonder to our BH pieces. Aside from the dreaminess which she brings to our images, she is also studying a to become a CA and we love her quirky sense of humour. 

Tell us a bit about your craft and how you got started?
K: I started modelling when I was 16, I got scouted in a shopping mall by the owner of Boss Models.

What is your first/most memorable moment of shooting with BH?
K: My most memorable moment was shooting on the roof of Sarah’s house in Obz at sunset in a vintage nightie! The pictures came out so beautiful so it was worth it! 

What is your favourite item you have ever thrifted?
K: My favourite (and most worn) is probably vintage Levi’s that I got from Better Half. They fit me perfectly and I find it so difficult to find jeans that look good on me since I’m so tall and lanky.

What is quote you live by?
K: I don’t really have a particular quote but I do like to apply the “here for a good time, not for a long time” perspective on life. If Covid has taught me anything it’s that life can change so quickly so it’s important to make the best out of every situation and never take anything for granted because things can change in an instant.

 ~

 

We’ve shared many fun adventures with Ella Jayne Bailey over the past few years. Our first shoot, back in 2016, was one of our favourite shoots we’ve ever done. We drove out to Wellington and shot with Kent Andreasen and Kristi Vlok.


Ella has a calming and care free energy that is contagious and we can’t imagine not having her around (word has it she has some travel plans in the pipeline)

Tell us a bit about your craft and how you got started?
E: As I see it modeling is all about flexibility and learning to roll with the punches. It’s really taught me to take big leaps of faith and run with an opportunity and really opened up my world to experiences and travel I would have never been able to do outside of modeling so for that I’m so grateful. I was scouted at a mall at 14 and took a couple of years to think about it before a friend started when I was 16 and gave me a push to give it a shot, I’ve been working since.

What is your first/most memorable moment of shooting with BH?
E: Every shoot with BH is memorable to me. It’s such a gift to be able to work with local creatives and talent and grow as artists together.

What is your favourite item you have ever thrifted?
E: That’s a hard one! Thrifting is such an art to me. There’s always a sense of satisfaction in finding a truly original item but if I had to choose one it would be a pair of white Levi’s 501’s that I found in an underground thrift store in Berlin - they’re a constant in my wardrobe.

What is quote you live by?
E: I don’t really have a specific quote I live by but I truly value living my life with autonomy.
 

 

~

We've put together a video of our day on set which you can watch here

 

Written, with love by Larah. 

 

 

 




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