Meet the Maker: Zeal Living
Zeal Living is a Denver-based home goods company that sells modern, inspired goods with African Soul. Originally from South Africa, the founder Caitlin grew up surrounded by African innovation and creativity. She started Zeal Living as a way to connect you to Africa’s most incredible artisans, designers and makers.
Q: At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Caitlin: I never entertained the idea of a non-creative life. As an extraordinarily visual and right-brained kid, I could not envision a life for myself that did not include following some sort of creative path. I'm told that I started answering adults who asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up with, "I want to be an artist and travel the world," at age four.
Q: Do you have a favorite coffee/tea spot?
Caitlin: Near me, my favorite is Two Rivers in Arvada. Its got a great vibe. My personal favorite cup of coffee in Denver is Huckleberry Roasters though - so good!
Q: Where did you grow up?
Caitlin: I grew up in the suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa. I go back 4-5 generations on each side of my family. My family emigrated to the U.S. in 1994, when apartheid South Africa was toppling. Though we are a family adamantly opposed to the evil of apartheid - we had no way of knowing that the country would not dissolve into chaos after the system was dismantled. The decision to move was made years prior to Mandela's release from prison and historic election. I am proud to have lived through that time and be just old enough to remember what the energy of that day was like. I am also very grateful to have had the opportunity to grow up in the freedom and opportunity available to me as a naturalized American citizen.
Q: Did you learn the business yourself or have a mentor?
Caitlin: My business mentor is my father, Johnny. He was a world class runner in South Africa before I was born, and after he retired from racing he opened running shoe stores. The first ones opened when I was a toddler, and a few years after we arrived in Colorado he opened Boulder Running Company with his business partner. He built up the business for 18 years, ultimately opening four stores in the state before selling and retiring. I worked in our Boulder store for 10 years, learning all the ins and outs of customer service driven retail and online retail. As you can imagine, his experience and mentorship has been absolutely vital to my ability to confidently start my own online retail business.
Q: What album/song are you currently listening to?
Caitlin: So many! Lately I'm really loving Yumi Zouma's album Willowbank to work to. Its got just the right energy.
Q: It's the weekend. What do you see yourself doing?
Caitlin: Weekends are full of the outdoors for me! Most often I'm going for a long run, an interesting hike, or a climbing session. Denver has so much going on, and I love checking out new events and festivals as well. Occasionally I'm working a pop-up market with Zeal, or taking it really easy and reading in a coffee shop.