An adoration for cats & plants and the eternal need to travel: Meet Tessa from Frolik

Frolik is a pin, print and stationery store born from a passion for beautiful design and a love of putting beautiful things out in the world and having people love them in return. 

We met up with the owner, Tessa Kleingeld, who works as a senior freelance packaging designer by day and by night she works on new ideas for pins, prints and stationery in her cosy home studio in Cape Town, South Africa. 

Tessa Kleingeld from Frolik

Can you tell us about yourself and what you're working on?

Hi! I’m Tessa, a 35-year-old graphic designer with a deep adoration for cats, an obsession with plants and the eternal need to travel. I spend most of my time in my home studio in the beautiful city of Cape Town, where I work on packaging design for the wine industry and pretty design goods for Frolik.

Currently I am busy working on some beer labels as well as new personal project that will focus even more on the things that I love.

What is your background?

I have always been a creative kid so there was no surprise when I decided that Graphic Design would be my career of choice - although for many years I had the dream of becoming a travel photographer for National Geographic. I graduated from AAA School of advertising in 2005 and spent some years working in several boutique design studios in Cape Town.

My world was rocked with the news that I had breast cancer and that changed everything for me.

In 2011 my world was rocked with the news that I had breast cancer and that changed everything for me. I was 28 and felt like I was working myself to death for someone else and I knew that this was a turning point in my life. It was time that I started living the life that I wanted, so a year later, post-surgery and treatment, I decided to start my own business and Frolik was born.

Frolik Stand

Since then I have been focusing mainly on what I love: packaging design for anything from wine to cosmetics and of course my ultimate love-job: making cool things to sell to cool people. I am currently 7 years in remission and going strong.

If you could be anyone in the designer world for a day, who would you pick and why?

Stefan Sagmeister from Sagmeister & Walsh. He has managed to create a career in design that balances personal fulfilment with great professional achievement and his ideas change the way the world thinks. I would kill to be in his head for a day and learn how he does it.

Stefan Sagmeister

Where do you usually work from? What's your ideal setup?

I work from my home studio, which is usually covered in a flurry of papers, tools, shipping labels, glue-guns and cats.

Cat Lady Pin by Frolik

My ideal set-up would be a loft-like space with a view of a forest, huge windows and loads of light. It would have enough space for a Heidelberg Windmill, a screen-printing studio, laser cutter, CNC Router and a 3D printer. Basically, I would like to have everything I need to make anything I want. And lots of cats and plants of course.

What was the last product you saw that surprised you?

I saw a video a while back of these headphones that send electrical impulses into your brain while you do exercise or learn something new and it accelerated the rate of learning. It exponentially increased the person’s capacity to remember what they had learnt.

Halo Neuro Headphones

Having what I like to call, a ‘gold-fish’ brain, this obviously excited me very much. It just seemed like it had infinite potential.

When you're running low on motivation, what do you do to pick yourself up?

The only way for me to get out of a creative rut is to break my routine. I’ll go for a walk on the beach or have lunch on the mountain overlooking our beautiful coastline. Nature always inspires me. I also find that closing my laptop and going old-school with pencil and paper can also do the trick. Sometimes you need to kick-start your brain and no better way than to go back to where your creativity started.

Frolik Pins

If money were no object, what would you do with your time?

I would travel the world every opportunity I could get. I would also love to get involved in projects that improve the lives of people and animals everywhere.

Tell us the story behind your latest product. Why did you make it?

My latest product is a pin I made for a gallery show named The Fear. I named the pin Hollow Girl and the idea plays on one of my biggest fears: of being an impostor. It is something that affects a lot of creative people who feel like frauds every day and I wanted to make something that would remind them that they aren’t alone and that they are worthy of success, praise, love and appreciation.

Frolik Pin

What's the best careers advice you've ever received?

Never be afraid to admit that you don’t know and ask for help. Also that failure is the best teacher.

  • Browse the Frolik collection