First things first...Kelsey is an english van der Merwe. She grew up with three older brothers and is straight out of Benoni. She never considered herself a creative and had planned to be an accountant, just like her father had been. However, it only took two weeks at the University of Pretoria (UP) for her to realise that that was in fact not going to happen. She made a swift change to Tourism - for the love of travel - and in her final year realised that her second major was in fact her favourite: Marketing.
Whilst she had gained a fair amount of experience in the hospitality industry in her undergraduate years, she decided to do her Honours in Marketing Management after receiving a Postgraduate Bursary from UP. She worked for UP at the same time as a lecturer assist. Her Honours dissertation focused on Companion Animal Attachment and Guardian Behaviors and was published in the Journal of Human-Animal Studies (Society & Animals) in October 2016. In case you were wondering, yes people do spend a lot of money on their pets.
After graduating with her Honours, Kelsey began her job search only to receive a call from UP offering her a job as a research assistant. The prospect of writing and researching interested her as she had always loved education. She said yes to the opportunity and this is where her love for teaching really began to take shape. She was invited to do her Masters Degree (MCom) in Marketing Management and received another Postgraduate bursary. While working at the university, she was given the opportunity to lecture Marketing 1 for a semester and she jumped at the incredible opportunity. Whilst loving the educational space, Kelsey felt a pull to gain real, relevant experience in Marketing and made the move into industry during her second year where she was hired as a Marketing Manager.
In 2014, Kelsey made a drastic decision to quit her rather corporate job and to focus on finishing her Masters and finding a job that would not only challenge her but also bring her joy. It was then that she met Rebeca. She saw a post from an awesome new coffee shop in Centurion (of ALL places!) and they needed people to help with Marketing on a volunteer basis. She applied to help, had an interview and the rest is almost history. After bonding around their love for America, Kelsey and Rebeca embarked on a friendship. What unfolded from there was the most outrageous journey. Kelsey learnt to make coffee, do Marketing and Public Relations to make Vintage Coffee known. Whilst doing that she continued to lecture and freelance as a Marketing Consultant.
She completed her degree in 2015 and her Masters dissertation, which focused on The behavioural intentions of specialty coffee consumers in South Africa was published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies in February 2016.
Her years of experience as a Marketing Consultant included working with many different brands and companies and within an array of industries. Whilst consulting, she dabbled in simple and quick design tactics and different ways of bringing Marketing to life visually and in writing. She worked as part of the Marketing Team with Two Oceans Air Conditioning, Talent 10 Holdings, Nthibah Pictures and as the Marketing Coordinator on the Netflix original film i am All Girls. This gave her insight into the film industry and venture capitalists. It also gave her the opportunity to work across borders with a team across America and Australia.
In 2019 Kelsey co-founded Untamed Creative Society as a traditional social media agency and, along with Rebeca, has since grown it into a full service digital marketing company. Her years of experience in the marketing field have given her the ability to strategize and communicate clear direction for building brands. Kelsey takes big ideas apart and puts them into logical, easy to understand steps. She uses her skills to create and plan compelling content for our clients. She thrives in building relationships, problem solving, teaching and learning. She has a genuine love for coffee and will burst out into song or an accent at any given moment.
She is passionate about education and empowering the next generation of thought leaders. For this reason she continues to do guest lectures and teach on a part time basis. She has taught multiple marketing, brand and media related subjects at the University of Pretoria, Boston Media House, Inscape Education Group and Vega School.
To read Articles:
Society & Animals
Journal of Consumer Studies:
Rebeca is from the beautiful island of Florianopolis, which is just off the coast of Brazil. She grew up with sun, sand, sea and….music. She started playing instruments at the age of 3 and still stands by the fact that music is her first language. It’s how she expresses herself and the world around her. And this has continued throughout her life. Drums were her first found love, thereafter guitar and keys coupled in with vocals. She has played in some incredible spaces including the House of Blues in Sunset Blvd. She loves music and production.
Growing up, Rebeca found herself spending many hours in her parents coffee shop, which they still run and own today. She even owned her first coffee shop at the tender age of 17 - whilst still finishing school. At 19 she decided it was time for a BIG change and moved to South Africa to volunteer at a Babies Home. A bold decision which led to many exciting, new adventures. During that time she met and fell in love with her now husband Kevin, they started Vintage Coffee, opened multiple locations AND had two adorable children. She has been involved in the coffee industry since 2007 and in the ownership and running of the shops. This has given her insight into people, coffee and behaviour within the hospitality industry and beyond. Vintage Coffee was one of the Hospitality Counsel 2020 Luxe Restaurant Award-winners for Coffee Shop of The Year. Rebeca has also appeared on TV and Radio for her involvement in Vintage Coffee.
It was at this point that Rebeca realised she was an entrepreneur at heart. With a love for creative spaces and building creative teams, she started spending more time in these spaces. And these were the spaces that made her come alive. Thanks to her love for music and production and her experience in America, she found herself working to build creative teams within South Africa. Cue meeting Kelsey; who had decided to volunteer at Vintage Coffee to help with the Marketing of their first store. One simple lunch together and the two realised their mutual love for the USA. Out of this, Rebeca realised that together, they had a passion to create and an ability to transform visions and dreams into reality.
Rebeca had the idea: "what if we start a company that brings creatives alongside to create, dream and change our spheres to a better place". And so Untamed Creative Society was born and Rebeca began her digital creation adventure. She loves UX Architecture and developing new ways to make the user experience as flawless as possible.
With several years of work experience under her belt, Rebeca brings a wealth of creative experience to the team. She creates in every sphere she finds herself in and starts most sentences with “What if”. She thrives in a fast paced environment, loves problem solving and developing strategies for long term growth. She brings the ability to communicate creatively and genuinely (and even in multiple languages). Her years of experience in the creative field is seen in her forward thinking and drive to deliver creative and authentic projects that are excellent in every way. In case you were wondering she doesn’t speak brazilian, but is always the first to ask about food :)
Tinica joined Untamed Creative Society as an intern at the very beginning of our story. Much like Rebeca’s story, we have Vintage Coffee to thank for bringing Tinica into our story. Although she had originally planned to be a volunteer photographer at Vintage, Kelsey immediately recognised her potential and asked her to join Untamed’s intern team instead. Although a great loss Vintage, it was one of Untamed’s biggest gains.
Tinica was 17 when she joined the team and had only picked up her first camera in 2017, just one year prior to joining our team. She was shy and quiet but quick to learn and grow in our faced paced work environment. In order to develop her photography skills further and gain more experience within her field, she started shooting weddings, matric dances and couples. Within Untamed Creative Society, she had the opportunity to focus on product photography, studio shooting and design. She has learnt to tell stories visually through photography and design and has helped bring brands to life through their development.
She was given her first solo brand development brief in 2020 and excelled in bringing TinySmile to life.
She has a demonstrated history of working in the online media industry. Skilled in Photography, Lightroom, Adobe Illustrator, Social Media, and Graphic Design. She brings fresh insight and is extremely passionate about all things design.
She is now our leading visual artist developing mixed-media content including photography, graphic design, social media assets and print materials. She excels in developing brand identities that authentically reflect the look and feel of the brand itself. She empathises with her target audiences and understands the importance of creating with the target audience in mind. She excels at telling stories through her visual art. She can make great coffee and has the best Mexican accent of us all.