FOUNDERS FOCUS: Jim Brett, Future Found Sanctuary
Hailing from South Africa and having worked in the travel industry for over 20 years, Monique relaunched Luxuriant World with a focus on raising awareness around sustainability and the importance of supporting local communities with the hospitality industry. The importance of both has been a passion of hers for many years and long before sustainability became such a hot topic, and greenwashing became so common.
Tourism, especially to Southern Africa, was been extremely hard hit by loss of visitors notably from it's former primary markets and so there is a focus to highlight authentic, high-end hotels and accommodations and help to inspire travellers to not only travel again but to do so thoughtfully and consciously.
In the hope of sharing Jim’s story a wider audience will be brought to to Future Found Sanctuary and the South African sustainable hospitality community.
Future Found Sanctuary was formed by brand builder, retail and design industry leader Jim Brett, who over the course of his thirty-year career, has consistently influenced forward-looking programs that have set new industry standards.
The barefoot luxury, elemental design and selections of local art that fill the villas and gardens are all part of this home design guru’s intention for guests to slow down and align with the rhythms of nature. “Living in connection with nature is the foundation of many ancient wisdoms – it is encoded in our DNA. I believe this ancient wisdom is our future found."
Thank you Jim, for your time and for being a part of my Founders Focus interview features.
Jim, throughout your career, you have travelled extensively around the world, yet you describe how South Africa and Cape Town was like nowhere else you’d seen before. What is it about Cape Town that has impacted you profoundly and so instantly? Despite a complicated past, there is a singularity about this place and its people- an unusual connection between the rhythm of nature and the flow of life. The natural beauty – the way the wind interacts with the sun and the mountains, including the fynbos and that you can feel the energy of it being one of the most biodiverse places on earth. There is just something so magical about it.
You speak of the nature surrounding Maison Noir – the immersion in nature, the awakening of senses, the sense of new possibilities, the calmness. Has the closeness to nature and the environment always been important to you or do you feel that this was awakened here? I became more aware of it here. I noticed I felt better surrounded by the elements, and became dependant on it.
The importance and value of nature on our body and mind has been magnified during the Covid pandemic. Was it your intention from the conception of Future Found that well-being or ‘whole-being’ experiences be a core element of the guest experience?
It was the land and the nature that inspired us to create a deeper sanctuary experience based on a philosophy of wholeness. We knew Covid would accelerate a desire to live in a new way – one that was more focused on being integrated into our environments, that was more sustainable for ourselves and the planet and one that was more in-line with our true nature.
Your first trip to south Africa was with what is we now know as Anthropologie Home and you have instrumentally led well regarded companies in the home décor space. How did this influence your design and character creation Future Found Sanctuary?
We brought in the new aesthetics of natural, textural and elemental. Our colors which are inspired by nature are vibrant yet sophisticated. Our spaces are filled with natural light and mountain vistas and the works of African artists, ceramicists, crafts people and photographers. We have created barefoot luxury by imbuing dimensionality and use of texture.
South Africa has had a complex past and remains to face challenges especially in providing opportunity for its people. Does this impact your desire to support the local community? And if so, what initiatives and community engagement is available for guests of Future Found Sanctuary.
Yes, we have worked on creating and providing guests with a regenerative hospitality experience, one that inspires our guests to live in a way that is more guided by nature’s principles.
If we take the example of the food cycle-
We aim to source ingredients from farmers whose practices build a healthy ecosystem for plants, animals, and humans. These regenerative practices guide how we maintain our land, composting for our garden to grow nutrient-dense and delicious fruits and vegetables and maintaining communities of bees to help our local biodiversity to flourish. When we source meat and fish we work with ethical, sustainable producers such as Farmer Angus and Abalobi to ensure we are consuming with the dual intention of restoring the natural ecosystem and supporting small scale producers.
An analogous example is supporting indigenous artisans in our decor and our shop.
Why was being a part of Regenerative Travel important to you?
I think that it’s important that we not only plant seeds that serve us today, but we need to promote and propagate a better way for tomorrow. Sustainability is not enough as it is still extractive, we need to start practicing and imagining something better – something more circular and reciprocal for a longer term solution. The wonderful community of Regenerative Travel is truly committed to a vision and happy to share ideas and solve problems.
And finally, what are your hopes and aspirations for the future of travel?
I hope for travel to truly become more of a reciprocal and less extractive relationship among the traveler and the environment /community that the traveler visits.