For more updates about the The BoF 500 subscribe to the Daily Digest newsletter

For more updates about the The BoF 500 subscribe to the Daily Digest newsletter

{alt missing}

Hanneli Rupert

Founder & Owner, Merchants on Long & Okapi

The South African businesswoman opened a concept store stocking ethically-produced African design, art and fashion, as well as her own handbag line.


South African retailer Hanneli Rupert’s chic, African concept store, Merchants on Long, houses a curated selection of luxury, hand-crafted products and designs sourced entirely from the African continent, as well as designs from her own ethical luxury handbag range Okapi. She has become one of the industry's most compelling advocates for ethical production and sourcing. 

Launched in Cape Town in 2010 to fill a void for boutiques selling African products, Rupert’s selected range of artisanal products such as organic perfume soaps by Tammy Frazer, accessories from Ethiopian brand LemLem and sneakers from Cameroon based SAWA, quickly gathered a cult following. In 2012 the young entrepreneur launched her first pop-up store in London based concept store The Shop at Bluebird.

A dedicated ethical fashion supporter, Rupert’s emphasis on sustainability and fair labour practices is reflected in the production of her handbag range. Launched in 2008, all elements of the bag are produced in South Africa and entirely traceable from source to end product. All brands stocked at Merchants on Long are vetted for their ethical and sustainable practices.

An active member of the global fashion community, Rupert spoke at the International Herald Tribune luxury conference in Rome on 'the Promise of Africa, and the Power of the Mediterranean" in 2012 and addressed the Women of West Africa Entrepreneurship conference in Lagos in 2013.

Prior to launching Okapi, Rupert worked as an event organiser at L'Ormarins Queens Plate, a sports venue located in Cape Town. The designer graduated from Wimbledon School of Art in 2007 with a bachelor's of arts honours degree.

Ms Rupert is the daughter of Richemont chairman Johann Rupert .


Merchants on Long

Merchants on Long


2008 - Present

South Africa

L'Ormarins Queens Plate

L'Ormarins Queens Plate

Vital Statistics


South Africa

South Africa
Member since

Similar Profiles

Hiroyuki Sasaki

Founder, Tomorrowland

Geoffroy van Raemdonck

Chief Executive, Neiman Marcus Group

Alex Eagle

Founder, Alex Eagle & Creative Director, The Store

Pete Nordstrom

Co-President, Nordstrom Inc.

What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.