I am super excited about this business – especially coz a special friend is expecting her rainbow baby, & I have been on the hunt for special gift ideas. When I saw all of these creations, I was drawn into a deep, dark rabbit hole & went back to the very beginning of their social media posts – & there was nothing that I didn’t like!
I always prefer to buy baby shower gifts from small businesses & find that which you can’t get from any store at the mall – I have been surprised too often with gifting exactly the same outfit/item as someone else…
Your name: Michelle Goosen
Business name: Mayalief
Tell me a bit more about your business: Mayalief started about 3 years ago. I just had my firstborn Maya and another startup function venue has come to a halt after I had already quit my job as a chef. I decided to be a stay-at-home-mom, but while doing so using some crafts to bring in a income. We (then my sis was still here, she helped me a bunch with design work and moral/physical support, she is now in NZ but she is still a very important part when it comes to the paperstock and the completion of design work) started at markets and on Facebook with fabric decor/dolls, within the first year we connected with larger markets eg: Flair and Tierlantynkies. We where also asked to collab with bloggers and other makers and soon things just started moving very fast. There was a large gap in our local market for scripture pieces and more importantly Modern Afrikaans goodies, and once word got out we just grew and grew. Ideas kept on rolling in- some we have let go of eg. our speel-leer goodies and other we are now known for eg. journals and scripture blankets. We have probably been online for just over two years now. I would never imagined this little ‘craft’ to become such a absolute dream project.
Where did the idea to start this business come from: My sister in-law dragged me to a baby market in-search for some inspiration. Most of the morning all she told me was ‘you can totally make this stuff’ and I guess that stuck. I started instagramming and came across some amazing handmade dolls that I had a go at. Monochrome nurseries just started getting all the hype and I used and old hobby – screenprinting to start making scatters, duvet sets etc. Throughout the journey I was inspired by international makers, beautiful minimalistic products that our market needed and also Afrikaans people wanted in their mother tongue.
What makes your baby/pregnancy journals stand out: Our journals are very different from the universal books you can buy in store. They are minimalistic with a black and white design. They also do not have and pictures of other random babies in and also no drawing of little bunnies or animals. Obvs they also come in English and Afrikaans.
After bringing out a classic journal we have received numerous requests for journals suitable for a variety of family structures and dynamics. In response, we have designed our Minimalistic Square Baby Journal. With no references to pregnancy, baby’s birth story, titles such as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’, pronouns such as ‘us’ or ‘we’, or religious holidays – this baby journal is suitable for most, if not all, modern day families.
Our pregnancy journal is very dear to me. My sister and I put a lot of work and planning into this one. This journal is almost like a 40 week diary touching a bunch of subjects that an expecting mother might find intimidating but needs to think and work through.
Why do you encourage people to support local:
There is a lot of love and talent in SA, other makers that also strive to bring you the best. When we support (this can be anything- a sale, a like, a comment, an idea, a collab) local you encourage a maker to become more and do more and be better. Keeping local means you build their business, you add to their families needs, you find shortcoming in the local market to build on or bring to attention, share ideas and suppliers with fellow makers you get to meet at markets and through sharing you build more small businesses and local families up.
It’s not just about a sale, its about being a part of a small sustainable community. I really do believe that we rise by lifting others. Giving meaning and purpose to someone else’s creation can make you feel good and whole. Knowing that, I as maker and you as a client, contributed to the small act of making someone else’s day should be the essence of community. Isn’t it so fulfilling to find another person with the same leather sandals as you that you both bought at this small weird looking shop by the same person who made them with his hands. Already you feel connected with each other only because you know the same person who told you the same detailed story about how he makes them, you both met his great dane and was offered coffee from the same cup and you contributed with your own sale to his big dream in that weird looking shop. This is life, small connections that can only be obtained through intertwined communities, small businesses and supporting local.
Why do you think your creations would make special baby shower/birthday gifts: The journals speak for themselves and I often get mails with mamas having them very high on their wishlist.
The other goodies are very unique like the blankets, some pieces are not just a scriptures but poetic words that often bring people to swallow away a ‘knop in die keel’ at markets. Other items are hand embroidered making each one unique.
Another part that of Mayalief that makes us stand out is that just about everything can be personalised, making a blanket or a baby cover not just a tool but also a keepsake.
What are your favorite products: Gosh… probably the bunnies, cause I hand embroider them I leave that special touch on them, but that really goes for anything, cause I also screen print everything by hand and there is no feeling like lifting a frame to a perfect print. Then again the personalised drawing are very unique to me too, and I love getting photos and working towards the final simple posters… Sorry there really isn’t just one answer, if you give me enough time I’ll tell you a special detail of every product hence the reason it is still part of Mayalief.
Do you do custom products: I personalise a bunch of goodies. Custom orders I can do, but it is not something I advertise as people do not always understand the financial impact something like this makes one a product and a business. Then often people decide to rather opt for an existing product of scripture piece.
Quote you live by: I’m inspired by a bunch of quotes and saying. But I suppose this can sum up life for me : LIVE LOVE
What do you guys think of these gorgeous products?
And to the mums out there, do you wish something like this had been around when you were pregnant or your kids were little?
I can’t decide what I should get my friend, so would really appreciate your input & advice!
Thank you so much Michelle for your love, passion, & absolute zest for life! It was a joy getting to know you better & I can’t wait to spoil my friends with goodies from Mayalief.