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Eleven2 Skin Care

Discovering proudly South African skincare is something I am always on the hunt for.  I want to find skincare products that are made with love, passion, and are there to truly make a difference.  I want to find products that are created for South African skins, for our weather, and that aren’t just full of chemicals to get absorbed into our skin.  And to be fair, I also don’t want to be spending an exorbitant amount on skincare products – especially thanks to Covid forcing us to tighten our belts even more.

I have found some truly wonderful brands on social media, and one such brand is Eleven2 Skin Care.  Their products look absolutely divine, and the duo behind this are passionate about luxury skincare that is affordable for all.


Your name:  Sharon

Business name:  Eleven2 Skin Care

sharon and leigh pic

Social media handles:  Instagram, Facebook and Website.

What are 3 fun facts about you:
I’m quite an average human.. I love my family, food and animals 🙂

Tell me a bit more about your business:
We are a mother-daughter duo. We are both so passionate about natural skin care and offering a luxury range at an affordable price.

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Where did the idea for this come from:  Serious health concerns prompted passionate vegan and entrepreneur Sharon Jansen Van Vuuren to take an honest hard look at her diet and what was going into her body, but also what she was applying onto her skin.

Since the skin, the largest organ of our bodies, is porous and absorbs a lot of what we put on it, she knew it was time to eliminate any products which contained harmful toxins and cancer-causing chemicals.

Frustrated at the lack of natural and organic skincare products to choose from, Sharon and her daughter Leigh, took to tirelessly learning and researching the science behind what makes a skincare range function optimally to deliver great results, be totally natural, and use only the highest performing botanicals.

And so Eleven2 skincare range was born. With hand-picked ingredients that are gentle enough so as not to irritate the skin, but with healing properties to ensure your skin feels nourished and cared for.  Free from harmful synthetics and artificial fragrances, this artisan skincare range is affordable yet boasts a luxurious feel, and remains 100% committed to producing products that won’t harm our bodies, the environment or our oceans.

Hence all products (except the 10ml lip scrubs) come in recyclable glass containers eliminating plastic pollution and staying true to its cause.

With clean beauty on the rise, Eleven2 has made it easy for conscious consumers to know their choices are ethically sound and haven’t harmed any animals or our beautiful earth.

When Sharon isn’t conjuring up ideas with Leigh or creating business modules, you can find her walking her bull terrier Kenny and his sister, a rescue called Roxy, along the beautiful West Coast beaches of Cape Town.

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What does your name mean:
Its a really long story… Eleven2 is the nickname my husband gave me before we were married 10 years ago. the shortened version is that it involves the 11th hole on the golf course. That’s all I’m allowed to say 🙂

Why did you choose to use glass containers:
From a health point of view, glass does not contain harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA and phthalates. So, nothing can leach into your product from a glass jar or bottle. Also when glass is recycled it gets turned into more glass, so it can be recycled over and over and never lose its integrity.

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What makes your skincare products different:
Even though we are a luxury brand, our range is affordable – we want everyone to be able to benefit from natural and vegan products

What skin types would benefit from your products:
All skin types. We have a few products suited for mature or dry skin and a few products in our range that are suited for oily skins. We are working on an active acne range too.

What is your personal favourite product:
I personally love the Rosehip concentrate, it contains beautiful organic oils

If you could recommend just 3 products for people to start off with, what would they be:
Definitely our Face Wash, Rose Mask and the Moisturizer to start

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How can people order from you:
Our website was recently launched, which makes it very easy to shop online.But we are also happy to take orders via DM on Instagram or WhatsApp (073 048 5757)

Quote you live by: Treat others the way you want to be treated

Anything else you want to add: My daughter (and business partner) has been instrumental in launching this range – really, all credit goes to her!

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Don’t these sound absolutely gorgeous?  I know that I definitely want to give them a go, and am waiting for pay day to place my order.  The masks are what caught my eye initially, but as their range has grown and expanded so had my interest!

Thank you so much Sharon for allowing me to chat to you, and for making such a lovely skincare line available for all.  I wish you only good things.


 

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The Doodle Poodle

I am part of groups of inspirational women on Facebook, and I have learnt so much from each of them.  I have learnt business hints and tips, social media hacks, and most of all I have seen a community of women who don’t really know one another band together and show their support throughout lockdown.

Recently there was a positive post on one of these groups from a lady called Sarah, who said that lockdown has reminded her of her true passion – creating and making art.  Isn’t that wonderful?  It’s it great to hear that something so positive could come out of a time that was filled with uncertainty and so much negativity?

I popped over to Sarah’s website and couldn’t believe her talent, as well as everything that she has achieved and been involved in.  Jeepers – if there is ever a #BossBabe that I want to learn from, it’s Sarah.  She has so many accolades under her belt, and is very well-known, yet she was gracious enough to spend time answering questions for my little blog.  SO without further ado, meet Sarah…

Baby Doodle Poodle


Your name: Sarah Gibson

Business name: The Doodle Poodle

Social media handles:  InstagramFacebook and Website

Me and my Poodle

Tell me a bit more about yourself:  I’m a graphic designer and art director based in Cape Town. I spent about 6 years working in various agencies in the advertising industry, after realising that I no longer got up in the mornings excited for work I realised that I needed to make a change. So I resigned from my 9-5, went back to study for a year and in 2019 I decided to take a stab at freelancing full-time. The beginning was tough, filled with some tears, stress and anxiety about how I was going to pay the bills. But I persevered and always tried to be positive. Then everything changed for me when one person picked up the phone and gave me an opportunity that I’d been dreaming of since I started in this industry. 2019 was one of the best years of my life career wise and I have been so fortunate to work on some amazing campaigns that have taken me to Madrid, Nice and more recently Tokyo.

My art and illustration has always been a passion and love of mine and mostly something that I’ve done on the side. My Instagram handle started off as being a collection of little doodles that I doodled here and there documenting my insights into real-life in an honest and light-hearted way. Now seeing as how my business has been affected by the current times I’m looking and hoping to grow this passion of illustration and art into something more tangible.

The name of my business pays homage to my dog Meeka, who I rescued as a puppy from Woodstock in 2008 and shortly after became my creative muse. We aren’t quite sure what she is, but she’s white, fluffy and kinda looks like a poodle although my father is convinced that she’s a Coton de Tulear, which is basically a fancy name for a poodle.

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Why does art and creativity make you so happy: It is the one place that I feel that I can totally be free. It brings me so much joy to create and share with others. Looking back it has always been a form of therapy for me. As a child I was always drawing and creating, I kept detailed visual diaries and in them I would document my world, thoughts and experiences. This has always been my way of dealing and processing things that I sometimes find difficult to verbalise.

How would you describe your style of art:
I struggle to describe the style of my work in words as for me it’s much more about emoting a feeling.

I don’t feel attached to a certain style but I would say that it’s more expressive and emotive. I’m still exploring different mediums and don’t want to be put into a specific category. Sometimes my work is playful, loose and light other times it’s more considered and crafted with layers and textures.
I work mainly digitally but for my hand initiated work I use a mixture of pencil, gouache and watercolour.

Love Yourself First copy

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Has lockdown affected you personally and as a business: Oh gosh yes! I feel like B.C (before COVID) I was on a roll and feeling good about how my career was progressing. I had some amazing work lined up and I was so excited about it. Then BOOM… A lot of it ‘disappeared’ or was ‘put on hold’ in a flash. Some smaller jobs have trickled in here and there which have been keeping me going and distracted. But overall things have been a lot quieter than usual for me. In the beginning I was really down about it but I looked for the positive in the situation and tried to be pro-active with all the ‘down-time’ I now have. I turned back to my first love of creation which has always been drawing and painting. I started doing Illustration tutorials on Domestika and really stretching my imagination and reflecting on things that were happening around me. My work during this time has been helping me reflect, understand and be at peace with what is happening inside and out.
The positive of this crappy situation is that it’s made me realise how much I have missed and have neglected this part of creative heart. I’ve always wanted to be an illustrator (but have always been held back by self-doubt) maybe now is the time to really give it a go.

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Peace Within

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Things to Remeber in a Time of Turmoil_

Do you do custom pieces: Yes! I’m always open to commissions and would love to create more work, specifically for others – whether that be a piece for your own walls, a gift for someone else or an editorial piece for a magazine.

What emotion do you want to evoke through your art:  I guess in my personal work I like to explore themes of femininity, vulnerability, self-acceptance, caring and the inner-peace and tranquillity that comes when we stop and observe things around us. I’ve always been drawn to capturing portraits and the physical body as these are things that we associate with our own identity and something that I’ve personally struggled with.

My aim with my more playful work is to always bring some sort of joy to others, to make someone’s heart do a little jiggle. I hope that my more reflective work resonates with people on a more deeper, emotive level and helps others to process and accept similar experiences. I always want to have a sense of honesty about my work that is relatable to all.

What is one of your favourite pieces you have created:
Oh, that’s a tough one.. it would have to be The Girl & The Whale. I feel this piece really special to me because it was created in a time in my life where I felt so at peace and at ease with myself and the world around me.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

How can people order a piece from you, or contact you to work with you:
Either through e-mail or my social media handles – Instagram/Facebook

What is your favourite part of the day: Jumping into bed at the end of a long day.

Quote you live by:
“One day at a time.”

Anything else you want to add:
If you’d like to see more of my art work, illustration and personal doodles please go check out my website and follow my Instagram. I do have some pieces available as well as prints, so if there’s something that you’d like please don’t hesitate to enquire about it.
Toodles xx

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Drifiting Within a Hazy Infinity

Essence

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Lady of Snow and Ice

Lady with Enormous Earrings

Undress


Isn’t Sarah wonderful?

Please, if you are looking to work with her give her a shout – or let others know about her stunning work by sharing her page or pieces of art that truly speak to you.

Her doodles make me giggle so much, and the “Love Yourself” art is something that I think we could all learn from.  Do you have a favourite? Let me know below.

And Sarah, thank you for this opportunity.  Thank you for your love, passion, excitement and kindness – you are one in a million and I am so glad to have “met” you during one of the most difficult times the world is experiencing.


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Backdrop Shop

During lockdown I have been spending extra time on growing my skills, attending online classes, and definitely more time on social media! I have been following both of these businesses that I am discussing in this blog for some time, but during lockdown I was able to catch an Instagram live that Cas was doing, and I was immediately drawn into her passion and knowledge.  I have been making a conscious effort to head over to her pages on a daily basis to soak up some of her incredible knowledge.

I have bought some flatlay boards from Cas in the past, and then they sat under my bed…  I had great plans to use them, but I never felt confident in what I was doing and my photos ended up reflecting that insecurity and lack of knowledge on how to properly use them.  Cas has now given me the confidence to pull these out again and keep trying, keep learning, keep experimenting.  Blogging has allowed me an outlet and a platform to showcase these great South African small businesses, whilst my social media platforms have allowed me to truly express myself and embrace my flaws, whilst still being able to grow.  And I can’t wait to show you more about these great businesses that have truly tipped the scales in my learning to love myself, as well as encourage me to learn new skills.


 

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Your name: My name is Casandra Swart

Business name: My business is called Backdrop Shop SA & Flatlay Boards SA

Social media handles: Backdrop Shop SA – Facebook, Instagram and Website.  Flatlay Boards SA – Facebook, Instagram and Website.

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Tell me a bit more about what you do:
I believe in the moments that become memories. I want to support the creatives who craft these moments into images that will be cherished for a lifetime to come. The Backdrop Shop is a community that welcomes everyone from professional studio photographers to small businesses trying to inject some more beauty into their branding. We love watching you take our designs to the next level by infusing them with your special style.

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Who is the person behind the brand:  I studied and worked as a graphic designer for 20 years, from the beginning I always knew I would manifest into my own boss, I always had a side hustle and eventually my side hustle became my full time business. It was all up to perfect timing. The time had to be right for me to take the leap. I have an incredibly ambitious and loving husband who supported me and nudged me further to stand on my own. In 2013 I was blessed in another way and became a mother … this now became my main focus and drove me deeper into pursuing my business with all I had. Our family loves to spend time venturing out into the Cape Winelands for a Saturday outing, quiet braais at home, weekends away in new places and Christmas bed evenings watching movies… all those family feels! I have a beautiful group of friends who I love to surround myself with and go on girls dinners and shopping dates. I also love self care and often treat myself to a spa day. I love to listen to podcasts and motivational speakers who inspire me and challenge me all the time. My business is my 2nd child and is my greatest achievement, I am very proud of where I am, how I have grown and what the future still holds.

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Where did the idea for this business come from:  I started the business in 2012 with a very good friend of mine, we saw a gap in the market where beautiful well priced backdrops where just not available in South Africa for the photography market. With me as the designer and her as photographer we made a great team and designed and manufactured a small range and marketed it online and on social media, the business grew well and we were happy with the progress… again a side hustle for me so I was still working full time. In 2013 we decided to split the business and go our separate ways (friendship and business unfortunately do not always work out) we amicably went our own way and Backdrop Shop was born. I was now at home with a newborn, and a new business… and I thought well you got nothing to lose and (I thought) I had plenty of time with a newborn by my side, she would just sleep and eat right … the side hustle started again.. I worked long days and nights and packed orders, answered mails, sent invoices, designed new ranges when everyone was sleeping. The work I put in paid off and the company did very well. In 2015 I quit my full time job and focused on Backdrop Shop fully, it was what the business needed to move forward even more. I then brought out more ranges, more products… and loved every minute! And then Flatlay Boards SA arrived…

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Why the passion for flatlay boards:  The flatlay boards were an obvious pivot for the business but I only saw it later in the growth of Backdrop Shop. I love networking and going to business workshops and training… I met so many incredible brands who where small businesses and who loved the backdrops. But my main focus was always on the photographers… my client spec was for the large format printing clientele… and so I thought but why don’t we do something to offer which is smaller/compact and easy to use for smaller product brands. I started researching the idea and noted there was similar ideas overseas… but again not in South Africa.

I just want to point out I have never wanted a business that ships or focuses on the whole world, I have always been focused on delivering to the South African market. This is important as it keeps me focused on my ideal client and what their needs are.

So the flatlay boards were created, we had trial and error moments, it took 8 months doing workshops, engaging with brands who would use the boards and who loved them, we had 5 very successful workshops and got a lot of constructive feedback regarding the boards. I then moved over from our initial wood boards to our plastic boards which then made the board lighter and even nicer to work with… and then introducing our larger mats. My Flatlayboards SA community has grown so much and I thoroughly enjoy engaging with the brands and helping them grow their content and photography skills by using my backgrounds.

Who do you think would benefit from using these:  Absolutely anyone! All brands, lifestyle bloggers, mothers, fathers, big corporations! Its really for everyone – if you got an eye for a great pic and need an interesting background instead of your kitchen counter then its for you!

How do you decide what images to use for your boards etc:
Our ranges grow and develop as our clients do, we get special requests for specific designs. The marbles, woods and textures are firm favourites and we keep them as realistic as possible to give you the best result when shooting with them.

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Which is your personal favourite one so far:
I love the Greek tiles and the different colour prints … florals/textures and colour!

Which have been your most popular designs:
The marbles are definitely the most popular designs. They’re soft and beautiful and is a great way to start your Flatlay journey.

How can people order from you:
We have a wonderful website, which is updated regularly with new designs and its very easy to navigate and order.  Alternatively clients are welcome to personally message me via email, DM on social or whatsapp on our business chat 071 877 0393.

Do you do custom designs:
YES ABSOLUTELY! I love customising prints for clients to match their brand perfectly.

Where can you recommend people get more training on flatlay boards:
I offer one on one training if you need but I always love sharing tips and videos on my social media for clients to go and watch and learn from them.

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Quote you live by:  Love what you do, do what you love ❤

Anything else you want to add:  If there is something you truly believe in, let your heart run with it. Be intentional every day to pursue that thing.

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Guys, aren’t these just too beautiful for words?  And isn’t Cas someone that we all want as our friend, and enjoy a good glass of wine?  I can honestly say that I have learnt so much from her, and will definitely be ordering more flatlays as time goes by and I am wanting to improve the quality of my photos more and more.  Her one-on-one classes are like no other, and I would definitely recommend you take a look at her free training over on her social media.

I can’t WAIT to see the pics that you create with some of her stunning backdrops or flatlays, so please do tag me in them.  Hopefully I can get some tips from you too!


 

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Luxbury

I met Inshaaf through a Facebook group we are both part of, & we just clicked.  I love her passion for her business & her Instagram feed gives me all the feels.  I haven’t personally tried her products (yet!), but I have only seen positive reviews & they just sound so divine.

So let’s dive into finding out more about Luxbury together…


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Your name:  Inshaaf Amos

Business name:  Luxbury

Social media handles:  Instagram, Facebook & Website

Tell me a bit more about your business:  Luxbury, hand-crafted in Cape Town with expert care. Our candles and essential oil infused rollers are both luxurious and timeless. Essential oils and all materials are sourced from local suppliers.
Our candle ranges include cotton wicks as well as wood wicks and our rollers are ideal for your on the go aromatherapy fix.

Where did the idea to start this come from:  As a little girl, I melted crayons in a pot in my grandma’s kitchen, wanting to make colourful candles to give to family and friends, which I’m sure most kids did growing up in those days. Unbeknownst to me, I created my future self right there in that quaint little kitchen. As humans, we associate scent with memories whether it be grandma’s kitchen smell, moms perfume or the holiday coconut scent we experienced a year ago. Luxbury wants to provide that link between old and new memories. The aromatherapy aspect is a pleasant and sometimes much-needed bonus.

What makes your candles different to other brands:  Luxbury is different from other brands not only because it’s handmade with pure essential oils, but it has wooden wicks
which burns cleaner, longer and makes a faint soothing crackling sound as they burn to create an illusion of a fire burning in the distance.

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What is your personal favourite scent:  My personal favourite scent is without a doubt Peony Rose. This scent is the perfect self care ritual staple for everyone.

Where can people purchase your candles from:
Stockist:
Arabesque
11 Bright Street
Somerset West
7130

Arabesque
13 Andringa Street
Stellenbosch
7600

Olney Fashions
Shop 11
Cape Quarter
27 Somerset Rd,
Green Point
Cape Town
8000

Epiphany
Online

One Boutique Store
Online

Luxbury Candles Megan3

I see that your candles have 2 uses – please tell me more:  Our candles are used at home to evoke a calming mood and to set a romantic tone on your special day.
And the soy wax can be used as a massage oil when melted and will moisturise the skin.

Quote you live by:  “Only one thing makes a dream impossible, and that is the fear of failure.”
– The Alchemist


I love the fact that these products have multiple uses, their scents sound divine & their look is classic & timeless.  Personally I think these would make the most divine Christmas gifts – I’m always one to light candles throughout my house, & especially when they have a beautiful scent that will embrace your entire house.


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