I love finding interesting ways to decorate my house, or unique gift ideas. I have all different pictures of our family all around our house, and I really appreciate hand-crafted gifts for myself – and this is often what I will choose to gift others too. This is why I was so excited when I came across the page Woven Whimsy.
Danielle is so creative and can make custom orders for you, your friends, and your family. She very kindly allowed me to interview her for my blog, and I can’t wait to show you some examples of her gorgeous work and ideas brought to life.
3 fun facts about you: I used to play the saxophone in high school, I can’t clench my toes, and I have a PhD in Human Genetics 😊
Tell me a little more about your business: As Woven Whimsy, I make and sell fibre art. This initially started as woven tapestries, but more recently my focus has shifted to custom-made embroideries.
Where did the idea come from: Whilst on my second maternity leave with my daughter in 2018, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest. At that time, weaving was just beginning to become popular, and I decided to try to make a loom with scraps of wood and nails that were in our garage. My first attempt was a disaster, but after some practice I started to improve. I think my husband was a bit terrified of having woven tapestries covering every surface of our house, so I decided to try to sell them. My following grew slowly over a year or two. In June last year I decided to embroider a “C” for my daughter, Cara. A friend’s mom saw the photo on Facebook, and commissioned an “A” for her granddaughter. The response to the embroidered monograms has been incredible, and embroidery is now the main focus of Woven Whimsy.
Have you always been a creative being: Very much so. I’ve always had a creative heart, although I don’t think that I’m particularly artistic. I grew up with a mom and gran who would knit and sew, and I enjoyed arts and crafts throughout my youth. But I’m also a bit of a nerd, and went on to study genetics at varsity. Today, I’m a molecular geneticist in a private pathology laboratory, but I’ve always relied on creativity for my “soul food”. I have an amazing husband and two very busy kiddies, so it’s not always easy to find time for these things, but I’ve realised that it’s so important for my sanity.
What is your personal favourite piece: It’s difficult to say, but probably my first embroidered monogram, the “C” for Cara.
Do you do custom orders: Yes, I primarily do custom orders.
What are the different products you offer: At the moment my main focus is embroidered monograms and ultrasounds, although I occasionally do other custom pieces if requested.
How can people order from you: Some of my products are listed on my website, but it’s usually easier to message me via email or Instagram to get the conversation started.
Why do you love what you do: I get to make pretty things, and people want to display them in their homes! It still blows my mind some days.
Aren’t Danielle’s designs absolutely gorgeous? And don’t you want to rush over to place your order for one right now?
Please try to support local and support small businesses as much as possible. They are the people that need us all now more than ever, and do a literal happy dance whenever their businesses are supported!
Inge’s work is absolutely beautiful. She creates digital designs of any images that you send to her, and captures the essence of what is being expressed – showing love, admiration, excitement, happiness, and so on. I first came across her Facebook page when I saw a friend sharing one of her posts, and knew that I not only wanted to get an image from her, but also that I had to feature Fine Wine Designs on my blog!
This is a #BossBabe who turned around lockdown for her benefit, and inspires others around her to follow their dreams and aspirations. What more could I ask for as a feature during Women’s Month?
3 fun facts about you: -Lover of dogs
-I love cheeseball 80’s movies. Dirty dancing is my favorite!
-One of my biggest fears- Public speaking.
Tell me a bit more about what you do: Out of boredom during the Lockdown period, I started playing around with digital designs because I really wanted a new, cool profile picture for Instagram and this is really how it all began. People started to ask me about my profile picture and before I knew it, I got my first few orders in! Because of all my lovely clients, I was able to expand my small business and can now print and frame my designs for my clients which I absolutely LOVE because then I provide my designs to my clients in it’s final and most beautiful state. My designs can be used for business logo’s, invitations, greeting cards, wedding favors and so much more!
How would you describe the style of your designs: I would describe my designs
as unique, fun and timeless.
Have you always been creative: Yes. Since I was a little girl I loved making things look beautiful. I use to redecorate our house without my mom knowing. Things like removing portraits from the wall I thought didn’t look nice or replacing the cushions on the couch with the hope she won’t notice it. I also loved turning old things like picture frames into something new! I always designed my own party invitations and did scrapbooking as a little girl because I just loved putting things together to make it look beautiful and I still have that same love for it.
What has been your personal favourite one: I don’t think I will be able to choose only one. I love to make family portraits especially when there are pets involved!
How can people place an order from you:
They can email me (email@example.com) or just DM me on Instagram or Facebook.
How much do your designs cost: The costs of my designs varies due to different styles, different requirements and specifications etc. I quote my clients on the specific style they want as well as their specific requirements.
Who do you think would enjoy one of your designs: I really think my designs are for everyone! Whether you are just looking for a new, trendy profile picture for Instagram, or a unique and special gift for a loved one.
Why do you encourage people to support local: Local businesses are owned and operated by your neighbors! They care about and are invested in the well-being of your community and its future.
Quote you live by: Be courageous and live the life that your heart is guiding you toward.
I absolutely adore these, and perhaps you will be seeing one of Inge’s designs as my next profile picture… You can have your design printed and framed, or even printed onto a mug to remind you (or someone you love) of a special moment in time. I also love the idea of using these as your wedding favours!
Please try to support local whenever possible, and let me know if you discover any amazing businesses that we need to know about.
Inge, you are one in a million and I have loved every moment of getting to know you better. I can’t wait to see more of your creations, and your creativity continue to grow.
When Carmen from 21 Folds reached out to me with regard to doing a collab, I spent some time looking through her posts and creations, and couldn’t actually believe that these detailed, tiny earrings were handmade with so much love and talent. She has a process to get here, and every piece is unique. Owning a pair of 21 Folds earrings is literally like owning a piece of art!
Yesterday we met up as she had created a pair just for me, and I had to hold myself back from giving her a great big squeeze (#socialdistancing), so we settled for elbow taps and squeals. I immediately came home, threw on the earrings and put together a crazy makeup look to match the magic of my unicorn origami earrings.
The earrings also reminded me why I am so obsessed with unicorns…
“When you hear hoofbeats look for horses not zebras.”
This is a saying that is common in the medical fraternity, and means that doctors should always look for the most common reason for the specific symptoms the patient is experiencing – so rather than assuming the person has a rare disease, assume it is something “normal”. It is for this reason that rare patients are often referred to as zebras. However, I think we should be known as unicorns as we are so rare, magical, and often a little crazy! We shouldn’t exist, but we do, and we often try spread love and positivity wherever we are.
However, I digress, let’s get back to Carmen and her beyond-your-wildest-dreams talent!
I am a complete fantasy, scifi and DnD geek. I helped launch sci-fi and fantasy indie publisher Stubborn Raven and edited my husband’s short story for publishing.
I for sure have ADHD, watermelon and mash potatoes are some of my favourite foods, but not together…never together.
My husband & I are obsessed with travel and I have been to over 30 countries, on many a shoestring-budget but it is always an adventure.
Not so fun facts but facts nonetheless:
I have a Post grad in business from Wits business school, this has allowed me to consult in various fields and allows for a lot of insight in my own practice and businesses. #canrecommend
I’m a practicing audiologist and speech therapist, my practice is at Milpark hospital, I love my work in the medical field.
Tell me a bit more about your business: 21Folds is still brand spanking new and currently we offer paper origami earrings as our main product! I can’t say it better than our about page so here it is:
A celebration of the intricacies of paper folding and the joy of wearing a piece of art. Each piece is designed with thought and made with passion. Welcome to 21Folds, where I blend art and adornment!
I create origami masterpieces that you can wear. But to me it’s more than jewelry – these origami pieces are the manifestation of what makes creating so amazing and fulfilling: An unavoidable wonderlust, forgetting about perfection and celebrating the wonderful, and the willingness to collaborate with my fellow human.
The variety of collections, which is the paper type and pattern, and the folds, are chosen and created in such a way that you will be able to find the collection style that speaks to you.
Why origami: A friend actually left her origami book with some paper behind when she immigrated and I decided to pick it up one day in November last year, it frustrated the hell out of me so I just kept forging ahead until one day the technique clicked. Once it clicked I was really hooked on it and just kept escalating to more complex folds! (I always had some sort of folding gene where every school newsletter was folded up into a tiny square to get lost in the bottom of my backpack until the end of the term.)
Have you always been interested in creative things: Yeah, I’ve always dabbled in something or the other, be it painting large murals on our house walls, editing books, building a desk (a circular-saw is for sure one of the best birthday gifts I have received recently) or just doodling. I was one of those kids that did every single extra-mural activity be it sports, arts or culture. Everything interested me (just not accounting). I think I enjoy learning a new skill and problem solving the most of all and it leads me into various creative spaces. Origami just seems to keep my interest more than most things., possibly a true passion has been born.
Why did you start this business: I received origami earrings as a gift over Christmas while traveling in Chille and Argentina, it was at the time where origami really became a pass-time for me, and I was like – ‘I could fold that’ and just started experimenting and creating more and more different folds and designs, pushing to get them smaller and smaller. I initially planned to start in selected store fronts and markets first and get a feel for what works before launching online but then covid hit so I had to pivot and push all my resources into developing a website and solidify my concept, and here we are!
So to sum it up, basically I started more out of pure joy of creating and the need to share that love and passion.
What makes your earrings so unique: Well even if I try the chances of me making two pieces exactly the same is very slim. Each paper pattern unfolds in its own way, I have an idea of where to place certain colours on certain folds to try and place a pattern in a specific spot, but in general I just let the folds go where they want. I also strive to collaborate with other artists, and humans are at the core of my inspiration for my art.
Do you do custom orders: Not yet but soon! At the moment my focus is on solidifying my brand and growing a following, there will however be some limited edition (one of a kind type) ranges coming out!
What has been your favourite pair of earrings that you have created: Oh gosh it’s like picking your favorite child! The Mori & Mukai collections are possibly my own personal favourites, not just because of the earring designs but because of the amazing women they were inspired by, it feels like the two women are polar opposites – one creative, artsy and a fashion designer and the other a doctor, astronaut and scientist. Both of these resonate with me, I love that I can be a medical professional and an origami artist, a DnD geek and a netball jock, I like that different things can occupy the same space. I think that’s true creativity.
How can people order from you: Online from my store www.21folds.com. Soon in some selected stores, and hopefully international shipping will be available in the near future.
Who do you think would enjoy your creations: Anybody that loves origami, art and design and appreciates the intricacies of the technique and how it blends with the art. I try to design something for everyone.
Quote you live by:
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious” Albert Einstein
“Fake it till you make it”
Anything else you want to add: It takes 21 folds for me to fold the iconic crane, my first origami animal I folded, thus 21folds was born!
I have two adorable spaniels, you can check out their shenanigans on @a_bork_able!
We are launching a giveaway today on my social media platforms, where you can win a pair of the gorgeous unicorn earrings for yourself. These are not available for sale on Carmen’s website, and simply can’t hold a value due to the uniqueness and love!
Thank you so much Carmen for all that you are doing, and for sharing your talent with us. You truly are one in a million, and I can’t wait to see more people wearing these beautiful creations.
Have you ever tried origami? And what have you created?
When I saw Dear Deer sharing an image that they had had done, I absolutely loved the soft colours, the style and the gentleness of the images. Rubina’s social media is beautiful, and immediately draws you in as you get a snapshot into not only her talent, but also her passion for what she does. I am sure that you will fall in love with it too as you see her gorgeous creations and creativity.
What are 3 fun facts about you: I love to travel, love dogs, and love music.
Tell me a little more about your business: Fleur de Mai started out of the blue really. I saw some cute illustrations on Instagram and started learning. I started in November 2019 and has been going since. My online store is launching in the near future with a brand name change.
How would you describe your style of art: I love minimalistic and neutral colours for my illustrations. But once in a while i will have a pop of colour in there.
Have you always been creative: Not at all. I am more analytical than creative but i started learning and find out you can do anything you set your mind to.
Do you do custom orders: I do custom orders for weddings, birthdays and all occasions 🙂
How much is an order from you: A single portrait is R350 and every additional person added is R150.
What is your favourite piece that you have done: There are so many and all of them are so unique. My favourite changes every week lol.
Why do you encourage people to support local: Local businesses strive to bring the best for its people and without us supporting them they do not survive and by our support we are helping them build their dreams.
How did lockdown affect you: It did not really. it allowed me to have more free time to spend on my designs.
Quote you live by: Different doesn’t mean wrong. I love this saying because we are all different and we can all learn from each other and that’s the beauty of being different
Anything else you want to add: I think as an artist and small business, growing an audience on Instagram is hard and sometimes discouraging but I have learned that every like and comment is special because someone took the time to like and to comment and we have to appreciate every little thing that makes our community on Instagram. Likes and follows are not the most important thing. Staying true to the brand and delivering is what makes you, YOU!
Don’t you adore her? And her style of art?
It was such an honour getting to know Rubina, and she has been so kind right from the very first message I sent to her. I cannot wait to see her flourish, and more of her images tagged across your social media.
Have a beautiful day lovelies, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog, support local, and always choose kindness x
There is currently a lot of drama on social media within the blogger community – and beyond. I don’t wish to get into it in this post, but I had to mention it, as this is how I first discovered Squishy Tushy. And this is the reason that I am adding my voice to the #DontShushMe movement here in South Africa. No longer can I just keep quiet as I see my black friends hurt and judged, or my LGBTQ+ friends marginalized and unable to live freely. In this day and age, racism and homophobia should not exist, and sadly, it still does. This movement has made me spend a lot of time looking deep within myself, and realise that by saying nothing, I am adding my voice to those doing the judging. South African businesses are often not reflecting the beauty of our rainbow nation, and speaking to influencers has reminded me how often the perfect blonde-hair, blue-eyed child is used in advertising campaigns and their mother chosen for brand reviews. How is that relatable to so much of South Africa? And why are we not speaking up about this?
Nuriyah has had #DontShushMe shirts printed to show support for this movement, and a portion of the profits are going to be donated to a charity that empowers people of colour. I ordered one of my own, and then realised that I needed to get to know this strong woman a little more!
What are 3 fun facts about you:
1. I love to create art / DIY.
2. I am a beginner photographer.
3. I love doing things spontaneously, I don’t mind if it wasn’t planned. I love an adventure and am almost always keen. Let’s take a trip!
Tell me a bit more about your business:
I started Squishy Tushy almost 1 year ago when I had my 3rd baby girl, Israh. I am a natural creative, so I felt the need to create. This is how a lot of baby brands are started. The thing I love the most is deciding on designs, having the fabric printed, and then seeing it come to life.
I come from a digital marketing background so another aspect I LOVE is doing marketing campaigns, checking the stats and finding out how I can do better.
We are still very new to the industry so I am still learning as I go. it is not as easy as it looks, especially when you are a one man show like me 🙂 I do EVERYTHING except sew. Even down to building my own website 🙂
Where did the passion for these come from:
From being a mom, a creative soul, and having the need to constantly create.
Tell me about your #DontShushMeShirt:
There are very important conversations going on on social media at the moment. This hashtag was used by a group of mommy bloggers. To show my solidarity I decided to create these tee’s. This is not the first time I did this. In March when another local brand made obscene posts about Jews, I created a tee that reads “regretively” as they used this word accidentally. I am donating the profit from those tees to the holocaust centre here in CT.
With the don’t shush me tees, R50 from each tee will go to a POC charity which will be determined by the mommy bloggers. I love advocating for those who need a voice so even though it has nothing to do with baby clothing, I have the fully functioning ecommerce website and I have the tools to make these tees (yes I cut and press the designs myself), so why not? I have no problem using my platform and voice to help the next person. We are also busy with GBV tees for another NGO, as well as make tees for Milk Matters and R50 of each sale goes to the preemie babas. Ok, I totally went off track but it is all relative.
What is your personal favourite product:
Definitely the rib rompers as well as the printed zip onesies.
What have been your most popular products:
The rib rompers and fox track sets / bunny track sets.
What makes your products different to those you can buy in a chain store:
You won’t find these exact prints anywhere else. The rib rompers also have a very specific look and feel
Why do you encourage people to support small businesses:
So that we can keep the economy growing. If you support small businesses, you are literally helping keep food in the tummies of people in this country.
Quote you live by:
It’s better to be kind than to be right. 🙂
Always be willing to help others even if it does not benefit you!
Anything else you want to add:
If you own a small business and you think you aren’t getting anywhere, please don’t give up. It takes extreme hard work, long days, long nights, loads of planning and the list goes on! 🙂
I am so thrilled that I discovered Nuriyah, and know that I will continue to learn from her every single day. Her baby clothing is absolutely adorable, and so on trend – I am sure that many of you will fall in love with it too, and want pieces for yourself or family members.
And please, if you don’t have kids, consider supporting her through the sale of her statement tees that really are making a difference in the lives of so many. This woman has an amazingly beautiful heart, and deserves all the love and kindness in the world.
If you don’t know this about me by now, I LOVE finding South African artists and discovering new styles of art. There is nothing more special to me than receiving personalised gifts, and really seeing the time, effort, and love in the choice of spoiling.
Katy-Jane has such a unique style of art that is full of soft colours, happy memories, and absolute inner beauty. Her art evokes such joy whenever I see a new piece, and I often see that these are used to capture very special moments. I am thrilled to bring you an interview with this talented #GirlBoss below.
Tell me a bit more about yourself: Currently I’m in the process of building my own sustainable Fashion Label. Sustainability within the fashion industry sits extremely close to my heart and if I can make a slight difference to our ever so growing world; why not? Local is lekker.
I have two years experience working as a Freelance Fashion Designer/Creator in Cape Town. I’ve done work for brands such as Woolworths and Markhams, creating CAD’s, Techpacks and Prints. I’ve also done my fair share of Internships… Truworths, Crystal Birch and Aisha Baker.
At present, I am a short course Digital Design Lecturer at Design Academy of Fashion. Teaching to both part-time students and industry workers. I help people fall in love with the digital fashion world. Before venturing into the design world I spent four years of my life in the hospitality industry, owning and managing my own coffee shop, Blonde&Beard.
I have a love for people, I have a love for serving people and a huge soft spot for coffee.
Have you always been artistic: YES – I grew up in a very creative and artistic household. My Mom and Sister inspire me daily – I actually send through every illustration to Mom to get her approval before sending off to it’s new home (she’s my bestie and biggest inspiration).
How would you describe your style of art: Quirky and unique? I guess I find describing my art very difficult, I’m not someone to boast 😉
What makes your art different to others: The amount of love that I pour into each illustration, this is my magical remedy 💛
How can people place an order with you: Placing an order is super easy and user friendly; one could just hop onto my Facebook or Instagram page and pop me a message OR they can also mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What emotion do you hope people feel when they see your creations: HAPPINESS | I strive to portray happiness and emotion throughout all my illustrations.
Which is your personal favourite piece of art that you have done: A personal favourite of mine is pretty much anything animal / pet related. I LOVE drawing up Pet Portraits – who doesn’t love staring at a cheerful doggy or beautiful kitty all day? There’s an innocence about them that tends to bring me peace & calmness.
How did lockdown affect your business: Lockdown actually enabled me to start my illustration business so I’d 100% give lockdown a thumbs up from my side.
Why do you encourage people to support local: I think by supporting local you are supporting your country or better yet even your home town; there’s just something so special about this. To me it brings a community together, makes us stronger as a ‘whole’ and allows small businesses to grow and get the recognition they deserve!
Quote you live by: “So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring your flowers.”
Anything else you want to add: I’m a HUGE coffee Lover!
Are you not completely and utterly obsessed over this art? I am crushing hard on her artwork, and absolutely loved chatting to Katy-Jane. You can feel her positivity and happiness bubbling out of every pore, and she was an absolute joy to get to know.
I’m definitely going to be placing an order for a piece of work for our home soon. An anniversary gift, wedding present, birthday surprise, or something to celebrate a special occasion – it would suit any of these. Please tag me in your pic if you get one done! I would love to see how they turn out.
In case you haven’t already seen, I am currently running the most amazing competition alongside T.Knots, O Nutricia Collagen and Charlie Loves Studio. These small businesses really fill my life with such joy, and the idea for the giveaway came after spending some time chatting to Taryn and completely falling in love with what she has doing, her beautiful creations, and just her entire being.
Yesterday I received my very own T.Knots creation and I immediately knew where I was going to hang it. This has a place of pride at our front door, in our little patio area. It looks stunning, and even husband agrees! I cannot wait to tell you more about this wonderful woman and show you more of her work.
Macramé is a form of textile produced using knotting (rather than weaving or knitting) techniques.
The primary knots of macramé are the square (or reef knot) and forms of “hitching”: various combinations of half hitches. It was long crafted by sailors, especially in elaborate or ornamental knotting forms, to cover anything from knife handles to bottles to parts of ships.
Cavandoli macramé is one variety that is used to form geometric and free-form patterns like weaving. The Cavandoli style is done mainly in a single knot, the double half-hitch knot. Reverse half hitches are sometimes used to maintain balance when working left and right halves of a balanced piece.
Tell me a few fun facts about yourself: I didn’t think I have a hobby or a talent and lockdown showed me I have both of those by making people happy with my Macramé magic.
What inspired you to start this business: I unfortunately lost my job in the Hospitality Industry and I needed to look for something funky and modern but different to do and therefore I made a few knots one day and Viola!!
Please explain Macramé to us: Macramé started in the 1970. This means that you are using creativity and your passion for making something unique by using different knots. Macramé is all about UNIQUE!
Have you always been a creative: I haven’t been creative, and a month ago I started using my hands and creating this beautiful products. I do come out of a incredibly creative family!
What is your personal favourite piece that you have created so far: My personal favorite so far is Macramé Hibiscus! DEFINITELY!
Do you do custom pieces: I do any custom picture that you send me! (Off course it will be unique)
Why do you encourage people to support local: Because there is a ton of fantastic talents out there and so many people lost jobs during this pandemic and by showing their talent they are making money!
How can people order from you: By popping me a email, or by popping me a DM on my Facebook Page or Instagram. And of course I am always available on my phone (0836569919)
Quote you live by: “Everything happens for a reason”
In my previous blog about the Tiny Dollhouse, I said that my ideal room would have a macrame wall hanging, and now I actually have one of my own in my home! I know that I will definitely be getting more of these stunning pieces, and definitely have my eye on some of the plant hangers as I have been wanting more greenery inside for ages – especially with the theme of our bedroom and the generosity of space that we are blessed with.
When I showed my mum my new acquisition last night, she said they used to have similar items hanging in their home and I think it is so amazing that trends seem to do a full circle and always return.
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway on both Instagram and Facebook if you would like to own some very special pieces from South African businesses – or place your order for a unique piece.
I often post on my social media platforms asking for suggestions of local businesses that have stood out for them, or need a little more awareness. I have had so many amazing brands/businesses recommended for me, and it is a constant reminder of the talent we have in South Africa. I challenge you to try to buy local for every gift in the next month – you will honestly be blown away at what you can find.
Today is a feature like none other – a fashion designer. With gorgeous vibrant clothing designed by a stunning young lady who studied for 7 years in Cape Town, she isn’t actually based in SA anymore but you can still purchase her designs and have them delivered to you here.
Teshie has been an absolute joy to get to know, and I would love to know what you think of her creations as well as what is your favourite.
What is an interesting fact about you that nobody knows:
I entered an art competition when I was around 10 years old that was being hosted by the Japanese embassy through my primary school and became one of the runners up. It was the first validation I got that I was good in creative arts and it made me feel so satisfied! I drew a farmer on a farm with his animals in my art piece. The winners had a day out at the Japanese embassy and we were each awarded a collection of art and craft equipment and certificates. I really want to explore more of my artistic side and brush up on my painting skills during this pandemic
Tell me a bit more about your business:
I launched my business in January 2018 while in my final year at university. A few months after launching my business, I was chosen to take part in a fashion incubation programme by one of the biggest fashion retailers in South Africa, Truworths Group in partnership with The Startup Hatchery.
After completing my university degree, I enrolled in Cape Town College of Fashion Design (CTCFD) and got certified in the courses “Design To Make” and “Pattern Making and Garment Construction”.
At Styletech by Teshie, we design, produce and sell ready to wear, trendy afrocentric clothing apparel for the young and modern man/woman. I realised that a lot of African clothing in today’s market was too traditional and ceremonial. I therefore wanted to create clothing that celebrated African prints and culture while still being very fashion forward and allowing our clients to have fashionable basics that they can wear on a day-to-day basis. My fabric is inspired by various African cultures for example the Kitenge from East Africa, Shweshwe from South Africa and Ankara from West Africa.
I have had the opportunity to showcase my designs on the runway at a couple of fashion shows in South Africa and at Africa Fashion Week Nigeria 2019. This year, I hope to continue to penetrate the Kenyan and wider African market.
Have you always been a creative:
Yes I’ve always been a creative. However, growing up I was also really good in science and maths too. Coming from an African home where education is taken really seriously I was encouraged to study more “serious” courses and never really pursued my creativity in school. I studied Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of Cape Town and that’s what I graduated with. While in university I started my fashion blog and started exploring my creative skills. I made a vow to myself to keep working on my creative talents and pursue them once I was done with the Computer Science degree.
What makes your brand so different to others:
I’m not afraid to be daring with my colour and print choices. I follow my personal authentic style when designing my collections. It’s a true definition of my personality: confident, free-spirited and bold!
What is your personal favourite piece:
This year I designed this gorgeous pink party dress with poofy sleeves for my 25th Birthday celebrations in Lagos, Nigeria. I didn’t get to finish the dress in time for my trip so I didn’t actually wear it on my birthday in February. I completed it almost a month later and was so in love with it. It got a lot of positive response on social media as well.
What have been the most popular items:
These wide legged pants with adjustable straps attached that look like suspenders. Designed these last year and they’ve been my best seller since. I initially designed it with kitenge fabric and then repurposed the design for a piece from my Lion King Collection which I named “Lady Cheetah”
(Cape Town based South African model Abongwe @iamabongwe pictured above)
My flagship product which was an off shoulder ruffle top has also remained a fave of my clients till today.
(My close Kenyan girlfriends pictured above)
Also, I recently I added this black and white satin dressing gown to my loungewear collection which has been getting quite a number of orders.
How can people purchase your items:
Locally in Kenya people can shop from my online e-commerce store. We also ship globally with DHL Express. I am a selling partner on the Fashionomics Africa digital marketplace where my international clients can shop for my designs and get favourable delivery rates with DHL Express.
Do you deliver in South Africa:
Yes I do deliver to South Africa. We are actually a legally registered South African business and would love to do more business in the country that made me fall head over heels in love with fashion and pushed me to pursue my creative dreams. I lived in Cape Town, South Africa for 7 years and the Mother City will always be a home to me.
Quote you live by:
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams
Anything else you want to add:
I launched a loungewear collection on Thursday the 18th of June 2020. The one thing that has kept bringing me some joy and sense of normalcy during this pandemic is dressing up. I decided to come up with this small collection to give my clients who love options some choices and variety in looking fabulous while still being comfy at home. The collection will be available to shop on my website on Thursday the 18th of June as well as on the Fashionomics Africa digital marketplace.
(My sister and I pictured above)
My best friend, Founder of beauty cosmetics company (Joanna K Cosmetics) and social media influencer Joanna Kinuthia pictured above
Guys, aren’t these items just GORGEOUS! I am completely obsessed by those leopard print wide-legged pants, as well as all the lounge wear (especially with lockdown and my lack of leaving the house!). Teshie is such a joy, and I can only wish her good things. I can’t wait to see her work on the cover of magazines, and for more people to support local designers.
Now, I’m off to lose myself on her website again! Perhaps we will meet there.
PS if you know of any stores that would be able to and willing to stock Teshie’s range, please reach out to her. This is a powerhouse right here, and I can’t wait to see her just fly.
When I think back to creating happy memories as a child, I think back to spending hours creating fairy gardens or playing with my Barbies in their house that my uncle built. I think back to magic, imagination and love. Recently Charlie Loves Studio shared a story on her Instagram about a beautiful business that is just launching and I was immediately thrust back into my childhood. KaRi has created an adult version of fairy gardens and doll houses – and I am completely obsessed!
Your name: Karen Kelly but people know me as KaRi (my creative alias)
Business name: The Tiny Dollhouse (South Africa) and also the #girlboss behind the Lovilee Blogfor the past 10 years.
What are 3 fun facts about you:
I always thought I was addicted to coffee, but have realised coffee is addicted to me.
I am bunny everything obsessed!
If I could choose any color in the world, it would be the color grey.
Tell me a bit more about the business:
I am a creative at heart, always busy with some activity behind the scenes, whether it is to knit, to embroider, to DIY or just to craft. I love keeping busy and surrounding myself with creatives. This year I decided to take the leap and follow my tiny passion to create an online store, with a beautifully curated Instagram feed and miniatures by myself and other makers. A way for other creatives to showcase their talents in a different way, but still linking to their bigger businesses. A community that will be brought together in a tiny (yet big) way. I am hoping to start a dollhouse revolution in South Africa!
Where did the idea for this come from:
A few years ago my bestie in Holland sent me an image of a Scandinavian style modern dolls house and I was sold. I knew I had to have one and tried to find one in South Africa. It was virtually impossible so, I decided to make a plan and bring the dollhouses to South Africa myself.
Why tiny dollhouses:
Tiny things like miniatures and dollhouses make me happy and I hope to share this happiness with others, be it via Instagram, or the online store. Let’s face it, not everyone can have a perfectly organized home all the time, but you can manage something like this on a teeny tiny scale. It makes me happy to know that my tiny dollhouse is styled the way I like it and that no matter what chaos ensues in the home, there is a place that is the total opposite. I love the DIY element that comes with these miniatures, I might not have the time to do a room revamp in my home in one day, but it might just be possible to do it in my tiny space – giving me a total sense of accomplishment and pride.
Where can people order from:
They can order directly from the online shop. I courier countrywide, RSA only.
What kit do you think a first-timer should start with:
Step 1 – Purchase a dollhouse. If you are looking for a small project the one bedroom dollhouse is the perfect option and can be displayed beautifully in an office or bedroom.
Step 2 – Add some wallpaper or paint for the walls.
Step 3 – Add a carpet and plants
Step 4 – Get creative and make some cute furniture that you can move around.
What sort of products can people expect from you:
As the owner and creative behind Tiny Dollhouse, I curate each and every product that is listed in the online store. There are not bulk amounts available of each product to keep the experience unique and I will be sharing DIY tutorials and printables going forward as well, essentially an extension of the Lovilee Blog, just on a smaller scale. I hope that this new pretty venture enables you to create your own tiny dream house! All of the dollhouses and products in the shop are made to a 1:12 scale.
Items in the store include Dollhouses, Miniatures, Carpets, Plants, Wallpapers and I will be adding Furniture soon.
Quote you live by:
“When you do what you love, nothing feels like work.”
Anything else you want to add:
I have been the creative girl boss behind http://www.lovilee.co.za, a Lifestyle blog for the past 10 years and used to have a Wedding Hanger personalisation business that I sold just over 2 years ago. I had been looking to start a small online shop again selling items that I am passionate about. I guess this TINY obsession is about to grow BIG.
I absolutely LOVE the idea and passion behind this project. I love that it can be a bit of quiet time for anyone to do something that they love, and allow their inner creative to come out. I love that it could be a family project, where you can spend quality time together without the interference of cellphones and laptops or television. I love that you can create your perfect little happy place – a place where you can escape and envision your dreams becoming a reality.
If you had to design your dream room right now, what would it look like? What would you include? And which room would it be? Once I began thinking down this route, I realised that I definitely wanted to work on bringing my dreams to fruition. I now want to create my own Tiny Dollhouse filled with miniatures of happiness – macrame plant hangers, a fluffy beanbag, handwoven rugs, mini family portraits, and a beautiful wallpaper…
I follow quite a few make-up artists on Instagram, and one of my favourites is Charli X Boi. A little while ago he posted a piece of fan art that had been done of him, and I was blown away! The design popped out at me, and just exuded happiness and joy. I reached out to Yuvianca about her beautiful work, and she was so friendly and accommodating. I knew you guys would appreciate her stunning work too so had to do a little feature on her! Her prices are reasonable, her talent insane, and her heart is so full of kindness. Keep reading for more…
How would you describe your style of art: I like to think of my art as a combination of line art and digital art.
Have you always been so creative: Yes I have. I actually had design and visual arts throughout my Primary and High school years. I love art and being creative. I like to transform something boring into something extraordinary!
How can people place an order with you: They can either message me through FB Messenger or Direct message on my personal Instagram or my design page’s Instagram.
How much do you charge for your pieces: R200 per design.
Can people still receive their order during lockdown: Yes they can, but they have to wait 2-3 days, because each designs is extremely time consuming.
What makes your art unique to others: My art is unique because I try to create my clients designs according to their personality and things that they love. I feel that makes the design much more personal.
Why do you encourage people to support local: Because before you can go global you need to start local. Everyone needs to start somewhere eventually!
Quote you live by: Be brave enough to take off the masks you wear on the outside and get to know who you are underneath. The flawed you, the beautiful you, the perfect you.
What do you guys think of her pieces? Don’t you think they are so divine? I love how unique they are, and I love Yuvianca’s positivity and outlook on life. It was so lovely to chat to her, and I know that I am definitely going to get a pic done by her soon. Any advice on which picture I should use?
Please support local artists – especially now during lockdown. These can be sent to friends or family all over the world, and would really be something special as a gift, or even as a spoil for yourself. Tag me in the pic once you have received it, as I would love to see more of her creations.