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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
Your name: My name is Casandra Swart
Business name: My business is called Backdrop Shop SA & Flatlay Boards SA
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!