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Willow Asks Why?

A friend I went to school with has been a great source of encouragement and inspiration. I have seen how she has raised two beautiful children, and how she is constantly working to make South Africa a better place for the next generation. I have seen her raise difficult questions, work with others, and teach her children to be kind, considerate and loving towards others.

I saw her announce that she had started co-writing a book series named “Delightful Tales About Difficult Topics”, with the first book being “Willow Asks Why?”. I wanted to know more. This series of books is to be enjoyed by parents and their children together, and to show a way of speaking through difficult questions that kids may have – especially in all their honesty and innocence.


Your names: Kimberley Clow & Graham Geiger-Kirige

Business name: Delightful Tales About Difficult Topics

Social media handles: Instagram, Facebook and Website.

3 fun facts about you:
Kim:
* I am currently reading Brene Brown’s latest book, The Gifts Of Imperfection
* Unashamedly obsessed with reality television.
* In 2021; I am learning to speak Xhosa

Graham:
* Life Motto: “Beards Before Razors”
* Firm believer in tea bags being removed BEFORE milk is added.
* Proud father of 8 house plants (I have read the book to them)

Tell me a little more about the book you have written:
‘Willow asks Why?’ is a story about the ever-curious Willow, who begins to question why there seems to be a different set of rules, for people of different races. Packed with light-hearted illustrations, the powerful message is that we should always question the world around us and learn to see the ‘invisible’ roles that privilege & structural racism play. Only then can we challenge them.

What age group is this aimed at:
The book aims to spark conversations with kids of all ages, however if we had to give a specific age range, we’d say particularly kids between the ages of 2 and 4, as this is when they’re most vulnerable to societal stereotypes and prejudices.

What was the inspiration behind the book:
Kim is a mother of two and has a diverse family. Naturally, she began searching for locally produced children’s books that would more accurately reflect the members of her own family. She managed to find a few but not nearly enough and decided to write her own story with a focus on promoting diversity & inclusion, in a South African context.

Graham is a lifelong family friend of Kim’s, a freelance Copywriter and part time woodwork teacher at the Little Warthogs Playschool – run by his wife, an early childhood development specialist. So when Kim pitched her idea of a children’s book series promoting diversity & inclusion, Graham swapped his power tools for a pen & paper.

Where can people purchase one from:
You can order ‘Willow asks Why?’ on our website.

What is the price of the book:
Our retail price is R120 and 15% of the profits of every book purchased will go to ARNSA – The Anti-Racism Organisation of South Africa. They work closely with the Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela Foundations among many others to ensure that organisations are equipped to deal with racism within communities. Jump on to their website to find out more about their various initiatives and collaborators.

Why is this book so special to you:
Kim:
It’s a daily reminder of the strength my children gave me to step out of my comfort zone; and write a story that I believe in. There is massive racial bias in South Africa; and I would like to play an active role in trying to change this.

Graham:
Learning to navigate your way through the world can be tough, let alone when you’ve barely cut your first tooth! Working on this book was special because it has the potential to help kids ask critical questions, discuss difficult topics in an open way and hopefully make a confusing world, slightly less confusing.

Why do you think this is a conversation we should be having with kids:
Kids may begin identifying with race as early as 6 months old; and may start generalising by 2, therefore it’s super important to have these conversations as early as possible, before any misconceptions become ingrained. If kids can learn to discuss these problems when they’re young, they have the power and time to help change it.

Quote you live by:
Kim: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”
Graham: “Reading is an exercise in empathy”

Anything else you want to add:
‘Willow asks Why?’ is the first book of a series, ‘Delightful Tales About Difficult Topics’. As the name suggests, the goal of each book will be to make it easier for parents to have open & honest conversations about complex topics, not covered enough within the children’s book genre. We have some ideas for future topics but no concrete decisions have been made, so watch this space!


I am so honoured to have been able to chat to amazing people like Kim and Graham, as well as Toys With Roots last year. We need to be aware of the way we speak to and about others, and we need to show our children the importance of acceptance, inclusion, and kindness.

This book is so needed in South Africa, and I could not be more proud of these wonderful people who have taken the step and making changes for our futures.


Philippa French

When my friend Jane Linley-Thomas posted about some gorgeous earrings that she had had made by ladies living in Valley of 1000 Hills, I knew that I had discovered an absolute gem! Not only is this project empowering women, but it is also providing them with a skill that can be passed from generation to generation, and giving them a chance to earn an income so they can offer a better life for them and their families.

Philippa Spark is the wonderful lady behind this great project, and when I reached out to her to see if I could feature this business on my blog, she immediately jumped on it. And seeing the creations that have been made have really reminded me of how much I love these – and what a great Christmas gift they would make.


Your name: Philippa Spark

Business name: Philippa French

Social media handles: Instagram; Facebook and Twitter

3 fun facts about you:
• My perfect day would start with champagne and end with… champagne.
• I would love to meet, and even have lunch with, Kamala Harris.
• My dream home would be a petite penthouse apartment in the 6th or 7th arrondissement of Paris with an outdoor terrace overlooking the roof tops and chimney pots of the city I love most in the world.

Tell me a bit more about what you do:
I work with women and some men in the Valley of 1000 Hills on the outskirts of Durban, South Africa, creating beautiful, bespoke beaded items for customers the world over.

What makes your jewellery so special:
We use only the best quality glass beads out of the Czech Republic and we use only the best quality beaders. We invest a huge amount of time in proper training and therefore we have an incredible team, creating the “best of the best” items possible.

Do you do custom orders:
Yes, absolutely.

How can people order from you:
Most customers order through Instagram, which is working very well. I am always available to help and to reply to any queries that come through to me.

What is your personal favourite set:
I have many! There are so many different items to love, so it is tricky to choose, however, I do love the new range I have just launched called the “Saint Cloud” range – named after a suburb in Paris (naturally).

What have been your most popular items:
• The entire Frida range.
• Tassel earrings of all shapes and colour combinations imagineable.

Why do you encourage people to support local:
We need to do what we can to support our people. As a country we need to unite and this is a fine way to do it. We are stronger together.

Can you tell me a little more about the ladies that make these works of art:
At present we have a team of twelve ladies and one man who work with us pretty much full time. They are all (every single one of them) supporting their families through their craft and as such, every single order facilitates the upliftment and the support of multiple families in the area. A fact that makes my heart soar with joy.

Quote you live by:
“What is meant for you will not pass you by.”
“Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.”

Anything else you wish to add:
I wish only the best for our entrepreneurs, for our country, for the world. Today and every day.


Aren’t these beyond gorgeous? And wouldn’t they make such a divine Christmas gift? Please consider supporting local businesses when choosing your gifts – and what better than something unique, handmade, and put together with so much love. And I love their Christmas baubles too! Every year husband and I choose a special decoration for the year – I think I may have to order some of these for 2020.


Bitchin’ Tees

I know, it has been a while since my last blog. The last few weeks have been a blur, with many days rolling into one another, and 12 hour workdays becoming the norm. I feel like I am on a hamster wheel, and could be thrown off at any moment. BUT, I love the work that I do and am so grateful that I do still have a job after lockdown.

My feature today is on a small business that has been on my radar for some time, and I am so excited to be able to feature Bitchin’ Tees on my blog today, as I am sure that you will love Corne and her business as much as I do – plus she makes unicorn gin, which obviously peaked my curiosity even more!

I can’t wait for you to read more about her, get to know this business better, and I am sure that you will want many of her creations for yourself (and your friends).


Your name: Corne Nell

Business name: Bitchin’ Tees

Social media handles: Website, Instagram and Facebook

3 fun facts about you:
I am a jeans and tshirts kinda girl.
Although I am a very proud South African, I am very much a wannabe American – I want to celebrate all of their holidays… I am sure you would have noticed I am an avid follower of Hastag holidays. Any excuse to celebrate.
Apart from our Gin, champagne is my fav drink.

Tell me a little more about what you do:
I am a Tax Accountant by day – I work for an international IT firm’ headoffice where I look after the tax affairs of the South African entities. But by night, my the tshirt ninja makes her appearance. 😊
I studied at RAU / UJ, and I have a masters degree in South African and International Taxation. That kept the left brain Corne happy until I had kids. I started needing a creative outlet….and just after my last baby, I had the slogan tee brainwave. I have always loved slogan tees and my pinterest boards were and still is full of them. My husband has an entrepreneurial streak and he always said I should start up a little business of my own, and boom, the rest is history.

What makes your tees so special:
My tees are made by a mom, for moms! I felt the need to make lovely mommy tees and some passive agressive or quirky tees for those tough mommy days that no one really talks about. I wanted to make mamas smile amid parenting chaos. I wanted moms to feel heard. Bitchin Tees aims to celebrate all the beautiful, quirky, and funny moments of being a mom but keeping it real by letting the t-shirts say what is really on their minds.

What pushed you to start this business:
The need to eventually own my own time is what pushed me to start Bitchin’ Tees. My kids are getting bigger, and I want to be there for them as they need me for school activities etc. Also as mentioned, my husband has this entrepreneurial streak and he encouraged me to start something that I could call my own. Bitchin’ tees is my 4th baby – probably the girl that everyone keeps asking about. lol 😊

I see you have recently added gin to your range – please tell me about these:
This was all my husband. Before lockdown, he and one of his best friends ordered a copper still from Spain – for a hobby…then lockdown happened, and the delivery of our pot was seriously delayed.
Between the first and second alcohol ban, our pot managed to get through the borders and delivered. They then started playing around with rum, whiskey brandy and gin… and we called it Prohibition, cause we were in prohibition. 😊
We were doing research on gins, and flavours and I got the idea of adding edible glitter to our gin, to make it pretty….. and if you know me, you know I like anything and everything with pink, glitter and sparkle. During the research, we found our flagship flavour and an FDA approved alcohol glitter… and BOOM, “Unicorn” was born. At this point, our fantasy range was born and we have a range of gins which are as delicious as they are beautiful to look at! Magical Unicorn, Enchanted Galaxy and Mischievous Mermaids are some of the flavours in the range.

Why do you encourage people to support small businesses:
You know that old saying saying “hand made with love”…. This is why I support small businesses and would like people to support small business. I take so much care in each and every t-shirt that gets made. Getting to know my customer, why they want the slogan they have chosen and getting to be part of their everyday lives when they send me pics with them in their tees. From there a friendship blooms. They know that they are not only invoice number 2689, they are an actual person with a name. In it makes me feel amazing that I get to make a difference in someones lives… to make them feel special.

Do you do custom orders: I do – 60% of my orders are custom. 😊 again, that’s why building the relationship mentioned above is so important for me.

How can people order from you:
Online via my website.
Via Whatsapp 082 579 9648
Via email: hello@bitchintees.co.za

What have been your most popular items:
The most popular items by far were our naughty valentines briefs! Mama’s still got it for their hubbies! Lol.
Quarantine Father’s day and Mother’s day apparel was huge for obvious reasons.
After that – our Tjommies tee was a winner. This was inspired by the owner of Jelebebe Thea Jonker! A bunch of times, my friends just sends me pics of tees and I try it out. And this one was by far a hit.
Our Harry Potter Baby Items was a winner – I have a whole bunch of clients raising little wizards!

What is your personal favourite item: Anything and everything WONDER Woman and glitter …. And there is one specific cup, that I love.

Quote you live by:
Ignorance is bliss. Most of my successful endeavours were achieved when I did not know what was coming my way. If I had known, I might never have gone for it, I might have been too afraid.

Anything else you want to add:
I want Bitchin Tees to be a one-stop shop of happiness for everyone who visits my store. A shop where moms (ladies) can come to shop mainly for themselves, whilst adding little goodies for the rest of the family in the cart as well. We started with ladies T-shirts, and we added caps, tote bags, cups, baby onesies and dad tees to the site. We also now have the gin range, and we have also added the prohibition range of whiskey, rum and brandy to our shop.


Corne, you are SUCH a joy, and I have loved getting to know you better. I can’t wait until we can meet for our cake and coffee, and I definitely need some of that Unicorn Gin in my house!

Please support this stunning business for any custom orders, gift ideas, and just to spread a little more kindness in the world. You won’t regret it.


MillenniOil

Mandi was one of the first people I made contact with when I moved to Joburg.  She is such a stunning creative, and her MilleniOil rollers are a necessity in my handbag and my home.  When Mandi recently announced her new product, the wax melts, I was super excited!  I am a big fan of beautiful scents, and I love it when someone walks into our home or office and immediately comments, “oooh, that smells so good.”

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I was very fortunate to be gifted an oil burner and some wax melts by Mandi (Spicy Chai; Very Vanilla; and Pink Grapefruit and Vanilla), and I immediately set this up next to my laptop.  My favourite scent is Spicy Chai, although I have a feeling I need to stock up on all her different options to give a fair and honest review – and honestly because I want to try them all out.  Mandi does deliver these throughout South Africa, so you can place your order with her directly, and I can guarantee her knowledge of essential oils is fantastic.


Your name: Mandi Laura

Business name: MillenniOil South Africa

Social media handles: Facebook and Instagram.

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What are some fun facts about you: I asked my family to answer these for me so feel free to use whichever ones you like:
1. I am an aspiring novelist
2. I am a homeschooling Mom of 4
3. I played an elephant in The Jungle Book school play
4. I am a Reiki Master, Oracle Card Reader and Clairvoyant/Clair Audiant
5. I am the type of person that will never stand to watch life just go by
6. I love my own company
7. I am the life and soul of the party. In fact: I am the party
8. I get restless when I am not creating.
9. I am quite opinionated and have some very strict ideas about right and wrong
10. I once fought with hijackers who, by the way, didn’t get away with my car
11. If set my mind to something, I am unstoppable
12. I think that most people are arseholes
13. When I love, I love with everything in me.

Tell me a little more about your business: I make Essential Oil Rollers and Eco Friendly Soy Wax melts.

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How did you get into this: I am a qualified Aromatherapist and have always used essential oils – MillenniOil South Africa came to me in a dream and I decided it was time to get easy to use oil rollers into the hands of my friends and family. I love my home to smell beautiful and comforting so I decided to create wax melts which again makes life easier for my customers – they don’t have to fiddle with fragrances and percentages, but can just pop in a wax melt into the burner and enjoy a perfectly scented home for 8 hours.

What have been some of your most popular items to create: My Momergency Kit Essential Oil Rollers for kids aged 2-10 – the perfect little bag which fits into moms handbag and contains a roller for any kind of mom emergency.

What is your personal favourite item you have done: I absolutely love the creative process that goes into making my wax melts. Mixing “potions” and having a beautiful product is my absolute best.

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What are the different items/products you can make: I make Essential Oil Rollers for many different ailments and conditions – easy to apply without having to know anything about the oils, ratios and safe dilutions for topical use.

Are you currently running any specials: Yes! I am running a Flowercrown special. Buy 4 different boxes of wax melts (R80 for 8 melts) and get a free burner worth R40. Use code Flowercrown to claim your free burner.

How can people order from you: via DM’s on my social pages or via email millennioilrollers@gmail.com

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What is the lead time for these: A few days – I try to ship within 3 days of ordering depending on the volume of orders – some times there may be a delay because the wax melts need time to cure before burning..

Why do you encourage people to support local: By supporting local small businesses you are literally putting food on a family’s table, you are helping to grow their business from a small idea into a profitable machine. There’s the saying that every time you buy from a small business, someone does a happy dance – I promise that is true in our home. Each order is celebrated, handmade and packed with love from our home to yours.

Quote you live by: Always be kind.

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I can quite honestly vouch for Mandi’s heart, friendship and passion – and also for all of her products.  She takes great pride in everything that she does and honestly deserves all the love and support in the world.  She is a wonderful mum, wife and friend, and I know that all of you will adore her just as much as I do!

I would definitely recommend you trying her wax melts – with such a variety of scents, there is something for everyone.

Special thanks to Mands for spoiling me, and always supporting me throughout everything.  You are one in a million and I will always be grateful for you x


 

Squishy Tushy

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!

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Your name: Nuriyah Gallow

Business name: Squishy Tushy

Social media handles: Business – Facebook, Instagram and Website.  Blog – Facebook, Instagram and Website.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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

Where can people purchase these from:
www.squishytushy.co.za

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.

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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! 🙂

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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.


 

By KatyJane

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.


Your name: Katy-Jane Huemer

Business name: by Kate

Social media handles: Facebook and Instagram.  Personal Instagram.

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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.

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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 💛

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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 katyjanehuemer@gmail.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.

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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!

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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.


 

Ruby Tuesday Resin

During lockdown, I put much time and effort into finding new businesses that really spoke to me.  I spent time chatting to these business owners, and seeing who I truly resonated with.  I never want to recommend a business if the owner is unfriendly or unhelpful, and certainly if I discover bad reviews about them.

One of my absolute gems that I discovered is Ruby Tuesday Resin.  Not only is Ruby one of the kindest people I have ever met, her products are also top class and she deserves every bit of recognition that she gets.  My very own chopping board arrived this morning, and I spent some time just admiring the workmanship and love poured into this product.  It really is a statement piece, and one that I will keep safe forever.  As a friend said, they would make beautiful wedding or anniversary gifts too.  I can’t WAIT to show you more about this gorgeous business, and I can almost guarantee you will go rushing over to her social media to see more for yourself.


Your name: Ruby, Rubes, Mama, Baby

Business name: Ruby Tuesday Resin

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Social media handles: Instagram and Facebook

Tell me a bit more about your business:
I specialise in unique hand crafted resin cheeseboards, serving boards, coasters, bespoke coffee tables & artwork.

What makes your products so special: Each board is unique, not one board looks the same. Even when I use the same colours on the same night or on the same shape board, the end result still differ.

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Where did the idea to make these come from: My daughter had to do a project at university using resin. We both got so into the whole “new” resin movement and we were captured by the uniqueness of the art. I watched over 49 Meg worth of YouTube videos that month and soon I was dreaming about how to introduce it to the South African market. My Hubby soon had to become my business partner, resource manager and private banker.

Which is your personal favourite product: I import my resin and my colorants and I feel that it contributes to the uniqueness and finish of my products.

What makes your products stand out in comparison to others: I started about 3 years ago and was, and still is, one of the first people in South Africa to make resin cheeseboards. I haven’t seen another artist who’s boards/products look like my own. I love how unique each board looks & when seeing the end product, know how much work has gone into each board.

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How can people order from you: I sell mostly through my Instagram feed and stories. I have had many requests for a website but due to the nature of my art and the fact that my boards are not mass produced and that not one looks the same – each one has to be photographed and published – and sometimes they get sold before I can even upload them.

Do you do custom orders: yes I do – but there is a lead time up to 14 working days as each board gets prepped, poured in layers. Each layer has to cure and this can be effected by the weather. Then the boards get sanded and branded by hand, oiled, photographed and published.

What are the different products you make: I mainly specialise in serving boards but do coasters, coffee tables & artworks too.

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Quote you live by: ‘Lead so others will follow.’ I have had many people trying to copy and recreate my art – I see it as a compliment and inspiration. I help and give advice when people ask me – as so many has helped me on my journey.

Anything else you want to add:
Ruby Tuesday will be expanding to Kalk Bay, Bitterfontein and Franshoek soon & currently talking with a huge bespoke designer in Durban to launch a special/collaborative range. We will also be putting together some starter kits – to learn to do your own resin artwork. With this we are looking at merch and starting classes in the future & doing some exciting wine and resin evenings!

Each and every one is born with the same amount of creativity – the more you practice the better you become. I have had MANY ups and downs, failures, disappointments, financial hurdles. I’ve had the highest highs and the LOWEST lows. People have praised and criticised my art. My husband and my daughters are my biggest fans and without their support and cheers from the side-lines, I don’t think I would have been here, 3 years with countless long nights & struggles later and so proud of how far Ruby Tuesday Resin has come!

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Aren’t these absolutely dreamy?  And what a statement piece for any home.

I really encourage all of you to pop over to her social media profiles to have a look at her latest creations.  She is also running an AMAZING competition alongside some other stunning brands, and you definitely don’t want to miss out on that.

Thank you so much Ruby for your kind heart, your love, your passion and for allowing me to interview you for my blog.  It has been an honour getting to know you better, and I know that I will definitely be supporting you going forward.


 

Sunkissedstudio Design

Some time ago I wrote a blog about Samantha’s business, Sunkissed Handmade. I am a huge fan of her beautiful headgear, flower crowns, mermaid crowns and every single design she presents.  This past week I saw another post on her page where she showed the fact that she can now turn you/a loved one into a MERMAID, as well as creating digital art of your pets.  Now I don’t know about you, but I have always dreamt about being a magical being and this honestly excites me so much.  Plus I know that my animals are royalty at heart so her creations are right at the top of my birthday wishlist!

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Your name: Samantha Hanlon

Business name: Sunkissedstudio Design

Social media handles: Design – Facebook; Handmade – Facebook and Instagram; Photography – Facebook and Instagram

Tell me a bit more about how this business came about:  I have been running my own business as a freelance photographer and designer for almost 12 years now. Before I decided to work for myself, I worked as a fashion designer for suppliers to top retail stores and international brands.
I have been focusing on my photography and crown-making mostly, but when this lockdown started, I realised that it would need to change my focus.
My clients have come to expect a certain level of pretty, light and happy imagery from my photography and a delight for princesses, young and old, in my crowns. I wanted to offer the same feeling but in something digital.
I decided to promote my design page and particularly the fantasy portraits, as a whimsical escape from the harsh reality of life. They make the perfect gift in a time when we can’t leave our homes to actually give loved ones presents, and there are no courier costs involved. The A4 digital image can be sent to anyone with an email address anywhere in the world!

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Have you always been so creative:  Yes, absolutely.
I studied Textile design and then fashion design and worked in the fashion industry for many years as a graphic artist and designer, which is where I honed my photoshop skills, which came in handy when I started doing photography. I always have a creative project on the go.

Please can you tell me a bit more about the specials you are running at the moment:
I am currently offering A4 digital portraits for just R250 each during lockdown.
I have a variety of themes to choose from but an happy to make custom orders too.

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Where did these ideas come from:
I have always photoshopped fantasy images for fun, usually for birthday cards or making memes.  It always makes people so happy to get something personalised and meaningful as a gift.

Which have been your favourite mermaid & pet portraits:
I have to say, one of my favourites is the mermaid – purrmaid portrait I did of my cat Lilly.
I enjoy doing each artwork and love hearing how much my clients love them.

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Can people still order from you during lockdown & how will they receive their images:  Yes! I email your digital file to you, so it’s easy.

Who do you think your ideal clients would be:  My ideal clients are the same amazing people who love my photography and crowns.

“They are day dreamers and night thinkers, they love music, books, movies , art, sunsets, forests and oceans and all things that make this world a more beautiful place. They are people with imagination.”

What do you need from people to create these images:
I need 3-5 photographs emailed to me. I do offer some guidelines as to which sort of images work best.  You can email these through to me.

How has lockdown affected your business:
I have been unable to run my small business, I am a single mother and also support my parents and handicapped brother. So quitting is not an option.
Thankfully creativity is my super-power and I can draw on my experience and talent to keep providing for my family.

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Quote you live by:
“A person who is a master in the art of living makes little distinction between their work and their play, their labour and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation, their love and their religion.
They hardly know which is which and simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace, whatever they do.
Leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them they are always doing both”
― James A. Michener

Anything else you want to add:
Please support small businesses at this time. There is no such thing as an “essential” or” non-essential” business.
Every business is essential to the person who earns a living from it.

“Have courage and be kind….and keep day dreaming”

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Please follow all of Sam’s beautiful pages and support her artistic talent.  These would make great birthday gifts, lockdown happiness, anniversary gifts, or even simply just-because.  If you have always dreamed of magic, or if your daughter/niece/friend has a vivid imagination; why not make it a reality.  Or if your pets personality makes you picture them as a dame from the 1920s, or a court jester, or even a student at Hogwarts – make this happen by contacting Sam.  Her talent truly knows no bounds and she is one of the kindest people I have ever dealt with.

VA-Tungsten

I scour the internet daily for competitions that I can enter – and hopefully win something. I have been quite lucky, but husband is forever saying to me, “Can’t you enter a competition that I benefit from as well?” So around Valentine’s Day I entered a few competitions with goodies for HIM, & I won the best prize of all – a ring from VA-Tungsten.

Warren used to work in finance. So yes, he was that man that was smartly dressed in a suit, with his hair combed and perfectly polished shoes. Unfortunately he was retrenched, and searched for over a year for a job. He knew he didn’t want to go back into this industry, and I have to say that I was grateful for this too. I feel like he lost a bit of his soul whilst working as a financial advisor, and he often came home more stressed than is healthy. So when he told me he wanted to work with cars, I was super excited – not only for him, but also for us as a family as I could see his happiness returning in leaps and bounds.

So he joined with 2 mates and began their business of car restoration. He works hard every single day and comes home filthy dirty, and stinking like oil and grease. But boy oh boy is he happy! And that makes me happy.

Back to why I was so excited to win this ring for him though… His original wedding band has my dad’s wedding ring melted down into Warren’s ring he had – so it holds a lot of sentimental value. And working with his hands, as well as getting down and dirty in the engines and running of cars meant this was getting scratched and damaged during his daily activities. He started to remove his ring when he left in the mornings, and this is just made juju in my opinion! So having a hardy tungsten ring was the best option.

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Plus did I mention how flipping gorgeous his ring is? We were given the choice of any ring on their website, and we spent ages scouring through what they have available before settling on TUR750 as what he wanted, and then popped into our local jeweller to get the correct sizing before placing our order. Within 2 days the ring was delivered to my office and it was even better than I hoped.  It is heavy, bold & absolutely gorgeous.

Keep reading to learn a little more about them…


Your name: Jason Steyn

Business name: VA-Tungsten

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Social media handles: Facebook, Instagram and Website

Tell me a bit more about what you do: We supply men’s Tungsten, Damascus and Silicone wedding bands.

What makes your jewellery different to others: Our service. (this I can definitely vouch for!)

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Do you do custom pieces: We used to, and maybe if we have the time.

Who are your target audience: Ladies and Men who are getting married mostly, and also ladies buying gifts for their partner or spouse. Also guys who have lost their rings.

Where can people buy your products from: We supply retailers throughout the country, and from us through our website, Facebook or phoning us on 031 205 0319.

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How did your business start: 15 Years ago from a “Tikkie Box” telephone on the road.

Is there anything else you want to add: We try and make our part in the wedding process as stress free, and joyful as possible for the bride and the groom.

Quote you live by: In the Bible it says “By the measure you measure, it will be measured unto you, pressed down, shaken and overflowing.”

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Tungsten Wedding Rings
The Ancient Egyptians believed that the vein that runs through the third finger on the left hand flowed directly to the heart. The Romans called it the Vena Amoris, meaning ‘Vein of Love’. As a ring has no beginning or end, it symbolizes love and unity…

Tungsten carbide is the new, most popular metal today for men’s wedding ring. The heavy weight and luxurious finish of a tungsten carbide ring speak of commitment, strength and an everlasting bond. The metal will always maintain its beautiful, scratch-resistant finish, making them the perfect choice for your loved ones wedding ring.

At VA Tungsten, we identified the need within men’s jewellery for a hard wearing, affordable ring that offers durability and sophistication. Men’s wedding rings up to now have been limited to very simple designs, and with much of a selection. Most of the men’s rings available today that are made from expensive, precious metals are all prone to scratches and abrasion, and some of these metals are almost impossible to remove in an emergency.

Tungsten is one of the safest metals on the market and with its unique comfort-fit design, they are not only comfortable to wear, the comfort fit acts as a cushion which helps the ring grip onto your finger. Our hand-picked selection of rings includes black-plating, ceramic and carbon fiber inlays that are fused into the metal, giving you a unique variety of tungsten rings to choose from. Our exclusive range of tungsten rings are a fraction of the price when compared to other precious metal wedding rings, but offers the same feeling of elegance and class. They are modern, bold and above all, strong!

For information, please contact us on 031-205 0319 or email sales@va-tungsten.com.

Tungsten Carbide – ‘A tough metal for a tough guy’

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Warren now wears his wedding band daily, and with pride. And we have got so many comments about how much other people like it too! I was also so impressed by the level of care I received during the whole decision of which one to choose, and the speed at which this was delivered to us.

If you are looking for a new wedding band, or even just a ring for a special occasion, I would really recommend you visit their website or pop Jason a message to find out more.

Enjoy!


 

Moo Cachoo

As I am sure you know by now, finding hidden gems of South African greatness is something that makes me very happy!  Somehow many of these seem to be baby/kids goods, even though I am not a mother myself.  I don’t know if it is the Facebook & Instagram algorithms that are seeing how much I love unicorns or the interest I have shown in similar businesses, but I am not complaining.  Many of my friends are parents, or soon-to-be-parents, & there is nothing I love more than being that “aunty” that can spoil them rotten with special gifts that nobody else has.

When Moo Cachoo came up on my recommended pages, I was immediately drawn into their whole vibe & the products that they have available.  They are just so unique, beautiful & trendy – whilst still serving a definite purpose & use.


Your name: Megan Pretto
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Business name – Moo Cachoo
What do you do – I am the director/owner of Moo Cachoo. (I also do pretty much all the behind the scenes running of the business too!)
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How long have you been doing this for – 4 and a half years ( since the birth of my first daughter – she was the inspiration behind it)
Why do you love what you do – it’s such a wonderful industry, and I love being able to be creative as well as balance my time to be flexible to be with my daughters too.
What makes you stand out – the products we make have been tested out by me during my motherhood journey and are both practical and beautiful
Why do you encourage people to support local – you are helping support a mom, a family and a dream. I have employed 2 female mothers who are my seamstresses so it goes much further than just me!
Where are you based – we are based in Honeydew, JHB. (But we can courier nationwide)
How can people get hold of you – email megan@moocachoo.co.za or 0827677473
Do you take special orders for unique items – YES we love custom orders!
What are your most popular items – we are well know for our car chair covers and definitely our Hanging tent canopies!
Social media handlesFacebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Website
Quote you live by – Love the life you live and live the life you love!
Anything else you want to add – We are launching Moo Cachoo’s sister company Smoochee soon – watch out for it!!!
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Don’t these products make you so excited?  Aren’t they just stunning?

Please remember to support local wherever possible.  We have such beautiful talent here, & the quality is always something that makes me even more passionate about supporting small businesses.  We can all do our bit!

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