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Msulwa Life

When I first discovered Msulwa Life, it was through their reusable cotton rounds. I had begun to truly be aware of the waste I was producing during my skincare, and was desperate to find an alternative. I didn’t want to use the regular cotton wool or cotton rounds for cleansing and toning my face, and immediately placed an order for their collection of reusable cotton rounds – and have honestly never looked back. And then I began following them, and was amazed by all that they had on offer – from skincare, to soaps, to scrubbies, and so much more. I reached out to Megan and asked if I could do a feature on her, as I really feel we should all be more aware of not only our waste, but also using products that are kind to our environment and our skin.

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Your name: Megan Miller

Business name: Msulwa Life

Social media handles: Facebook, Instagram and Website

Tell me a bit more about your business: Msulwa Life is a South African online store that creates and sells unique eco-friendly and natural products. Msulwa is an isiZulu word that means Pure, Innocent and Clean in English. We loved these meanings as it perfectly represents our brand’s vision, together with being South African. The Pure reflects that our products are free from harmful chemicals, the Innocent reflects that we don’t use animal products and are cruelty free and the Clean reflects that our products are eco-friendly, protecting the environment in as many ways as possible.

What are 3 fun facts about you:
1) I never follow a recipe – I prefer experimenting in the kitchen!
2) I like to ride motorbikes and do adventurous activities
3) I’m always thinking of new and creative projects

What made you decide to start this business: The concept and dream of Msulwa Life has been on my mind for a few years. I qualified as a Biokineticist in 2014 and then headed over to the UK and Europe where I worked abroad for 5 years as a Carer and then as a 2nd Stewardess/ Personal Trainer on a Superyacht. This is where I was exposed to a large amount of unnecessary waste and at the same time saw new ways of being more of a conscious and environmentally aware person. Over the years working abroad, my appreciation and love for South Africa was cemented and I came to realise Africa is my remarkable home and where I decided to return! I came back in February 2020, where I began Msulwa Life, running this eco store online which launched in March 2020.09.

What makes your products so unique: Msulwa Life’s products are unique because they all strive to achieve all 3 of the Pure, Innocent and Clean aspects that represent our brand and Msulwa meaning. We believe that these are the 3 vital components that we all should strive to align in our lives in order to achieve an optimal human lifestyle that is in harmony with the earth.
We therefore create and source products that are Vegan, Plastic Free, Natural, Chemical Free, Organic, Zero Waste, Cruelty free and Sustainable.

What is your personal favourite product: The Natural Body Moisturizer with Geranium & Lavender together with the Natural Facial Moisturiser with Sea Buckthorn are my Favourite! They really are refreshing, nutritious and are amazing on the skin.

What have been your most popular items: The most popular product is the Reusable Facial Rounds – I have been really impressed by how many people have switched from disposable cotton rounds and are so much more eco-conscious! The rounds have often been chosen with the Konjac Sponges, Bamboo Toothbrushes, Tooth Treatment Paste, Organic Dental Floss and Msulwa Soaps!

Why do you wish people would make use of more eco-friendly items: I had learnt great appreciation for Health and the Environment after a lot of research of how important our food and product choices are to our bodies and the Earth. I discovered that a Plant Based diet has been seen to be the healthiest diet for humans. This also exposed me to the devastating impact of the animal agricultural industry on our food quality, the shocking animal brutality and that this industry is the biggest contributor to global warming and environmental destruction – it was a huge realisation on how unaware we all are of this industry. I wanted to create more environmental awareness to South Africans and provide products that easily help people transition into a more sustainable lifestyle. The earth is at a critical stage of its survival, and if everyone started to be active and take individual responsibility, we can make drastic improvements to the earth’s and our health!

How can people purchase from you:
• Visiting our online store is the easiest way to browse through our whole Msulwa Life’s product range.
• Enjoy reading the product descriptions and learning about how each product will benefit you and your eco-friendly lifestyle.
• Add your chosen items to your cart and then choose from many secure online payments options including EFT, credit/debit card, Payfast and Zapper.
• Once you have made your order, we will instantly receive it and then begin putting it all together for you.
• When your parcel is ready, you will be notified with your Courier’s tracking number via email. Easily follow your parcels journey all the way to your door which will take 2-4 days.
• We securely courier all over South Africa!

Quote you live by:

“When your passion and purpose are greater than your fears and excuses, you will find a way.”

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Enjoying what you do and having a desire for what you want to achieve, is really the foundation for success. I haven’t yet got close to my environmental and business goals, but I feel I am on the right track!
I knew that I would only reach my full potential and be the most effective in the world when I pursue my passions and utilise my skills in directions that I was truly interested in, and this is Msulwa Life.

Anything else you want to add: I qualified as a Biokineticist in 2014 and then headed over to the UK and Europe where I worked abroad for 5 years as a Carer and then as a 2nd Stewardess/ Personal Trainer on a Superyacht. This is where I was exposed to a large amount of unnecessary waste and at the same time saw new ways of being more of a conscious and an environmentally aware person.


I can’t wait to purchase more items from this stunning range, and also to know that I am doing all I can to live a better life, and protect our beautiful world.

Which of these are on your wishlist? I would definitely recommend the reusable cotton rounds for each and every person.

Thank you Megan for your time, your passion, but most of all for wanting to make a real difference and spread kindness everywhere. You are one in a million.


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T. Knots

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.

Your name:  Taryn Wessels

Business name:  T. Knots

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Social media pages:  Facebook and Instagram

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!!

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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!

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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!

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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”

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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.


 

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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.


 

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Sugar & Paper

This time last year I had my fundraiser, The Snow Ball, to raise funds for my life-saving stem cell transplant.  I was blown away at the generosity of everyone that I knew, as well as those that I had never met.  Liezl was one of those very special people that didn’t even know me, yet sponsored the most gorgeous (& delicious) snowflake biscuits for everyone that attended my event.  The biscuits didn’t even make it home as they were all gobbled up at the event!

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Then, my friend Jenny spoilt us all at Rare with a box of Christmas-themed cookies, & as soon as I saw them I knew that I had to reach out to Liezl & feature her on my blog.  Besides looking absolutely amazing, they are the most yummy biscuits you will ever taste.  Read on to find out more about this beautiful lady & her biccy business.

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Your name: Liezl Veiga

Business name: Sugar & Paper

Social media handles: Instagram and Facebook

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Tell me a bit more about your business: I have been a freelance Graphic Designer since 2013, but having always loved parties and baking and after being encouraged by friends (and my first cookie “order”) I decided to start my party planning business, Sugar & Paper. I call myself “a celebration enthusiast” – I can conceptualise, design, coordinate and style your event, and even bake the tasty treats. A one-stop-shop of good taste!

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Where did your passion for baking come from: I have always loved baking and the rule in our house growing up was “you make the mess, you clean it”. So my sister and I baked often! Baking is a productive form of self-expression and communication. It’s also a form of mindfulness and altruism – at the heart of baking for others is the very act of giving. And, although, people pay me for my cookies, it will never cover the amount of time and love I pour into every baked creation.

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How did you learn all the amazing royal icing techniques: I have actually never taken a cookie class – I learned through trial and error. Lots of error! Also, YouTube and social media are great places to watch tutorials etc.

What makes your cookies different to those you can get in the shops: My cookies are made with quality ingredients, real butter, free range eggs and lots of love! I think my attention to detail sets me apart.

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What are some of the events you make cookies for: I make cookies for birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, corporate events – anything really! Even just to fill your cookie jar at home.

Whereabouts are you based: I am in Linmeyer, Johannebsurg South.

How can people place an order with you: They can email me hello@sugarandpaper.co.za or visit my site.

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How far in advance should people place an order with you: The sooner the better, as I book up fast! Ideally, I need confirmation and full payment 2 weeks before collection.

Do you sell Christmas cookies, & do you have extra in stock: I haven’t taken Christmas pre-orders as yet this year but have just posted some!

What have been your favourite cookies that you have made so far: It’s so difficult to choose! I love just about every set I send out as it’s a part of my creativity 🙂

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Why do you encourage people to support small businesses: I encourage people to support small business because you are helping someone live their dream! Handmade items are always more expensive than store bought, but that’s because they are bespoke – that item that’s handmade, has been created from precious time that was spent designing, searching for materials, creating the product, finishing, packaging, cleaning! It’s also hours of failures, experimentation, frustrations, and moments of pure joy. It’s a piece of their soul, their heart and a moment of someone’s life!

Quote you live by: Don’t sweat the small stuff 😉

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Anything else you want to add:
I hope to build Sugar & Paper into a brand that people will immediately think of when it comes to parties. Right now, I seemed to have slid more into the cookie side of my talents, but hope that I will be able to become ever more involved in the design side too.

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Aren’t her creations absolutely stunning?

I could spend hours getting lost in Liezl’s images on her social media pages, & can definitely vouch that these cookies taste just as good as they look.

Ok I need to go now, my mouth is watering & I my tummy is grumbling.  Liezl I’m coming for you!


 

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Her Lief

I recently posted a request for local businesses to contact me if they would like me to do a feature on them.  I didn’t expect many messages to be honest, but the first I got was from Her Lief.

I immediately went over to her page, & began looking at her images as well as all the comments from her followers.  And I have to say, I am super impressed. Nicole was so friendly & I love what she is doing with using pre-loved goodies to make absolutely gorgeous jewellery.  So hold onto your seats – this is a fab business!

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Your name: Nicole

Business name: Her-Lief

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Social media handles: Instagram Facebook

Tell me a bit more about your business: I make Re-loved jewellery. Jewellery that gives junk a new life.

What makes your jewellery so unique: I bridge the fine line between costume (non-precious fashion jewellery,) and fine handmade jewellery, usually reserved for diamonds and gold. It’s no-mans-land, which makes it both nerve-wrecking and oh-so exciting!

Do you do custom orders: Most definitely, they’re the most challenging, and also my favourite!

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Where can people order from: Direct message on Instagram or Facebook. Alternatively my website which has a small standard range.

Have you always been a crafty person: Yes, I used to make jewellery from washers.

What has been your favourite creation so far: A sacred heart pendant made from melted bottle caps. It has been one of those memorable pieces that has inspired more designs, and gives me new breath from which to create!

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Quote you live by:Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion” – Rumi

Anything else you want to add: In short, my pieces are about the curiosity of the possibility of things. When is the cycle of things truly closed?

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Don’t you adore these?  They are so unique & beautiful, & would make such a statement.  They are the perfect gift for Christmas, or even a Secret Santa that you are looking for something special.

PLUS – keep an eye on our pages, as there is going to be a giveaway coming up shortly!  Yay!


 

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Love For A Little

Sometimes there are things that I come across that just touch my heart, & that I wish had been around when I was a child.  When I first saw “Happy To Be Me”, it was something that drew me in immediately & I knew that I had to find out more.  Then I saw that one of my favourite small businesses (Charlie Loves Studio) was involved as well & I took this as another reminder that I needed to reach out immediately!

I absolutely adore the look of this book & definitely want to order one for my friend’s little girl.  I think it is so important to encourage kids to see that being different is ok & that they should love themselves for who they are.  It is something I still battle with so I wish this book had been around when I was little.


Your name:  Jessica Smith

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Business name:  My business, which I suppose it is now (still cannot believe it), is called Love for a Little, or Have Love For A Little Heart, in full.

Social media handles:  Facebook & Instagram

What do you do:  I teach in a Grade 1 classroom as an assistant teacher and am in my final year of studying Foundation Phase Education. I also Au Pair for a family with three little girls, who are 7,5 and 4 years old… I started there when the youngest was 18 months old, so I am extremely close to them and share an amazing bond with the family, loving the girls like I would my own. My first book is dedicated to them. I then also run Love For A Little, which started as, and occasionally still is, a blog where I document my journey of working with children in all settings, and has now become my business, where I sell my books and now character doll as well. I write children’s books and illustrate my own as well. I am hoping to develop my “brand” to one day have my own store, fully stocked with my own books, dolls of all my characters, pajamas, nursery prints and all sorts, all to do with my characters. (A girl can dream).

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Tell me a bit more about your book:  My book is the first of my range that will deal with emotional issues and topics. It is about a little fox, Daphne May, who is a little smaller than the rest and she struggles to find her place in her big, wide world. There are unkind words and confirmation of her fears dragging her down, and although the calm and constant reassurance from her mamma is there, she cannot seem to shake needing approval from others. She decides to move on and focus on finding new friends, when she ends up being needed and helping BECAUSE of the very reason she felt odd, and so she learns the worthiness of herself, despite the odd challenge it may present. Loving herself was important and those who did not, simply lacked understanding, but one day they will know, one day we all will. I am only 23 and struggle all the time to stop negative self-talk and terrible thoughts about myself and the parts of me that I so wish to change… It has become really important to me to stop this and to start loving and accepting myself for who I am, because let’s face it, what we are so hung up over, is often not even noticed by the people around us and we end up wasting so much time worrying about ourselves, that we forget to be happy and to LIVE comfortably and confidently and to be ALIVE in our amazing bodies, that do so much for us.

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Why do you think the theme & lesson from your book is so important for everyone:  Since working with little ones is my absolute passion, it became so important to me to try and change this body image struggle that we face in today’s society and with today’s social media pressures…

How did you come up with this idea:  My girls that I au pair and the children that I teach always tell me how beautiful I am and compliment me on every little thing I do and move I make… One day, I actually felt so guilty about the way I felt about myself, because how dare I see myself as anything less than perfect, when I have a thousand little eyes loving on me and all that I do, everyday? So I thought to myself that writing this story would hopefully feed them so much self-love and help them to realize that it is completely okay to be different and to look different, and that we need to embrace our own uniqueness and accept ourselves, and also accept those around us, for all that we are, and for all that we are not. That is not to say that there won’t be unkind words and comments from others, dragging us down, but we need to teach our children that despite what others may think, do or say, what truly matters, is what comes from within. I wanted to give children the tools to understand that they are special and that they are needed in this world and to also understand how important it is to realize that accepting themselves and others is important for us to realize our importance. I could go on and on and on, but in the end the message is strong, bold and extremely simple: JUST LOVE. I have loved children’s books from day one of working with them and being exposed to it again in my adult life. It takes you on a journey of humor and hidden messages that we never quite stop needing to hear. I love that I can reach adults and children through my books, as they read to their little ones.

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How long has it taken for this to come into being a physical book from your first idea:  I wrote the book one evening and it sat around for a year and a bit, needing illustrations… I didn’t believe that I had what it takes, but when I realized that no one was going to make my ideas come to life, I got to it myself, and I was surprised as what I could create. I always wanted it to be child-like, imperfect, watercolor happiness and I tried to achieve just that. In about two years from when I wrote the story, I published it myself.

Have you always wanted to write & illustrate a book:  I have always loved writing and never knew what to write, so when I found this passion and love for children’s literature, I knew I had a dream to harvest.

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I see another one is in the pipeline – can you tell us more:  In a couple days, my second book will be printed and on sale, called “See You Later Alligator”  It deals with separation anxiety and coping mechanisms for children, promoting independence and confidence, reassuring them…

I am super excited to see that you have done a colab with Charlie Loves Studio. How did this come about:  When I saw Charlie’s work, I immediately had a vision and acted on it. It started with me sending her an Instagram message and when she said she was keen to take on the challenge, I knew I would not stop until we could make it a reality!

Where can people buy your package (book & doll) from:  If people want my book, they can buy it from Blume co. (boutique in Port Elizabeth) or Summerlane and Little Things (both stores in East London), otherwise our online stores are Bella Poppelina, Nordic Munki, Baby Bug Boutique, Laatlam Gifts and now of course, Charlie Loves Studio. To get the book and doll package, you can message or email me or Charlie Loves… We are currently promoting the package at a special price of R395 for both, IF your order is in before Wednesday! (The book retails for R120 and the doll for R325, with a combo deal of R425), So R395 gives a great discount and saving! Please, anyone who is keen, can contact me for any questions, I am always so happy to help (loveforalittle@gmail.com or 0835559204).

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Quote you live by:  I have all these wild dreams and started with nothing and it all seemed impossible, but I did not stop until it was done and now I just dream all day and work so hard to make sure that I realize all my dreams for the future, because I want to make a difference, and I want to keep living out my dreams forever… So I would say, on that note, that something simple I love to hear and to believe in and to preach is: “YOU CAN”, you are never too old, too young, too poor or too bad at something. Believe in yourself and always remember that “YOU ARE YOUR MINDSET”.


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How did you become involved in this project:  Jessica messaged me and asked if I would make her a doll based on her lead character. I had to check it out and loved what I saw – the message was about self acceptance and self love and it appealed to the Charlie Loves brand as well as the heart of a mother.
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What made it really stand out for you:  The message. We all want to be loved and accepted, its a basic human need. But the reality is that we live in a world where there is far too much opinion and comparisons. If I asked you if you wanted to created a different reality for your children, one where they are confident and love themselves in a balanced way, and not let the opinions of others shape their worlds – I’m sure you would raise your hands and say, “yes, yes, yes”. So when Jessica brought the book to me – I said YES! As a mother of a 3 year old and 5 year old, I know that I have a key job in laying a solid foundation on which my kids can ground themselves when life happens. Many habits are behaviors that instilled from little and are hard to break as we progress – self love and acceptance (not arrogance and entitlement) is a gift that I can try to instill in my princesses and books like these make it able to not only tell little ones, but also show them. I know that this book is going to touch parents lives and little hearts in such a big way. To think that I had a part in all of this is a huge blessing – am so grateful that Jess asked me.
How long did it take you to bring Daphne May to life:  Gosh, I think it took as 3 to 4 months to get here – it was between my peak season and holidays too – so perhaps that’s why.
That and I suppose my dolls are trial and error – this means that I design my dolls from scratch and there are a couple of flops before we get it right.
Tell me more about JAM:  Joint Aid Management – or JAM, is an institution that helps Africa help itself – by teaching them to farm the land and feed the most vulnerable. Children. My heart hurts when a child (born in innocence) has to suffer the pains of not only impoverishment, but undernourishment and hunger – I also feel for the parents – I can only imagine the emotion pain a parent goes through when they find themselves in circumstances so desperate, that as much as they try – its never enough. (If you have Netflix – watch the story: “The boy who chased the wind” – a beautiful program of perspective and hope).  I cant save the entire world, but I can do something, no matter how small – and that for me is JAM – one meal at a time.
How does buying this combo benefit more than what people realize:  Daphne becomes more than a fictitious character – because she is tangible, children find her all the more relatable.
I wont be surprised is Daphne soon becomes a close friend and lovey.
I see unfold in my minds eye – a mommy notices that her child has been very quiet and excluded at play school (I’ve met enough mummy friends to know this is a reality :). Then, just as if by magic, mommy comes across a little fox named Daphne May and her story – that night mommy and her child go on an adventure with Daphne May – they both unravel a real life lesson as they read the book together … the next morning mommy hands Daphne over to her precious little one and whispers something in her ear…Daphne is a symbol of courage and like all of her dolls, she is more than just a doll.
Oh be still my heart – if this is what a book and a doll have helped accomplish, it is the greatest reward.
Anything else you want to add:  I love what I do and it is such a pleasure and honor to work with Jessica Smith 🙂 – I’m sure there are many more characters to come and more books too. 

Today (27/03/2019) is the last day you can place your order for the special offer at their discounted price, so make sure you get in quickly!  I really think this is a book that we can all learn from – no matter.  Plus the fact that Daphne May has been brought to life makes it all that much more exciting.  I can’t wait to cuddle my very own…


 

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Mox and Louise

You guys!  I have been so flipping excited about doing this blog post, as these are the most gorgeous unique dolls that are created by Igna.  Every time I see another one of her posts showing her latest designs brought to life.  The thing I love best about these is that they are all so special & all have their own personality.  So before I continue blubbing on, I will let Mox & Louise speak for herself…


Name: Igna (Louise) Schwartz – Louise is my middle name, and was my grandmother’s name. She was the creative vein in the family tree. Using her name for this venture is like a little nod of acknowledgement. The Mox part is basically a “nickname” for mosquitopress, which is also my email. “Mosquitopress” is a very interesting story, not really relevant here, but if you are interested, let me know!
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Business name: Mox & Louise
Social media: Instagram Facebook & Etsy 
How can people order from you:  South Africans (locals!) are welcome to contact me directly via Instagram or email.
What makes your goodies different to others:  I’m currently working on a authentication site (using QR codes) where you will be able to register your doll as an original and unique Mox & Louise creation, a one of a kind art doll. Future plans are to set up my own online shop, but until then my dolls are only available directly from me or from Etsy. Not keen on commissions as I like to follow my own muse, but let’s discuss.
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Tell me more about what you do:  I’m mostly self-taught as far as sewing goes, and that started when I was six. I can remember sewing on my mother’s sewing machine on the dining room table and not being able to reach the pedal unless I did it standing up! The first things I sewed were dolls’ clothes of course and later on clothes for myself. Later in life as an art student it was a very helpful skill as I could dress myself in all kinds of crazy as well as make soft sculptures.
So, after many years in advertising I quit to raise my boys. My creativity always needed an outlet though so at first I painted. Fun, happy whimsical paintings. Then came the bohemian handbag phase. About 1000 hand-stitched and beaded OTT boho handbags later I was totally over it. The bag business grew too big and started losing it’s shine for me. Admin, CMT issues, crazy production schedules – it was really not appealing any more. But it was huge fun while it lasted!
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Next came Ebony & Ivory, a partnership with an old friend. We’ve been in business now for almost 16 years and jointly own a ribbon, craft and vintage shop in Cape Town. (check out ebonyandivoryribbons.co.za or Instagram or on Facebook if you want). That’s still going strong, but I started feeling the need for a different creative outlet. Something where I didn’t need to consider bulk production, or costings, or any of that grown up retail stuff. I just wanted to quietly potter and create again in my studio, at my own pace, just sommer doing things I love with no pressure. Initially I played around with textile jewellery and all kinds of experimental nicknacks. Then one day, for no apparent reason, I decided to made a doll. In all the years I sewed and made stuff, I never once made a doll! So this calling was totally out the blue. I tried making a few dolls, all of them technically failures. As I was driving along one day, a picture of a doll flashed through my head. I couldn’t wait to get home to try it, and voilá! The first little Mox & Louise art doll saw the light! She was really weird and quirky, but a few dolls later I got the hang of it. I think what makes my dolls different to others are their whimsy and physical attributes. It’s a combination of fabric and wire and paint and buttons and dressing up and theatre. They are inhabitants of my imagination, and each one are created spontaneously without pattern or plan.
Favourite products: not sure if we are talking dolls here. If so, that’s a hard one as I am part of a very creative, imaginative and dynamic doll community on Instagram. There are some truly wonderful doll artists out there! If it’s a general question…my new thing is natural, organic locally made cosmetics. Honeybush goodies. Lotions and potions. Makers tapping into our amazing array of local plants and traditions to create very good products.
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The Quote I live by: Don’t postpone any fun you could be having today till tomorrow.

This was such a fun “chat” to have, & I am so grateful that Igna took time out of her extremely busy schedule to answer my questions & let me know a little more about her very special business.  Make sure you follow her on her social media platforms & order one of your very own – I am still trying to decide which ones are my favourite as I just adore them all!

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Sillybilly

I came across this great clothing line a while ago, & when I started reading more about them it truly pulled on my heart & I knew that more people needed to know about this.  A girl I went to college with always dresses her daughter in the most gorgeous outfits, & when I saw this brand tagged in one of her posts I immediately set to finding out more!

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The top definition of a “sillybilly” is as follows: A person, who acts in a special way and is not afraid to do so. Usually a small, cute, person who is very happy and can make you laugh whenever they want to. Also some one who is very fun to be around and acts in the silliest way possible.
“Why are you so cute, you sillybilly.”
#silly #cute #funny #entertaining #fun


Your Name:  Joy
Your Business Name:  Sillybilly / Sillybillie.  Sillybilly is spelt two ways : SILLYBILLY and SILLYBILLIE . For boys products I use the Y and girls products I use the IE.  Just a fun way to distinguish gender fabrics.
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Social Media Handles:  Facebook & Instagram – Sillybilly / Beanys Biters
What do I do?  I create beautiful handmade, affordable quality boys and girls baby harems, bloomers, rompers and suspender skirts…. and this is only the beginning!  Michaela, my Down Syndrome daughter, handmakes teething rings and teething bracelets called Beany Biters. These are made from quality silicone beads and wooden rings. Only child safe quality will do!
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How did I start?  My daughter Megan fell pregnant with my gorgeous grandson, Scott. I relished in this idea of being a grandmother so decided to make him something special and sewed some beautiful harems for her nappy party. When my gift was opened my children suggested I sew to sell and open a business.  I had been retrenched a few months earlier so I took the bull by the horns (I will admit I was nervous). I took what little savings I had at the time and bought fabric. I created a few pieces and we created my Instagram and Facebook page and I have never looked back.  Sillybilly was born. Having Michaela at home with me most of the time (she loves to thread things) we decided to incorporate baby teethers, made from scratch by her. Beany Biters then started.
What makes my products special?  Every stitch, every button and every item is made by me and me alone, from start to finish. I don’t use an assistant or a CMT. In doing this I am able to keep my prices affordable, hence you don’t need to pay a lot of money to dress your baby beautifully. Quality control is of utmost importance. I will even redo the label if it does not look straight. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to Sillybilly.
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Most popular item?  This has to be my highwaisted girls bloomers. I can’t tell you how many I have made. I think it’s the soft, cool feel and the beautiful colors. Pop them over a nappy on a hot day and “walla” you have a gorgeous baby!
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My personal favourite? Every piece I see on a baby is my favourite.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a piece come to life from a flat piece of fabric on a roll.
How do people order?  I have an online store. Its proved to be so easy and for me it’s been amazing. Getting orders via email, I get stuck in and courier them off as soon as I can. Please pop in and have a look
My daughter Michaela.   Michaela was born with Down Syndrome.  She is 23 years old and attends a special needs college called Careways in Kloof, Durban. She loves dancing and dances with Flatfoot Dance company in Durban. Her nickname is Beany (comes from calling her Michaela Bean!) so when we were thinking of a name for her business my daughter in law said “Beany Biters”. She takes great pride in her work and gets super excited when an order for them comes through.
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What quote do I live by?  Mmmmm a hard one as there are so many.  But one that comes to mind is “NEVER DOUBT ONESELF!!!” If I had just doubted myself for second at that nappy party I would not have this precious business.
Anything else to add?  My fabrics are mostly chosen by my daughter Megan.  She has graphic design flare behind her, young and knows her stuff! She is my amazing marketing lady who runs her own digital marketing business so I’m fortunate to have her run my pages.
My third bedroom is turned into my studio where I have three trusty Bernina machines. Frankly it’s my “happy place!”
I have been married to Ronny for 10 years. He supports me 100% in what I do and love. My whole family is behind me and tell me every day how proud they are. So for this I THANK YOU SILLYBILLY  🙂
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With all my friends that are currently pregnant, or just recently given birth to their own gorgeous miracle, I know that they are certainly going to be getting gifts from this company!  A mum & daughter duo with a passion for what they do makes my heart so very happy.  And does this not remind you that you can set out to achieve whatever you wish; regardless of what society says “no” to?

Please support Sillybilly & Beany Biters.  Because we all deserve that little bit of good in our lives!


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The Curious Kitten

With 2 ladies at my work expecting their own little miracles, babies are definitely on the brain!  I have always much preferred supporting a small business & getting something special for baby showers, although can’t resist popping into the chain stores for a few cute little outfits!

While exploring the world of social media, I came across this great little business that makes the most gorgeous custom baby mobiles & toys.  Her images immediately drew me in & I knew that I had to order some of these goodies for my friends.

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Your name: Kim du Plessis

Business name: The Curious Kitten

Social media handles: InstagramFacebook

Tell me a bit more about what you do:  I create mostly hand sewn baby décor items. I have recently dusted of my sewing machine as well to combine the two to create items.

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When did you start & what made you want to start this business:  I started in January this year. I made mobiles before as gifts for my friends who encouraged me to start this. It has been so much fun and I have surpassed my expectations of what I thought would come from it.

What did you do before this:  It is a part-time hobby business. My day job is as a scientist in the food industry.

Do you do custom pieces:  YES!! I am not a fan of repeating the same item and love a new challenge! So custom orders are most welcome and encouraged.

What are some of your most popular pieces:  Woodlands and llama themed orders as well as baby gyms and dangles.

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Can people still order from you for Christmas:  Currently I am a bit busy so will not be taking new orders but orders can be placed for shipping in January.

How do people place an order with you:  They can email me or send a message via IG or Facebook.

Why do you encourage people to support local:  Local small businesses form out of a passion for their trade. To support that makes for a happy a passionate individual (which is good for society) and creates the opportunity for the business to grow and thus lead to potential job creation.

Quote you live by:  If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. – Napoleon Hill


Don’t you think that her creations are absolutely gorgeous?  They will fit in with any theme & truly be the finishing touch in any baby room (or even a small child’s room really).  I will show you pics of what I have ordered when they arrive & my friend who is receiving them – just have to keep it under wraps until then…  But boy oh boy am I super excited to see how these come out!

Please remember to support local.  I just love Kim & her majestic designs!  There are so many different creations & themes that I honestly can’t tell you which is my favourite – although of course the unicorn is right up there for me.


 

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Ella and Jo

When looking for clothing for your precious miracles, don’t you love finding handmade items that are unique & beautiful?  Don’t you love knowing that these have been designed by a fellow parent & that they come from a place of passion for only the very best for your mini-me?

I know that when I have a child this is what I will look for, & that when I am getting something special for a friend’s little one, this is what I love to find!  I was so thrilled to discover Ella & Jo, & as I found out more about why she started this business, & why she loves what she does, I knew that she deserves all our love & support.


Your name: Kelsea Jade Versfeld

Business name: Ella & Jo

Social media handles: FacebookInstagram
Website to be launching very soon!

More about what you do: I am 24 years old turning 25 in January.
I am almost 7 months pregnant with a little girl due on the 3rd January. Still working hard as ever running Ella & Jo and also working a half day job in Real Estates
(For Ella & Jo I do everything myself from pattern making, garment making, fabric buying, thread cutting, invoicing, liaising with clients, packaging and arranging daily deliveries).
I have recently gotten sales marketing agents on board and also 1 lady to assist me with sewing once or twice a week and 1 lady to assist with the crocheting of our new rugs to be launched very soon).

Why did you decide to start a children’s clothing brand: I became interested in sewing at the age 6 years old as my mom used to make clothing for my brothers and I. My mom and I always used to comment on baby clothing when we were at the shops and suggest better idea’s. (She is a very huge inspiration to me).
At the Age of 6 I was begging to sew by myself but my mom always bought me plastic sewing machine toy and tools instead.
At the age of 9 is when I actually started sewing my own dolls clothes and odd projects on my own with her machine and also by hand.

What makes your goodies different to others: All the Ella & Jo products are uniquely designed by me and made by me too..
You will not find our garments anywhere else.
What is also new is our hand made printing that we have recently started.
Our items are all hand made and a lot of time and effort is put into each garment.

Who taught you to sew: My mom – as I got older I got better than her though and now she asks me to take in and adjust her items when needed. 🙂

How can people order from you: Our website is to be launched in the next month or two. In the meantime if people are wanting to place an order they can email us on ellaandjokids@gmail.com or comment or inbox our Facebook page or Instagram feed.
We are stocked in a few boutiques and stores and are branching out to Vredendal JHB slowly and Ballito Durban next week.

What is your favourite product: I don’t really have one favourite, I have a few…
Aurora Jumper
New Summer frilly bloomer and my hand made print inspired for my little daughter for her summer closet.
Our boys car “daddys little classic vest” Which was hand drawn by my brother especially for the Ella & Jo range. (The first one to wear the item was his 3 year old son – Who mom and I now help take care of).

Quote you live by: Work Hard, Dream Big, Stay Humble.
(My brother that has just passed away less than a year ago – This is the message he left for me on our kitchen chalk board so it is now what I follow and I wont give up pursuing my dreams)41871726_1741392385982793_8599407889695637504_n

Anything else you want to add:  Starting up a business is extremely hard especially when doing it all by yourself. (started up with no funds or investors).
It can be completely challenging/ frustrating and lots of late nights and hard hard work! Luckily I have a loving and very supportive partner that understands the late night hours I put in and having to sacrifice most weekends by working.
Main key is to never let anyone run you down, never give up and keep pushing for your dream because you can make it happen!
Hard work, Dedication, Motivation and Persistence.


Of course the unicorn cushions are my absolute favourite, but I know that if I had a child of my own to love & spoil then I wouldn’t be able to choose what I love the most.  I love how these are proper little kids clothing & decor, & they truly make me so happy just to look at!

Wishing you all the very best Kelsea, & we can’t wait to see pics of your little girl when she arrives 🙂


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