When I saw Dear Deer sharing an image that they had had done, I absolutely loved the soft colours, the style and the gentleness of the images. Rubina’s social media is beautiful, and immediately draws you in as you get a snapshot into not only her talent, but also her passion for what she does. I am sure that you will fall in love with it too as you see her gorgeous creations and creativity.
What are 3 fun facts about you: I love to travel, love dogs, and love music.
Tell me a little more about your business: Fleur de Mai started out of the blue really. I saw some cute illustrations on Instagram and started learning. I started in November 2019 and has been going since. My online store is launching in the near future with a brand name change.
How would you describe your style of art: I love minimalistic and neutral colours for my illustrations. But once in a while i will have a pop of colour in there.
Have you always been creative: Not at all. I am more analytical than creative but i started learning and find out you can do anything you set your mind to.
Do you do custom orders: I do custom orders for weddings, birthdays and all occasions 🙂
How much is an order from you: A single portrait is R350 and every additional person added is R150.
What is your favourite piece that you have done: There are so many and all of them are so unique. My favourite changes every week lol.
Why do you encourage people to support local: Local businesses strive to bring the best for its people and without us supporting them they do not survive and by our support we are helping them build their dreams.
How did lockdown affect you: It did not really. it allowed me to have more free time to spend on my designs.
Quote you live by: Different doesn’t mean wrong. I love this saying because we are all different and we can all learn from each other and that’s the beauty of being different
Anything else you want to add: I think as an artist and small business, growing an audience on Instagram is hard and sometimes discouraging but I have learned that every like and comment is special because someone took the time to like and to comment and we have to appreciate every little thing that makes our community on Instagram. Likes and follows are not the most important thing. Staying true to the brand and delivering is what makes you, YOU!
Don’t you adore her? And her style of art?
It was such an honour getting to know Rubina, and she has been so kind right from the very first message I sent to her. I cannot wait to see her flourish, and more of her images tagged across your social media.
Have a beautiful day lovelies, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog, support local, and always choose kindness x
Finding bloggers and influencers that speak to who you are, encourage you, and inspire you is so important. No longer should we simply follow people who we think fit into the cookie cutter mold that society wants to force us into – it’s not just about the perfect feed with the blonde-hair blue-eyed family. It’s about relating to people, knowing they are real and honest, and relating to what they are posting.
One such person that I have been following for some time is Cisca de Kock. She has been blogging for some time, and I often find myself popping over to her social media to see what she is posting about and what is happening in her life. Plus, you know I’m a sucker for spreading kindness, and Cisca has this in bucket loads.
This is such a surreal experience to be able to introduce you to her on my little blog, and I am totally freaking out right now! #fangirl
3 fun facts about you:
1. If I could win a life time supply of clothing it would be socks! I swear they have superpowers and disappear- I always end up wearing my husband’s socks.
2. If I had to eat one type of food for the rest of my life it would be BILTONG.
3. If I had to be trapped in a movie for a day, it would have to be Clueless.
How would you describe yourself: Honest, Perfectionist, Goal driven
How did you get into blogging:
My Mom passed away when I was 5 months pregnant with Hudson (my first born). I was devastated, and went into a deep and dark depression. When Hudson was born, I sunk even deeper. I had no one to talk to. No one to listen to my motherly fears and I just felt completely lost. I started seeing a Psychiatrist who deals with Post-Partum Depression and she suggested that I try and find an outlet. So one night in September 2017, while pumping milk for Hudson I created my own blog called It’s a Mom’s Life on WordPress. I honestly did not think it would reach anyone, and that was ok. It felt so good to write what was on my mind. From there I created my Instagram page which was first called “Raising Little Hudson” . Hudson was a little eager beaver and my water broke at 36 weeks (It was like a scene out of the movies – I actually wrote a 3 part Birth Story Series) We had to leave him in NICU, one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do, to leave the hospital empty handed. The day we left, the one nurse said “Have fun raising little Hudson” and that’s where the name stemmed from. This September my blog will turn 3 and since then both my blog and IG handles have changed. As my blog and social media handles grew, so too did my interests. I started off just featuring and blogging about local baby boy clothing brands. It became a bit expensive buying new clothing every month. It also became exhausting to take photos of Hudson. I knew it was not something that I wanted to do forever, and that’s when I starting exploring other avenues.
What does your blog feature:
Keeping it Candid is a Lifestyle | Beauty |Travelling and Parenting Blog. I started my blog to create an authentic account of my journey through life. Whether you are a lover of all things luxury: an organic foodie or a reveller in all things local, practical and affordable, Keeping it Candid will keep you up to date with the best in South Africa. I am a firm believer in YOLO and embrace each and every day to the fullest.
What do you want people to feel when they are interacting with you:
I want people to feel comfortable and not feel like they are being judged. Over the years, I have made so many connections with other women. Some of them echoed the exact same feeling I had when I felt alone. My main goal has always been to use this platform and to make women feel that they are not alone and that it is natural to feel the way they do, especially if they are new mothers.
Why do you encourage people to support local:
This current Pandemic has really put things into perspective when it comes to sustaining oneself. A have so much respect for women owned local businesses. At the moment, they need all our help to sustain themselves. So much care goes into creating affordable and great quality products.
Why is family so important to you:
There’s so much I wish I could have shared with my Mom. Her death was so sudden and unexpected, that it still haunts me. The void that she left grows deeper every day, but I know that she would want us to remember her and to celebrate her. She also passed away on my Dad’s birthday, 1 December. Before the boys, December was such a difficult time. Having the boys now, we make it a happy time for them, a time that they will always find special, even if their Gran cannot celebrate with us. I am very fortunate and blessed to have married a man that respects me and treats me as his equal. I am double blessed with two beautiful boys, whom I will instill the values that were passed onto me. I treasure each and every moment that I can spend with my family.
What is one way you feel we can all spread kindness:
There are many, but I want to mention two ways. Always treat others the way that you want to be treated. We also need to practice being quiet more often and to listening to others.
How can people reach out to you to work with you:
They can either make contact through my blog or DM. Alternatively they can email me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Quote you live by:
You are the artist of your own life, don’t hand the paintbrush to anyone else
Anything else you want to add:
The number one question I always get asked is: What camera do you use?
I don’t have a fancy camera, I always use my iPhone 8 + to create content. I will always try and think out of the box. Sometimes I take a lot of photos and I will change up the styling, until I am happy with it. Once photos are taken, I select the ones I am happy with and then either edit with my iPhone editing app, VSCO or Lightroom.
Cisca, it was such an honour to be able to feature you on my blog, and it has been an absolute joy to get to know you better. Thank you for your kindness, your messages and just for being you.
Please follow this wonderful woman – you will be a fan from day dot I can promise you!
During lockdown I have been spending extra time on growing my skills, attending online classes, and definitely more time on social media! I have been following both of these businesses that I am discussing in this blog for some time, but during lockdown I was able to catch an Instagram live that Cas was doing, and I was immediately drawn into her passion and knowledge. I have been making a conscious effort to head over to her pages on a daily basis to soak up some of her incredible knowledge.
I have bought some flatlay boards from Cas in the past, and then they sat under my bed… I had great plans to use them, but I never felt confident in what I was doing and my photos ended up reflecting that insecurity and lack of knowledge on how to properly use them. Cas has now given me the confidence to pull these out again and keep trying, keep learning, keep experimenting. Blogging has allowed me an outlet and a platform to showcase these great South African small businesses, whilst my social media platforms have allowed me to truly express myself and embrace my flaws, whilst still being able to grow. And I can’t wait to show you more about these great businesses that have truly tipped the scales in my learning to love myself, as well as encourage me to learn new skills.
Your name: My name is Casandra Swart
Business name: My business is called Backdrop Shop SA & Flatlay Boards SA
Tell me a bit more about what you do:
I believe in the moments that become memories. I want to support the creatives who craft these moments into images that will be cherished for a lifetime to come. The Backdrop Shop is a community that welcomes everyone from professional studio photographers to small businesses trying to inject some more beauty into their branding. We love watching you take our designs to the next level by infusing them with your special style.
Who is the person behind the brand: I studied and worked as a graphic designer for 20 years, from the beginning I always knew I would manifest into my own boss, I always had a side hustle and eventually my side hustle became my full time business. It was all up to perfect timing. The time had to be right for me to take the leap. I have an incredibly ambitious and loving husband who supported me and nudged me further to stand on my own. In 2013 I was blessed in another way and became a mother … this now became my main focus and drove me deeper into pursuing my business with all I had. Our family loves to spend time venturing out into the Cape Winelands for a Saturday outing, quiet braais at home, weekends away in new places and Christmas bed evenings watching movies… all those family feels! I have a beautiful group of friends who I love to surround myself with and go on girls dinners and shopping dates. I also love self care and often treat myself to a spa day. I love to listen to podcasts and motivational speakers who inspire me and challenge me all the time. My business is my 2nd child and is my greatest achievement, I am very proud of where I am, how I have grown and what the future still holds.
Where did the idea for this business come from: I started the business in 2012 with a very good friend of mine, we saw a gap in the market where beautiful well priced backdrops where just not available in South Africa for the photography market. With me as the designer and her as photographer we made a great team and designed and manufactured a small range and marketed it online and on social media, the business grew well and we were happy with the progress… again a side hustle for me so I was still working full time. In 2013 we decided to split the business and go our separate ways (friendship and business unfortunately do not always work out) we amicably went our own way and Backdrop Shop was born. I was now at home with a newborn, and a new business… and I thought well you got nothing to lose and (I thought) I had plenty of time with a newborn by my side, she would just sleep and eat right … the side hustle started again.. I worked long days and nights and packed orders, answered mails, sent invoices, designed new ranges when everyone was sleeping. The work I put in paid off and the company did very well. In 2015 I quit my full time job and focused on Backdrop Shop fully, it was what the business needed to move forward even more. I then brought out more ranges, more products… and loved every minute! And then Flatlay Boards SA arrived…
Why the passion for flatlay boards: The flatlay boards were an obvious pivot for the business but I only saw it later in the growth of Backdrop Shop. I love networking and going to business workshops and training… I met so many incredible brands who where small businesses and who loved the backdrops. But my main focus was always on the photographers… my client spec was for the large format printing clientele… and so I thought but why don’t we do something to offer which is smaller/compact and easy to use for smaller product brands. I started researching the idea and noted there was similar ideas overseas… but again not in South Africa.
I just want to point out I have never wanted a business that ships or focuses on the whole world, I have always been focused on delivering to the South African market. This is important as it keeps me focused on my ideal client and what their needs are.
So the flatlay boards were created, we had trial and error moments, it took 8 months doing workshops, engaging with brands who would use the boards and who loved them, we had 5 very successful workshops and got a lot of constructive feedback regarding the boards. I then moved over from our initial wood boards to our plastic boards which then made the board lighter and even nicer to work with… and then introducing our larger mats. My Flatlayboards SA community has grown so much and I thoroughly enjoy engaging with the brands and helping them grow their content and photography skills by using my backgrounds.
Who do you think would benefit from using these: Absolutely anyone! All brands, lifestyle bloggers, mothers, fathers, big corporations! Its really for everyone – if you got an eye for a great pic and need an interesting background instead of your kitchen counter then its for you!
How do you decide what images to use for your boards etc:
Our ranges grow and develop as our clients do, we get special requests for specific designs. The marbles, woods and textures are firm favourites and we keep them as realistic as possible to give you the best result when shooting with them.
Which is your personal favourite one so far:
I love the Greek tiles and the different colour prints … florals/textures and colour!
Which have been your most popular designs:
The marbles are definitely the most popular designs. They’re soft and beautiful and is a great way to start your Flatlay journey.
How can people order from you:
We have a wonderful website, which is updated regularly with new designs and its very easy to navigate and order. Alternatively clients are welcome to personally message me via email, DM on social or whatsapp on our business chat 071 877 0393.
Do you do custom designs:
YES ABSOLUTELY! I love customising prints for clients to match their brand perfectly.
Where can you recommend people get more training on flatlay boards:
I offer one on one training if you need but I always love sharing tips and videos on my social media for clients to go and watch and learn from them.
Quote you live by: Love what you do, do what you love ❤
Anything else you want to add: If there is something you truly believe in, let your heart run with it. Be intentional every day to pursue that thing.
Guys, aren’t these just too beautiful for words? And isn’t Cas someone that we all want as our friend, and enjoy a good glass of wine? I can honestly say that I have learnt so much from her, and will definitely be ordering more flatlays as time goes by and I am wanting to improve the quality of my photos more and more. Her one-on-one classes are like no other, and I would definitely recommend you take a look at her free training over on her social media.
I can’t WAIT to see the pics that you create with some of her stunning backdrops or flatlays, so please do tag me in them. Hopefully I can get some tips from you too!
I first came across Flamingo Moon through Pink Cosmetics, & I immediately fell in love! I placed my order for some of their products & when they arrived I spent hours playing with all the beautiful goodies & designing some gorgeous Instagram flatlays.
I have always seen so many beautiful images that others have done, & just had no idea where to actually start! And Janet Pink has always been so helpful & kind with advice – in fact she even started a FB group called The Pink Life where she offers advice, along with hints & tips on how to take your business/personal branding to the next level. I knew I had to chat to this beautiful lady & find out a little bit more…
Your name: Janet Pink Business name: Flamingo Moon Social media handles:Facebook & Instagram
Tell me more about what you do: We supply backdrops for flatlays and table top photos as well as props to make your pics look as beautiful as possible.
How did this idea come about: As I am always needing to take constant beautiful photos for my Pink Cosmetics products, I have collected lots of props along the years. I saw a gap in the market for props and backdrops as everyone needs to take their own photos for daily Social Media posts. Props are difficult to find and then to curate and put together for the right pic that will get noticed in Instagram. Then I had the idea to put a backdrop together with props that match and complement so that taking product shots becomes easy and simple.
Why is an instagram image so important to portray who you are & what you are trying to achieve: Instagram is so visual and you might only get 1 chance to show your brand/product/image to potential clients so ALL your pictures need to be 100% on point and beautiful.
I know a lot of people use their bedding/linen as a backdrop for product images. Why is this a big no-no? Uuuggh it’s my pet hate! It just looks like you made NO effort whatsoever & its normally creased and just looks terrible! Our goal: Never seeing another product shot on a duvet ever again!!!
You recently launched the insta prop packs – please explain more about these: You need the perfect balance between textures and colour to make a eye catching photo and it can be really hard to do this. We curated our Insta props kit with the latest trends in mind, to make it easy to take stunning pics that will be noticed. A blend of the right colours, textures, elements and that “magic touch” is what you will find in every kit. They are all limited edition and will not be available again once sold out. We will be launching new designs all the time, so your posts will be ever changing, but always on point and beautiful. Literally just add your product and shoot! This Insta prop set contains everything you need to mix and match, move the props around , and style up to 10 or more different flatlays in minutes!
What else do you sell: Backdrops for flatlays and tabletop backdrops for seamless product shoots. Props for all types of photos from beauty to food photos. We are working on our top down backsdrops too which will be 2 m x 2 mtr big.
Where can people buy these from: We are working on our stand alone website but in the meantime it’s exclusively on Pink Cosmetics website. Under the Flamingo Moon tab.
Why are you so attracted to beautiful things: Who isn’t? Pretty things make me happy and especially if they are covered in glitter!
I know you also have a group on FB called “The Pink Life”. Please can you explain a bit more about that: I never get much time to update it but it’s where I give back to my clients and followers by teaching them the basics of Instagram and shooting photos and tips and tricks for small business owners to make business easier. The things I have learnt on this journey.
Quote you live by: Everything happens for a reason. Even in my biggest mistake or formula flop I learn something new.
Anything else you want to add: I would like to thank all my clients and followers on both Flamingo Moon and Pink cosmetics for helping us grow and achieve sales everyday. I absolutely love what I do and it brings me so much joy. I am a single Mom and supporting small businesses like mine, literally means you are helping to pay for my children’s education, rent, food etc. Also it means I can work from home and not spending hours away from them at an office. Thanks to you all.
Isn’t this absolutely amazing? Janet has really taught me so much – & saved me from the bane of using my duvet cover as a backdrop for my product shots! Her Instagram kits are filled with beautiful things & really do enhance your posts.
If you want to be taken seriously on Social Media, then this is something that you really need to look at. Ask questions, learn from Janet, & experiment!