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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
When Carmen from 21 Folds reached out to me with regard to doing a collab, I spent some time looking through her posts and creations, and couldn’t actually believe that these detailed, tiny earrings were handmade with so much love and talent. She has a process to get here, and every piece is unique. Owning a pair of 21 Folds earrings is literally like owning a piece of art!
Yesterday we met up as she had created a pair just for me, and I had to hold myself back from giving her a great big squeeze (#socialdistancing), so we settled for elbow taps and squeals. I immediately came home, threw on the earrings and put together a crazy makeup look to match the magic of my unicorn origami earrings.
The earrings also reminded me why I am so obsessed with unicorns…
“When you hear hoofbeats look for horses not zebras.”
This is a saying that is common in the medical fraternity, and means that doctors should always look for the most common reason for the specific symptoms the patient is experiencing – so rather than assuming the person has a rare disease, assume it is something “normal”. It is for this reason that rare patients are often referred to as zebras. However, I think we should be known as unicorns as we are so rare, magical, and often a little crazy! We shouldn’t exist, but we do, and we often try spread love and positivity wherever we are.
However, I digress, let’s get back to Carmen and her beyond-your-wildest-dreams talent!
I am a complete fantasy, scifi and DnD geek. I helped launch sci-fi and fantasy indie publisher Stubborn Raven and edited my husband’s short story for publishing.
I for sure have ADHD, watermelon and mash potatoes are some of my favourite foods, but not together…never together.
My husband & I are obsessed with travel and I have been to over 30 countries, on many a shoestring-budget but it is always an adventure.
Not so fun facts but facts nonetheless:
I have a Post grad in business from Wits business school, this has allowed me to consult in various fields and allows for a lot of insight in my own practice and businesses. #canrecommend
I’m a practicing audiologist and speech therapist, my practice is at Milpark hospital, I love my work in the medical field.
Tell me a bit more about your business: 21Folds is still brand spanking new and currently we offer paper origami earrings as our main product! I can’t say it better than our about page so here it is:
A celebration of the intricacies of paper folding and the joy of wearing a piece of art. Each piece is designed with thought and made with passion. Welcome to 21Folds, where I blend art and adornment!
I create origami masterpieces that you can wear. But to me it’s more than jewelry – these origami pieces are the manifestation of what makes creating so amazing and fulfilling: An unavoidable wonderlust, forgetting about perfection and celebrating the wonderful, and the willingness to collaborate with my fellow human.
The variety of collections, which is the paper type and pattern, and the folds, are chosen and created in such a way that you will be able to find the collection style that speaks to you.
Why origami: A friend actually left her origami book with some paper behind when she immigrated and I decided to pick it up one day in November last year, it frustrated the hell out of me so I just kept forging ahead until one day the technique clicked. Once it clicked I was really hooked on it and just kept escalating to more complex folds! (I always had some sort of folding gene where every school newsletter was folded up into a tiny square to get lost in the bottom of my backpack until the end of the term.)
Have you always been interested in creative things: Yeah, I’ve always dabbled in something or the other, be it painting large murals on our house walls, editing books, building a desk (a circular-saw is for sure one of the best birthday gifts I have received recently) or just doodling. I was one of those kids that did every single extra-mural activity be it sports, arts or culture. Everything interested me (just not accounting). I think I enjoy learning a new skill and problem solving the most of all and it leads me into various creative spaces. Origami just seems to keep my interest more than most things., possibly a true passion has been born.
Why did you start this business: I received origami earrings as a gift over Christmas while traveling in Chille and Argentina, it was at the time where origami really became a pass-time for me, and I was like – ‘I could fold that’ and just started experimenting and creating more and more different folds and designs, pushing to get them smaller and smaller. I initially planned to start in selected store fronts and markets first and get a feel for what works before launching online but then covid hit so I had to pivot and push all my resources into developing a website and solidify my concept, and here we are!
So to sum it up, basically I started more out of pure joy of creating and the need to share that love and passion.
What makes your earrings so unique: Well even if I try the chances of me making two pieces exactly the same is very slim. Each paper pattern unfolds in its own way, I have an idea of where to place certain colours on certain folds to try and place a pattern in a specific spot, but in general I just let the folds go where they want. I also strive to collaborate with other artists, and humans are at the core of my inspiration for my art.
Do you do custom orders: Not yet but soon! At the moment my focus is on solidifying my brand and growing a following, there will however be some limited edition (one of a kind type) ranges coming out!
What has been your favourite pair of earrings that you have created: Oh gosh it’s like picking your favorite child! The Mori & Mukai collections are possibly my own personal favourites, not just because of the earring designs but because of the amazing women they were inspired by, it feels like the two women are polar opposites – one creative, artsy and a fashion designer and the other a doctor, astronaut and scientist. Both of these resonate with me, I love that I can be a medical professional and an origami artist, a DnD geek and a netball jock, I like that different things can occupy the same space. I think that’s true creativity.
How can people order from you: Online from my store www.21folds.com. Soon in some selected stores, and hopefully international shipping will be available in the near future.
Who do you think would enjoy your creations: Anybody that loves origami, art and design and appreciates the intricacies of the technique and how it blends with the art. I try to design something for everyone.
Quote you live by:
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious” Albert Einstein
“Fake it till you make it”
Anything else you want to add: It takes 21 folds for me to fold the iconic crane, my first origami animal I folded, thus 21folds was born!
I have two adorable spaniels, you can check out their shenanigans on @a_bork_able!
We are launching a giveaway today on my social media platforms, where you can win a pair of the gorgeous unicorn earrings for yourself. These are not available for sale on Carmen’s website, and simply can’t hold a value due to the uniqueness and love!
Thank you so much Carmen for all that you are doing, and for sharing your talent with us. You truly are one in a million, and I can’t wait to see more people wearing these beautiful creations.
Have you ever tried origami? And what have you created?
One thing that I have learnt about myself recently is that I am completely overwhelmed by lockdown emotionally, and I often feel like I need to just word vomit my feelings down onto paper so they no longer creep around my mind’s dark corners and reappear at the worst possible times. I have been feeling so bogged down with the stress of trying to keep our family surviving on one salary, and just life in general that I have felt my little depression gremlin rearing his ugly head as he perches on my shoulder reaching his long finger deep into my thoughts. And I know that I am not the only one going through this!
And then, I met the most beautiful Sammy after a post on our local community Facebook group! My health coach had been telling me for some time that I needed to take the time to journal, but I often feel like I need more guidance and don’t know where to start – so it’s been easier to just “forget” than to push through this block.
But with my new favourite journal from KwirkNation I feel like I can laugh as I get down my “crap” and honestly record my emotions for the day – with a special mood thermometer that is unique to KwirkNation. I couldn’t WAIT to interview Sammy, and knew that she was the ideal start for Women’s Month. This #GirlBoss is powerful, fun, and so kind – truly one in a million. Plus she has offered all my readers a discount when you purchase one of your own and use code FLOWERCROWNS.
Keep scrolling to see why you need one of these journals in your life!
What are 3 fun facts about you: I’m really good at memorising numbers, my favourite colour is black, I have to end every meal with something sweet no matter how full I am.
Tell me a little more about your business: KwirkNation is a brand created for women, by women. What sets us apart from the crowd is our use of profanity to create lots of haha moments for all the quirky ladies in the country. There is this stigma that makes it seem as though using profanity as a woman is frowned upon or ‘unlady’ like which is something we would like to change through our content and merchandise.
Where did the idea for this come from: Last year I lost my hearing and a couple of other things were topsy turvy at the same time. I found myself just going through the motions, sinking deeper and deeper into a depression hole. This was until I took to writing my thoughts down more often, really focusing on not only the negative but also the positive that I had to be thankful for each day. I would make use of the regular journals with never ending blank pages that didn’t guide me down the path to gratitude or fill me with positivity to take on the day. This is why “Fuck this Kak” was created.
Have you always enjoyed journaling: I have. I consider myself a creative writer with lots of ideas and lots of things to say so I journal to keep track of all these thoughts and ideas.
Who do you think would enjoy your journal: Our journal is definitely for quirky women who love a good laugh and aren’t opposed to using cuss words. Women who are fighters, some fighting battles that everyone else may not see. Women who fall but get back up with optimism and a kick-ass attitude . Women who live, eat and breathe sarcasm and profanity.
How can people place an order from you: At the moment our journal is available on our store and all of your loyal followers can use the promo code FLOWERCROWNS to get 10% off.
I know you have another idea in the pipeline – can you tell me a bit more: We have an awesome new vent journal launching very very soon which will be our second edition in our series of quirky journals. Stay tuned to our Instagram page for the deets!
Quote you live by: “FUCK IT!!! Just do it!”
Anything else you want to add: We also have a “FORK” range launching soon with some exciting merchandise!
I’m also a sucker for amazing branding and packaging, and Sammy truly exceeded all my expectations with hers (that’s why I had to include all of the images above).
And honestly, if you haven’t yet, try journaling. You will be amazed at what it does to you emotionally, and this great journal for gatvol South African women is the perfect way to guide you on this journey whilst providing a guaranteed giggle!
Thank you Sammy for your love, passion and kind heart. I have never met anyone like you, and can’t wait for this lockdown to be over so I can finally give you a hug and not our regular elbow/foot tap. I wish you only success and happiness with everything KwirkNation, and can’t wait to see your Fork range.
I met Sarah when she bought one of our Rare Bears in an online auction, and I immediately clicked with her when she came through to collect the teddy. We sat outside and spoke for ages, and have stayed in contact ever since. Her heart is so pure, and she honestly does all she can to make the world a better, happier, and safer place. She volunteers her time at a local safe house, and helps many kiddies realise their emotions that they are battling through, as well as actually overcome any negativity that they have been carrying around unable to fully understand.
She very kindly sponsored one of the prizes for my current giveaway, and I really think her products should be in every home, as well as every school.
“It’s a lot easier to be angry at someone than it is to tell them you’re hurt.”
– Tom Gates
Your name: Sarah Allen
Business name: Sometimes I Feel; Emotional Development Resources
3 fun facts about you:
1) I’m an artist as well (I especially love doing pet portraits and wildlife drawings/paintings)
2) I’ve been told I have a memory like and elephant and I usually remember the things I’m not supposed too
3) I LOVE chocolate
Tell me a bit more about your business: Sometimes I Feel are children’s emotional development resources to help them learn about and explore different feelings. I believe that I can’t change the world but I can change the world for a child; and I believe you can too!
Where did the passion for this come from: I am firstly an OT and Play Therapist working here in Johannesburg as a volunteer in underprivileged communities and babies home. I originally come from the U.K. and when I saw how few resources we have to meet the needs of the children I was working with here, I decided to create my own. Originally for my own practice (as I’d brought some from the U.K. but the kids couldn’t connect to them here) but then it developed as more people saw the books and cards and wanted them, so I decided to start producing more. As I grew in confidence, my passion and creativity also grew to create new and innovative products to meet the needs of parents, therapists, educators and children across this country.
What makes your products different: They are specially geared towards South African children. I have spent hours working with the children and learning about issues/feelings/emotions that effect them and have created resources to meet their needs. They are also multi ethnic which many products currently in the social and emotional sector currently are not. My products are always used and tested by a range of South African kids to ensure that they work in our context.
They are South African produced and made; I work closely with a South African printer here in Johannesburg. The paper we use is Non-Tearable and Wipeable to make them long lasting.
How do you get inspired for your books: By the children I work with daily, their continually inspire me; I see the need, the passion, how they respond to my products and that’s what encourages me and drives me to create new products for them. I’ve been so inspired by the response of the people I have met who have bought, used, engaged with my products; the fact that businesses would sponsor print runs to get them to the children who need them fills me with joy and pushes me on to create more to meet peoples. Our country is lacking in high quality South African resources inspired by our diverse communities and environment; This also inspires me to also ensure that I am creating culturally relevant and diverse products.
How can people order from you: You can order directly from me, via my Facebook page (I have a shop on there) or email address (email@example.com)
Who do you think would benefit from owning these: Schools, Therapists, Parents and children
I see you have recently done a new book – please tell me more: So I’ve actually produced 2 new products that I’m excited about. I’ve created the Sometimes I Feel 2 Book set which carries on from the first one but explores different emotions, is slightly more advanced but follows the same principles as the first one.
And the second is my new Conflict Resolution game for teens and tweens; exploring different scenarios that adolescents face and how they might deal with them, I’m an interactive way.
What was your very first book/product you wrote/created:
It was the Sometimes I Feel book set; I wrote the book to help younger children learn about feelings and begin to name them. I also wrote it for the educators I was working with at the time in the townships to have a resource to use with their children in the classroom to discuss feelings like sad, happy, angry, scared.
I then added in the flashcards because the book was a great starting point but it didn’t go far enough. Teachers, therapists and parents needed something tangible to help their children identify how they were feeling at any particular point or when discussing certain topics so I made the flashcards to stick in the wall or lay them out on the floor and the child can point to how they are feeling which opens up a discussion.
Often children (and adults) don’t have to words to express how they are feeling but they can point to a picture that reflects their feelings.
If you could recommend just one thing for people to start off with from your range, what would it be: I would start with the Sometimes I Feel Book Set (You get a book and a set of flashcards for R300) it was the first product and my initial go-to. Followed on quickly by the Sometimes I Feel Board Game which the kids LOVE. It puts into action what you have learned in the book and gives you ways to manage your overwhelming feelings.
What do you do in your spare time: What spare time?! 😉 I like to take my dogs for walks, watching movies, hanging out and laughing with friends, explore this beautiful country and play the piano.
Have you always had such a big heart for others: Yes 🙂 my favourite dress up costume as a child was a nurses outfit so I think my care for people has always been there.
I knew I would probably go into a caring profession.
I love connecting with people, meeting people from all different walks of life. But I especially have always loved young children; their excitement, zest for life and their capacity for love, despite some facing so many challenges.
Quote you live by: ‘Tea helps everything’ 😉 and ‘Just do it’
Anything else you want to add:🌟 Personalised Books are now available for you children, grandchildren, kids birthdays, cousins…make your child feel extra special with this gift 💝
🌟 They are written and illustrated by me. They rhyme for ease of reading and have proven to be very popular so far!
🌟 Follow this link to view the stories and the options (prices start from R199! 😊
I absolutely adore all of Sarah’s creations, and I am sure that you do too! These are wonderful resources to help speak through any emotions, events, or issues that your children/family/students may be experiencing. And I remember always wanting a personalised book when I was growing up.
If you haven’t yet, please enter our competition on Facebook here, and on Instagram here. Entries close on Friday and you really don’t want to miss out!
Thank you Sarah for allowing me to interview you, and for all you are doing to bring joy to the world. I am so lucky to know you.
Discovering proudly South African skincare is something I am always on the hunt for. I want to find skincare products that are made with love, passion, and are there to truly make a difference. I want to find products that are created for South African skins, for our weather, and that aren’t just full of chemicals to get absorbed into our skin. And to be fair, I also don’t want to be spending an exorbitant amount on skincare products – especially thanks to Covid forcing us to tighten our belts even more.
I have found some truly wonderful brands on social media, and one such brand is Eleven2 Skin Care. Their products look absolutely divine, and the duo behind this are passionate about luxury skincare that is affordable for all.
What are 3 fun facts about you:
I’m quite an average human.. I love my family, food and animals 🙂
Tell me a bit more about your business:
We are a mother-daughter duo. We are both so passionate about natural skin care and offering a luxury range at an affordable price.
Where did the idea for this come from: Serious health concerns prompted passionate vegan and entrepreneur Sharon Jansen Van Vuuren to take an honest hard look at her diet and what was going into her body, but also what she was applying onto her skin.
Since the skin, the largest organ of our bodies, is porous and absorbs a lot of what we put on it, she knew it was time to eliminate any products which contained harmful toxins and cancer-causing chemicals.
Frustrated at the lack of natural and organic skincare products to choose from, Sharon and her daughter Leigh, took to tirelessly learning and researching the science behind what makes a skincare range function optimally to deliver great results, be totally natural, and use only the highest performing botanicals.
And so Eleven2 skincare range was born. With hand-picked ingredients that are gentle enough so as not to irritate the skin, but with healing properties to ensure your skin feels nourished and cared for. Free from harmful synthetics and artificial fragrances, this artisan skincare range is affordable yet boasts a luxurious feel, and remains 100% committed to producing products that won’t harm our bodies, the environment or our oceans.
Hence all products (except the 10ml lip scrubs) come in recyclable glass containers eliminating plastic pollution and staying true to its cause.
With clean beauty on the rise, Eleven2 has made it easy for conscious consumers to know their choices are ethically sound and haven’t harmed any animals or our beautiful earth.
When Sharon isn’t conjuring up ideas with Leigh or creating business modules, you can find her walking her bull terrier Kenny and his sister, a rescue called Roxy, along the beautiful West Coast beaches of Cape Town.
What does your name mean:
Its a really long story… Eleven2 is the nickname my husband gave me before we were married 10 years ago. the shortened version is that it involves the 11th hole on the golf course. That’s all I’m allowed to say 🙂
Why did you choose to use glass containers:
From a health point of view, glass does not contain harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA and phthalates. So, nothing can leach into your product from a glass jar or bottle. Also when glass is recycled it gets turned into more glass, so it can be recycled over and over and never lose its integrity.
What makes your skincare products different:
Even though we are a luxury brand, our range is affordable – we want everyone to be able to benefit from natural and vegan products
What skin types would benefit from your products:
All skin types. We have a few products suited for mature or dry skin and a few products in our range that are suited for oily skins. We are working on an active acne range too.
What is your personal favourite product:
I personally love the Rosehip concentrate, it contains beautiful organic oils
If you could recommend just 3 products for people to start off with, what would they be:
Definitely our Face Wash, Rose Mask and the Moisturizer to start
How can people order from you:
Our website was recently launched, which makes it very easy to shop online.But we are also happy to take orders via DM on Instagram or WhatsApp (073 048 5757)
Quote you live by: Treat others the way you want to be treated
Anything else you want to add: My daughter (and business partner) has been instrumental in launching this range – really, all credit goes to her!
Don’t these sound absolutely gorgeous? I know that I definitely want to give them a go, and am waiting for pay day to place my order. The masks are what caught my eye initially, but as their range has grown and expanded so had my interest!
Thank you so much Sharon for allowing me to chat to you, and for making such a lovely skincare line available for all. I wish you only good things.
There is currently a lot of drama on social media within the blogger community – and beyond. I don’t wish to get into it in this post, but I had to mention it, as this is how I first discovered Squishy Tushy. And this is the reason that I am adding my voice to the #DontShushMe movement here in South Africa. No longer can I just keep quiet as I see my black friends hurt and judged, or my LGBTQ+ friends marginalized and unable to live freely. In this day and age, racism and homophobia should not exist, and sadly, it still does. This movement has made me spend a lot of time looking deep within myself, and realise that by saying nothing, I am adding my voice to those doing the judging. South African businesses are often not reflecting the beauty of our rainbow nation, and speaking to influencers has reminded me how often the perfect blonde-hair, blue-eyed child is used in advertising campaigns and their mother chosen for brand reviews. How is that relatable to so much of South Africa? And why are we not speaking up about this?
Nuriyah has had #DontShushMe shirts printed to show support for this movement, and a portion of the profits are going to be donated to a charity that empowers people of colour. I ordered one of my own, and then realised that I needed to get to know this strong woman a little more!
What are 3 fun facts about you:
1. I love to create art / DIY.
2. I am a beginner photographer.
3. I love doing things spontaneously, I don’t mind if it wasn’t planned. I love an adventure and am almost always keen. Let’s take a trip!
Tell me a bit more about your business:
I started Squishy Tushy almost 1 year ago when I had my 3rd baby girl, Israh. I am a natural creative, so I felt the need to create. This is how a lot of baby brands are started. The thing I love the most is deciding on designs, having the fabric printed, and then seeing it come to life.
I come from a digital marketing background so another aspect I LOVE is doing marketing campaigns, checking the stats and finding out how I can do better.
We are still very new to the industry so I am still learning as I go. it is not as easy as it looks, especially when you are a one man show like me 🙂 I do EVERYTHING except sew. Even down to building my own website 🙂
Where did the passion for these come from:
From being a mom, a creative soul, and having the need to constantly create.
Tell me about your #DontShushMeShirt:
There are very important conversations going on on social media at the moment. This hashtag was used by a group of mommy bloggers. To show my solidarity I decided to create these tee’s. This is not the first time I did this. In March when another local brand made obscene posts about Jews, I created a tee that reads “regretively” as they used this word accidentally. I am donating the profit from those tees to the holocaust centre here in CT.
With the don’t shush me tees, R50 from each tee will go to a POC charity which will be determined by the mommy bloggers. I love advocating for those who need a voice so even though it has nothing to do with baby clothing, I have the fully functioning ecommerce website and I have the tools to make these tees (yes I cut and press the designs myself), so why not? I have no problem using my platform and voice to help the next person. We are also busy with GBV tees for another NGO, as well as make tees for Milk Matters and R50 of each sale goes to the preemie babas. Ok, I totally went off track but it is all relative.
What is your personal favourite product:
Definitely the rib rompers as well as the printed zip onesies.
What have been your most popular products:
The rib rompers and fox track sets / bunny track sets.
What makes your products different to those you can buy in a chain store:
You won’t find these exact prints anywhere else. The rib rompers also have a very specific look and feel
Why do you encourage people to support small businesses:
So that we can keep the economy growing. If you support small businesses, you are literally helping keep food in the tummies of people in this country.
Quote you live by:
It’s better to be kind than to be right. 🙂
Always be willing to help others even if it does not benefit you!
Anything else you want to add:
If you own a small business and you think you aren’t getting anywhere, please don’t give up. It takes extreme hard work, long days, long nights, loads of planning and the list goes on! 🙂
I am so thrilled that I discovered Nuriyah, and know that I will continue to learn from her every single day. Her baby clothing is absolutely adorable, and so on trend – I am sure that many of you will fall in love with it too, and want pieces for yourself or family members.
And please, if you don’t have kids, consider supporting her through the sale of her statement tees that really are making a difference in the lives of so many. This woman has an amazingly beautiful heart, and deserves all the love and kindness in the world.
I can’t even tell you when I discovered Chick Cosmetics, but I have been utterly obsessed from the very first product I bought from them. I have tried their makeup, their skincare, their makeup brushes, and even their makeup sponge – and have never been disappointed. In fact their brushes are what I make use of on a daily basis, and I find myself reaching for their products more often than not. Their customer service is out of this world, and I was SO excited to meet Nomfundo in July last year at their Pop-Up Shop in Sandton.
I immediately squealed and totally fan-girled my way up to her. I couldn’t believe that I finally got to meet the creator of my favourite make-up brand in person – and she was so kind to me too. Beautiful inside and out, what more could we really ask for?
I have seen her brand grow from strength to strength, and I couldn’t be happier for Nomfundo and the entire brand. They are constantly on top of trends, and I have seen them popping up more and more across social media and in beauty articles. I am SO honoured to have been given the opportunity to interview them and show you a bit more about them. But be warned – you WILL be hooked and want to own every single product!
How would you describe Chick Cosmetics: Chick Cosmetics is a beauty brand which makes clean, cruelty-free products to a millennial and generation z target market.
Where did the idea for this business come from: During a short stay abroad, I ended up losing my makeup bag and found myself in a Sephora. I was amazed of how many indie brands are available in other countries. I knew right then I wanted to be a part of this, and the rest is history.
What makes your products different to others: Our objective was not to create a brand exclusively for one segment of the population, but rather to design a product that would appeal to beauty consumers regardless of their background. Diversity and inclusivity have now become the norm among young audiences, which is why we looked to make it part of our brand DNA from the beginning.
What is your personal favourite product: Glow Boost Serum – our vitamin C facial serum.
What have been the most popular items: Glow Boost Serum, Nightwind Eyeshadow Palette, Microfiber Beauty Sponge and Pro-Sculpt brushes, the world’s most beautiful brushes.
How did lockdown affected your business: Lockdown took place during a crucial time in our business which was mid-production. We had to halt everything until it was safe to produce. The positive side is that our online sales increased, and we sold out all our products.
How has Chick Cosmetics evolved since you first started it?
The beauty dynamic has changed a lot since we first launched. We started it off as a color cosmetic brand, we have recently started a skincare range which has received a positive feedback from our beauty community . We believe in taking care of your skin first.
If people are buying from you for the first time, what are the top 3 products you would recommend: I will always recommend Baggage Claim eye patches, Glow Boost Serum and Microfiber Beauty Sponge
Quote you live by: “You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.” Elizabeth Yukowsky
Anything else you want to add: We love you Meggi. Thank you always for your constant support. We pray for your life and healing.
Guys, these products are currently sold out (well done Chick Cosmetics!), but they will restock ASAP as well as launching some very exciting new products. With teasers being put out across their social media, the hype is definitely real. A new face oil, and “another beauty box” are launching soon; and I am always checking their platforms to try find out more. In fact they are one of the few pages that I have turned on notifications for every new post!
If I could, I would own every product they have brought out, and I think that I am slowly slowly working my way there (I still have a way to go, but jeepers I don’t want to miss out on any of their new launches).
Thank you again Nomfundo for your time, your passion, and your kindness. You are one in a million, and I will always be your number one fan.
Recently a friend of mine posted on her social media saying she was looking for a black baby doll for her daughter. She was horrified at the lack of selection in the shops (there were only 2 options in 4 full rows of white dolls), and their prices seemed to be a lot higher as well. I was shocked! How, in South Africa especially, is this a reality?
And then I thought back to the time I went looking for a black doll for a child of one of the Rare Bear Project lady’s. I remember how I searched all over and really battled to find one. I felt exhausted, and let-down. But then I handed over the little black doll to Progeny’s daughter and I saw her literal excitement as she held a baby that looked like her. I saw her little face light up and she immediately began to play with her new friend. I knew that I had to do more research into this!
Recently I posted on my Instagram asking for recommendations of local businesses that people recommend, and Toys with Roots was top of the list. I immediately sent Thabo and Mpumi a message to find out more about their business and this great husband-and-wife team. And guys, this is a business like no other. I am SO excited about what they are doing, how they are encouraging self-love and that they are celebrating our beautiful African heritage.
Your names: Thabo & Mpumi Motsabi (Founders)
Business name: Toys with Roots
Shoprite Jan Smuts – Toys with Roots: Thabo & Mpumi Motsabi
Tell me a fun/interesting fact about the 2 of you: We were in the same high school but the first time we exchanged words was years later while doing our tertiary studies.
Tell me a bit more about Toys with Roots: Toys with Roots exists to ensure that each African child can have an experience of being intentionally and beautifully celebrated. We believe that our African children need to identify with as well as see themselves and their greatness in the songs they sing, books they read, toys they engage with and media they consume. It is through Play that they can best learn and form important concepts about themselves and their world. We believe that toys aren’t just toys but tools to educate, mould and shape children. We have an online store where we sell these products. We find like minded entrepreneurs and sell their producs in order to ensure that we can provide parents a one stop shop of all the toys and books for African children that they would desire.
Where did the idea for this business come from: When we started in 2015 our daughters then 3 & 7 years would put towels on their hair pretending to have long flowy hair, from the cartoons they watched and toys they played with. We could see that there was a dissatisfaction with their natural hair and this was concerning. What was even sadder was that we couldn’t find much in store which represented what they looked like amongst aisles of products. We later had an opportunity to buy brown dolls from a lady we met who was selling from the boot of her car. We were so excited to see these beautiful dolls that represented our children so respectfully. Being entrepreneurial, we bought a few more to resell because we recognized that there were parents out there who were faced with the same struggle of finding toys that represented their children. Since then we have been on a journey to assist parents to affirm their children and help them recognise the value in their uniqueness.
How long have you guys been running for: We started in March 2015, so we celebrated 5 years this year. Through this journey we have managed to develop our business model and have become a one stop shop for a variety of toys and books for African children.
We have around 8 doll brands, 7 book authors with 5 languages represented. We specialise in brown dolls of different shades, sizes and hair. The dolls all have a story behind them and are created by passionate entrepreneurs from around the continent. Lali is our inhouse fashion doll brand created by Toys with Roots.
We have children’s books that are written in different South African languages, the ones in vernacular are suitable for entry level readers. Within the book range we also have a fashion book which appeals to our tweens market.
Within the range are also puzzles and backpacks.
We created a childrens music album with different South African nursery rhymes “Songs with Lali” which is also available on different digital music platforms.
We have plans to create more products for boys and increase the diversity of products on offer, all with the same intention of celebrating African children.
In addition to these products, we have created a range of dolls for Shoprite Checkers, called Rainbow Kids. This is a project we are very proud of due to its social impact reaching children in parts of the country and the continent which we have not been able to reach.
Which is your personal favourite product in your range: Definitely Songs with Lali musical album! We are a family which sings ALL THE TIME! We make up our own songs as a family just for fun and also to help with learning. The close favourite is the African-Hut because our youngest two always like to play outside in their Ndebele tents.
Why do you think diversity is so important, especially in South Africa: South Africa is characterised by deep seated pain and complexes of inferiority and supremacy, which are not going to be eradicated in a generation. These beliefs are passed on through generations, sometimes unknowingly. It is through exposure to the “other” in our society that learning can begin to take place and some of these beliefs we may hold can be tested and replaced. It may be a difficult process to face the friction that may take place as values clash but it is through this friction, we believe, that dialogues can start and that we can actually begin educating each other and making positive choices. These choices may take the form of having a representative toybox, learning new languages, joining in experiences which are unfamiliar…
Diversity is a strength because it allows for the above to take place. It adds colour, texture and opens us up to new learnings and experiences. We believe that it is our differences in background, perspective, skills, abilities, the way we view the world that make us valuable contributors whether it be in the boardroom or in the classroom.
Exposure to diversity in children’s toy boxes enable them to understand that different doesn’t mean less than or greater than. It just means different. The diversity in their toy box can help them role play the world around them more creatively and in the long run assist them to be more understanding of those around them. It is important in order to erase these perceptions which have existed for so long, so that we can have an inclusive South Africa. #representationmatters Through black children seeing people like them in powerful roles in media, in books, in boardrooms, they can begin to aspire to also be great.
Shoprite Jan Smuts – Toys with Roots: Mpumi, Nyakallo & Thabo Motsabi
Why is #BlackLivesMatter a movement that we need to all take notice of: We believe in Ubuntu, that I am because you are. We are not independent of each other, therefore when you hurt I hurt. Said differently, as the human race, we are different parts of the same body. If one part of the body is hurt, e.g. the toe, the whole body stops and pays attention to the pain of the toe and takes steps as one to heal the toe. The impact of the pain on the toe affects the functioning of the entire body. Right now black people are hurting. This is not a new pain, we need to be clear about this. All around the world black people are fighting for recogniton of worth and it’s important that people around the world, the human race, ask themselves how they can help heal this wound. Here is a link to our blog on the subject.
Where can people purchase your products from: Our online store, Our Lali and Baby Thando range is also available at selected Toys R Us stores and our Rainbow Kids range is available exclusively at Shoprite/Checkers stores nationally.
Why do you think your products are so well-loved: We believe that a large part of it is the desire for parents to give their children what they didn’t have – toys which equip and strengthen them to be self aware and love their black skin, not aspiring to be anything different. There is an awakening amongst black people happening in South Africa and around the world and parents want to ensure that they affirm their children’s instric worth so that they are strong enough to navigate the harsh and discriminatory world. Lastly because they are just so pretty 🙂
Why do you encourage people to purchase your products for their kids: Toys have a Psychological voice and this video shows how toys and the media can negatively affect how children view themselves. So we encourage parents to choose products that celebrate who their children are. We also believe that for parents who are not black, our products have a place because their peers at school and others they interact with may be black so theses toys (with some parent guidance) can help them learn how to treat others who may be different to them.
How did lockdown affect your business: Very negatively. We were unable to trade for two months and many people are focusing on buying essential products so toy sales have taken a back seat. We are confident though that as birthdays come along, people from all races will choose Toys with Roots to do their shopping.
Quote you live by: “Whether You Think You Can Or Think You Can’t, You’re Right.” – Henry Ford “If you ask me what I came to do, I came to live out loud!” – Emile Zola
Anything else you want to add: As a black woman entering the corporate world, there were many battles I had to fight within and a feeling of being less than my white counterparts always followed me. This was untrue of course but I do believe that there were beliefs I held which I know many others hold today. I don’t want this to be the reality for my children. I want them to enter into rooms confidently and not feeling as though their race discounts them from sitting at the table. “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Ps 139
As I finish writing this blog, and truly taking in everything that has been written by Thabo and Mpumi, I am in tears. I know that South Africa can come together as a nation. And I absolutely LOVE what Toys with Roots is doing. I have seen first-hand the joy it brings a little girl to see a doll that looks like her – or perhaps one that looks like her friend in her class. We need to start having open and honest conversations, as well as learning from those around us. We need to be supportive, kind, and caring. We need to be like the dolls above and make the world a brighter place.
Please support this beautiful business! I would love to see more of their dolls all over the place – at my friends’ houses, at playdates, out with the ladies living in KyaSands, and carried around shopping centres with pride. I know that I am going to be purchasing some for gifts going forward, as well as the playschool in KyaSands, and I truly hope that you will do the same.