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Tag: small business

The Tiny Dollhouse

When I think back to creating happy memories as a child, I think back to spending hours creating fairy gardens or playing with my Barbies in their house that my uncle built.  I think back to magic, imagination and love.  Recently Charlie Loves Studio shared a story on her Instagram about a beautiful business that is just launching and I was immediately thrust back into my childhood.  KaRi has created an adult version of fairy gardens and doll houses – and I am completely obsessed!


Your name:  Karen Kelly but people know me as KaRi (my creative alias)

Business name:  The Tiny Dollhouse (South Africa) and also the #girlboss behind the Lovilee Blog for the past 10 years.

Social media handles:  Facebook and Instagram and Website.

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What are 3 fun facts about you:
I always thought I was addicted to coffee, but have realised coffee is addicted to me.
I am bunny everything obsessed!
If I could choose any color in the world, it would be the color grey.

Tell me a bit more about the business:
I am a creative at heart, always busy with some activity behind the scenes, whether it is to knit, to embroider, to DIY or just to craft. I love keeping busy and surrounding myself with creatives. This year I decided to take the leap and follow my tiny passion to create an online store, with a beautifully curated Instagram feed and miniatures by myself and other makers. A way for other creatives to showcase their talents in a different way, but still linking to their bigger businesses. A community that will be brought together in a tiny (yet big) way. I am hoping to start a dollhouse revolution in South Africa!

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Where did the idea for this come from:
A few years ago my bestie in Holland sent me an image of a Scandinavian style modern dolls house and I was sold. I knew I had to have one and tried to find one in South Africa. It was virtually impossible so, I decided to make a plan and bring the dollhouses to South Africa myself.

Why tiny dollhouses:
Tiny things like miniatures and dollhouses make me happy and I hope to share this happiness with others, be it via Instagram, or the online store. Let’s face it, not everyone can have a perfectly organized home all the time, but you can manage something like this on a teeny tiny scale. It makes me happy to know that my tiny dollhouse is styled the way I like it and that no matter what chaos ensues in the home, there is a place that is the total opposite. I love the DIY element that comes with these miniatures, I might not have the time to do a room revamp in my home in one day, but it might just be possible to do it in my tiny space – giving me a total sense of accomplishment and pride.

Where can people order from:
They can order directly from the online shop. I courier countrywide, RSA only.

What kit do you think a first-timer should start with:
Step 1 – Purchase a dollhouse. If you are looking for a small project the one bedroom dollhouse is the perfect option and can be displayed beautifully in an office or bedroom.
Step 2 – Add some wallpaper or paint for the walls.
Step 3 – Add a carpet and plants
Step 4 – Get creative and make some cute furniture that you can move around.

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What sort of products can people expect from you:
As the owner and creative behind Tiny Dollhouse, I curate each and every product that is listed in the online store. There are not bulk amounts available of each product to keep the experience unique and I will be sharing DIY tutorials and printables going forward as well, essentially an extension of the Lovilee Blog, just on a smaller scale. I hope that this new pretty venture enables you to create your own tiny dream house! All of the dollhouses and products in the shop are made to a 1:12 scale.

Items in the store include Dollhouses, Miniatures, Carpets, Plants, Wallpapers and I will be adding Furniture soon.

Quote you live by:
“When you do what you love, nothing feels like work.”

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Anything else you want to add:
I have been the creative girl boss behind http://www.lovilee.co.za, a Lifestyle blog for the past 10 years and used to have a Wedding Hanger personalisation business that I sold just over 2 years ago. I had been looking to start a small online shop again selling items that I am passionate about. I guess this TINY obsession is about to grow BIG.

(All professional photographs taken by Hello Love Photography)


I absolutely LOVE the idea and passion behind this project.  I love that it can be a bit of quiet time for anyone to do something that they love, and allow their inner creative to come out.  I love that it could be a family project, where you can spend quality time together without the interference of cellphones and laptops or television.  I love that you can create your perfect little happy place – a place where you can escape and envision your dreams becoming a reality.

If you had to design your dream room right now, what would it look like?  What would you include?  And which room would it be?  Once I began thinking down this route, I realised that I definitely wanted to work on bringing my dreams to fruition.  I now want to create my own Tiny Dollhouse filled with miniatures of happiness – macrame plant hangers, a fluffy beanbag, handwoven rugs, mini family portraits, and a beautiful wallpaper…


 

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Backdrop Shop

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.


 

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Your name: My name is Casandra Swart

Business name: My business is called Backdrop Shop SA & Flatlay Boards SA

Social media handles: Backdrop Shop SA – Facebook, Instagram and Website.  Flatlay Boards SA – Facebook, Instagram and Website.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!


 

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Sunkissedstudio Design

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

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Your name: Samantha Hanlon

Business name: Sunkissedstudio Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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