When I was told about Koosh-uhn by a friend of mine & I spotted their new fabric unicorn I was overly excited & immediately popped over to their website to get lost in their products & beauty.
Isn’t she absolutely stunning? These handmade toys are all so special & can be made in a variety of different fabrics to suit your specific needs/wants/decor. So of course the one I am getting is pink floral… I feel like it has such a cute little personality & is a definite much-needed addition to my collection!
What do you do: Koosh-uhn is an online store that designs and creates products for little ones, homes and special occasions.
What are some of the different products you sell: Braided cot bumpers, Knotted ball cushions, Keepsake soft toys, Playmats, cut out milestone words…
Why do you think homemade is so important: SO much love goes into homemade products. When you buy homemade products you are buying into someones dream of having their own business. We have amazing talent in South Africa and it’s awesome to support them.
What is your most popular product: Braided Cot bumpers
Whilst exploring social media I “met” Charlie, & I have never looked back. Her creations immediately drew me in, & I found myself placing her pages at the top of my “to view” list for the day so I could keep up to date with what she was making & ensure I didn’t miss out on anything. When I finally got the courage to actually reach out & make contact with this lovely lady, my heart simply exploded with love. You see, Charlie is not only an amazingly talented South African woman, but she is also someone who truly cares about everyone & wants to empower others.
This feature has been a long time coming & I am so thrilled to finally be able to introduce you to the one & only CHARLIE LOVES STUDIO.
Your name: Charlene Stothers Your business name: Charlie Loves Social media handles:Facebook and Instagram
What do you do: A stay at home mama to Little Red (4 years) and Little Snow (2 years) and I design and handcraft artisinal dolls for Charlie Loves. Its all about loving what I do and sharing the love. I’m a doll making mama with a cause 🙂 Aristotle said that “At the intersection where your gifts, talents and abilities meet a human need, there-in you will discover your purpose”. I love this quote. Part of my cause is using my gifts to empower women in townships and use a portion of the sales to raise funds to feed children in need.
How did you get into this: I suppose the dream began in a little girl (a.k.a. Charlie), during a time when imaginative adventures were lived through Enid Blyton books, dreams could be had and anything was possible. Off-course as time passed, the dream was shadowed by grown up ambition and responsibilities. But be that as it may, the magic still lingered . . .The glow of the embers of Charlie Loves was “accidentally” fanned during a difficult time when I experienced the pain of losing one I love so dearly. It was during this time that sweet and unassuming Little Red asked for a Unicorn Doll. A world of creativity became a comforting distraction, and the small sweet arms of my 3 year old “Little Red” and 1 year “Little Snow” brought inspiration, hope and purpose. Life was precious, relationships mattered and I knew it…purpose drove me, to be true to myself and make a difference to others. The more I created, the more I found myself lost in a familiar and wonderful world of playful delight, imagination and creativity . . . It brings such delight to me and my own children, I knew I had something that I had to share …
How long have you been doing this for: I tested the market in December 2017 just before Christmas and after the astounding success and acceptance of Primrose the Unicorn, I made a decision to pursue Charlie Loves at the end of January 2018. It was only until recently that I decided that I am going to pursue this with intent as a social entrepreneur. It was and still is a scary thing to commit to – now I cannot fail, I have a couple of women and a bigger cause that is depending on our success. No pressure 🙂
What did you do before this: I’m a Risk Manager by profession, but have taken a sabbatical for the last 4 years to be a stay at home mom and part time photographer. The nudge was however circumstantial and one that I am grateful for. When I was 9 months pregnant, the company I was working for was restructuring. It was a bit bitter sweet as uncertainty and change is always scary. But fortune favors the bold. I took my voluntary severance package and my priority remained on our young family. My husband and I made the necessary sacrifices and I am so so grateful for his support. I must admit that the biggest struggle at this time was one of significance and the words unemployed made it worse. However in life there are many seasons and we should always see opportunities and continue to make choices that drive us forward towards our goals. I dont know if Primrose would ever have been born if it wasn’t for my role as mama and my break from the corporate scene. With my youngest baby reaching the 2 year old milestone, I am now more open to consulting opportunities and pursuing my creative dreams and purpose.
Why do you think handmade is better: Oh I love this question. Because so much of heart and love goes into handcrafted items. Handcrafted items are special and unique – they are not mass produced and they take many hours – the consumer knows that so it lends to a bespoke feel. One of the comments I will never forget is someone looking at what I do, and saying, “its a work of art!” – Blow me away why don’t you 🙂 No two pieces are ever identical and I can vouch for that myself – I tried.
Now when I see a maker at a market – I value their creation their effort and their time cos I know that what they put out is actually a piece of them, its their design, their handiwork and their time…all very personal. If you looking for a unique treasures that are organically designed and are handcrafted quality – then handmade is the way to go.
What is your favourite toy: Currently my favourite toy is a beautiful handmade doll from Canada. I made friends with the little dollies maker on instagram and was so blessed to have won her in a giveaway. My dollies maker has a huge global following but her humility and openness is also what makes my dolly so special. Like me she was a stay at home mom and her journey inspires and encourages me. Every initiative had a start and because she didn’t give up, her dolls are sought world wide and pinned over and over and over. So much heart, love and personality is in that heirloom piece. How can she not be my favorite. Little Red named her Sunshine and she is a constant inspiration to me.
Where are you based: Jozi, Mnzansi 🙂
What quote do you live by: Soli Deo Gloria – its a Latin term that I had with me since my young days in corporate and it gives me purpose and perspective. And apparently I’m not the only one, renowned composer, Johann Sebastian Bach used it to sign off his work.
For me it answers that question so many people ask. Why am I here? It sees the bigger picture, that its not all about me, its about my God design and using this to help others and ultimately glorify God. I see myself and everyone else on this planet created beautifully and with intent, full of purpose and possibility.
Anything else you want to add: Yes, that Megan is an absolute inspiration to me. When I “met” Megan online, she was so incredibly sweet and bubbly and I didn’t know her story, but I liked her already 🙂 – When I sell a doll (or even when I don’t), I love to connect with the people who follow my journey. I want them to know that there is a person behind their doll, with lots of heart and soul. But be that as it may, my blessing came from meeting SO many beautiful people who have touched me and shared my journey with me -people who I otherwise would never have known. They are the fuel that keeps me going – I am so grateful. I could never have done it without their support. Megan has been this to me. Always commenting and encouraging me. As she shared her story with me, her courage and beauty shone through so brightly and she made such an impression on me. How can I ever put in words how my heart feels to know that Primrose is part of her journey and she is a beautiful part of my story. I am so honored.
Don’t these beautiful creations make you want to be a child again? Don’t you want to lie in bed & create a whole imaginary life for them before closing your eyes & cuddling them closer for a night of good dreams & happiness?
I absolutely LOVE handmade toys, & being someone who loves to crochet, I understand how much love & time gets poured into even the most simple of creations. These are not simple “things” that anyone can buy from any store, but rather something special that should be treasured forever. Through my blog about Jislaaik! Online Store, I came across Ruby & Rose Crochet. I love the look of all their work, & the fact that Michelle is empowering women & upskilling them is truly the cherry on top!
Your name: Michelle Pillay Business name: Ruby & Rose Crochet Social media handles:Facebook & Instagram What do you do: I’m a wife and a mom to four school going children, so I spend my days running around after them. Extra murals, sport matches etc. I’m a stay-at-home mom and do all the run around of buying the yarns for the ladies that I empower and delivering it to them and then collecting the finished items and delivering or couriering them to the clients. I do all the advertising and sourcing of clients. I have always had a love for yarn because my grannies used to knit and crochet items for their grandchildren.
How long have you been crocheting for: I have always known how to knit and am a beginner crocheter. Why do you love what you do: Firstly I’m empowering women who are not employed and are able to make an extra income while still being able to take care of their kids. How can people order from you: I finally have my own website, after two and a half years of hard work.
Do you do custom orders: We do a lot of custom orders for clients which we love to do. Why do you encourage buying handmade: Handmade items just have some kind of value , not in the money sense, you can feel the love and energy in each item. It’s an item that a child would cherish and keep and possibly hand down to their children. We have never had an unhappy customer. What is your favourite toy/product: Each and every new item I love, but my favourites would be the beautiful Ballerina mice, the gorgeous Girl and Boy bunny and the unicorn range.
Quote you live by: I don’t have a quote, but believe in Positive Energy and staying positive. Stay away from the negativity.
These products are really all so beautiful & would make a perfect gift for somebody else, or even yourself! These are something that would be treasured forever & are so unique. I could spend hours looking through all the images of these gorgeous handmade goodies, & I hope that you do the same.
Have you seen the story/image on Facebook that has been doing the rounds about having a toy made from Grandpa’s shirt so that the grandchildren can remember him? When I saw this it really touched me, as I know I would have loved one of these from both my dad & my grandpa. When I came across a company called Snuggle Bug Goodies, tears immediately came to my eyes & I was so touched by what Elaine is doing & that she has brought this idea to life!
Your name: Elaine Geldenhuys Your business name: Snuggle Bug Goodies (Instagram can be found here)
When did you start: Wow very long ago in 2011 when we were planning our first baby, and I saw a need for baby bedding and room accessories. The business evolved and I ended up making alot of bears for nursery decor. Then one day someone asked me to make a keepsake and this venture was born.
What does your business do: I mainly make keepsake/Memory bears from old baby clothing and also for someone that has passed and you want to keep a momento.
But then I also make rag dolls, ballerinas, unicorns, cats, and bunnies.
Why did you start this: I love seeing the face of the person receiving one of my bears and them having that nostalgia of where the items came from or when they were worn.
What did you do before: I studied fashion design and was working in retail when I met my husband, and like most things in life plans change.
What is your favourite & why: The bears I make are each one different in their own way. So it is very exciting every time I get clothing to see how this one is going to turn out.
What are your average prices: the keepsakes are R230 and the rag dolls range between R150-R200
What quote do you live by: Having worked in retail I know what customer service is and should be, and I just believe that honesty is king.
Anything else you want to add: It’s difficult in today’s age having your own small business, trying to make a name for yourself and money. I’m a stay at home mom now with 2 busy boys making soft toys but i am loving every minute of it.
I wish I had known about these sooner as I really think they are something that will be treasured forever. Please contact Elaine via either of her social media channels, or via email (email@example.com) to place your order. Remember that special person forever x
“That’s the thing about true love, dearie. It can slip through your fingers. It’s the most powerful magic in the world, the only magic powerful enough to break any curse. It must be protected at all costs.”
Growing up I LOVED fairytales! In fact, I still love them… I think the idea of “happily ever after” is something that we can never grow out of.
Do you remember the story of Rumpelstiltskin? He could spin straw into gold, & when I reminded myself of this, I knew that Melissa could not have chosen a more apt name for her business!
Rumpelstiltskin is her baby, & she creates handmade sewn toys (without a pattern I may add!) for so many people. And one thing that really blew me away is that even though this is her own small home-business, she still finds it in her heart to give away her toys to others that are less fortunate simply to brighten their day.
Earlier this year I was hospitalised for PCP Pneumonia & my lungs were taking huge strain. They were only functioning at 30% & the doctors weren’t sure if I would pull through. They quickly put me on to all sorts of treatment (I am still on antibiotics – 6 months later) & I was allowed to go home after 2 weeks. And this is what I came home to! A set of happy, healthy lungs! This cushion reminds me every day about how far I have come & that I need to take care of & listen to my body… After I had received this I knew I had to get to know Melissa more, & we have developed a special friendship – despite never having met in person.
Your name: Melissa Marneweck
Some interesting/fun facts about you: I love baking and all things art. I’ve been a gym instructor; an ambulance assistant; arts facilitator; an author and lots more. I love learning new things and trying them out.
Your business name: Rumplestiltskin
When did you start: 2015 on Facebook. But I have been making toys since around 1995.
What did you do before this: Arts facilitator for water affairs.
How/why did you start: I’ve always loved sketching.designing and all forms of crafts and art.
What do you love most about having your own business: Being home with my son!
What have been some of your biggest battles with running your own business: Long hours & having to do it all.
What is your main objective for your businesses: To help others and become a household name.
She sent me a unicorn cushion that she had made for me for my birthday, just to make me smile! And believe me it did. I love the magic, rainbows & positivity that everything around unicorns possesses.
Please contact this amazing lady if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind toy/creation. They each have their own personalities & are absolutely beautiful. I feel truly honoured to have some of her toys in my home.