Hello Pretty visit to Kerry from TableArt's home studio

You know that feeling of having so much to do you can't handle it anymore?  And then you are also expecting guests in the evening, and you want to impress them with a lovely looking table but you simply don't have the time? Well, that problem can be easily solved with the disposable placemats from  TableArt. They are not only super practical but also can transform your table from a No to a Hell Yeah

We visited Kerry, the designer behind the brand, and ended up chatted for a long time! It was lovely to meet one of our sellers and put a face to the brand. We were welcomed in Kerry’s beautifully-decorated home not only by Kerry herself, but also our new hairy friend Pluto. 

We were sitting down while enjoying our rooibos tea and some biscuits and we talked about TableArt as a brand and everything that comes along with running a business with so few hands - just Kerry and her assistant. And we can tell you this: it's a lot! From the initial creative progress, to the designing, to the meticulous quality checking and precise packaging of the products, to finally sending them off to the customers.

It was nice to see how meticulously Kerry manages her business. We could even call it perfectionism, and you can see it in the end product. Every product (not only placemats but also trays, coasters, Glow Lights, place cards, greeting cards and tags) is made with lots of love and care, and we can see that.

TableArt is a brand success story and we can't wait to see what's to come. We're super excited to see it continue to grow and expand.

These two guys taught themselves to make furniture & decor pieces, quit their jobs and now have their own design business. Meet: GRYS.

The story of Grys

So let me start off by saying we are no writers, neither are we business tycoons that are trying to give business advice to anyone, these are just our thoughts that we want to put into words and maybe inspire one person out there reading this.

Grys.; for those of you who don’t know, is a home décor brand and interior design company that myself and Wayne Hayward started in August 2018. The idea came to us when we wanted to transform a normal wooden dining room table into one with a concrete top. After weeks of research and countless industry experts telling us it’s not advisable to pour cement onto wood and expect it to stick, we bought a bag of cement and off we went.

Without any ‘real’ knowledge of cement or the cement: sand:water ratio, we poured a 50kg bag of cement and started mixing it with water (can I also just add that we had no form of mixer, except our hands and arms as it would turn out later). Long story short, after hours of mixing, we had a mixture of concrete and we poured it onto the tabletop.

At this point, we also had no idea that we weren’t suppose to let the cement cure in direct sunlight or that we were suppose to keep the cement moist with water. Either way, a couple of hours later, the cement seemed hard and we carried the table inside the house.

Very impressed with the outcome, we waiting another couple of days before we started to use our one of a kind table.

At the time of this craft project, I was still employed. I was as happy as one could be in a job and industry that isn’t your real passion, yet my 7 years of studying had steered me into this position. Please don’t get me wrong, although I had days (most of them) where I just wanted to pack my back and never go back to the office, I was always grateful for a job, career and income which meant I could pay my bills at the end of the month. However, without going into too much detail as it’s not the point of the story, my security of paying bills came to an end in May 2018.

So back  to Grys...

One night, Wayne and I sat on the couch and we chatted about travelling abroad and how we could afford this, without going into debt. I suggested, why not start a business/hobby on the side and every cent we make from it, we save up for our next trip. So the thinking started and with our beautiful concrete dining room table staring at us, doing something with concrete, was the obvious choice. We started throwing ideas around and decided on making concrete serving platter/cheese boards. You might think to yourself how is this possible, how will this practically work and what will it look like. Well, the proof is in the pudding as they say. Again, after weeks of research, creating molds, testing different cement types, trying out different ratios, we got the winning formula. We actually had a product that looked beautiful, did not crack and did not break when slightly touched. So the sales and marketing began for our products and brand.

Throughout the process of manufacturing, selling and marketing our products, I decided that this is what I wanted to do full time. Believe me, this decision wasn’t a financial one. Yes, we sold the odd product here and there, but nothing close enough to sustain me financially every month. Luckily for me, Wayne was and still is employed full time as an Accountant.

So we started off by going to gift markets over weekends, thinking we would be rich by the end of it. How wrong we were. Our first market turned out ok, with friends and family members supporting us. The second market we sold one product and the third (which would also be our last) we sold zero. Very upset, we phoned our moms and asked them why everyone was lying to us, by telling us our products are beautiful, yet the sales leading up to that point proved the opposite. As mentioned, we stopped with the markets and decided to try different selling techniques.

Not to keep you reading for hours, we can now proudly say that we didn’t give up and with a lot of trial and error we are now selling our products on Hello Pretty, Takealot and our own online shop. With negotiations with a couple of other leading online shops and retailers.

The moral of the story is a cliché, if you have a passion for something, try and fail, try again and possibly fail again, however need stop trying. If one technique, regardless of manufacturing, marketing or sales doesn’t work, move on to the next one until you find THE ONE. And even then you will have days where you want to stay in bed (and that’s ok, I’ve done it once or twice), but tomorrow wake up, dress up and continue to work towards your end goal. We all have different end goals for starting a business, whichever it is just continue.

We started off with a crazy home DIY idea; today we have 15 products and working on expanding to different products and mediums.

This blog post is one in Hello Pretty's guest blog series. Each post is written by a person who is running their online store though South Africa's favourite art, design & craft marketplace.

If you'd like to more view guest posts in this series, and other posts where we interview local businesses, click here.

Wanna write a guest post on Hello Pretty? Email us at to find out more.

But Why Not... enter this giveaway! (CLOSED)

UPDATE: congrats to our winner, Nora Knijf. We hope you love your new things.

We know you love a giveaway... and this is a good one! We have an awesome prize, being sponsored by a super duper cool Hello Pretty store called But Why Not. Click here to browse the store, because they have way more cool stuff than we could fit in one blog post.

You'll find cushions, cushion covers, coasters and mugs, mostly with prints of cute illustrations made by Almarie the owner and artist behind the brand.

The Prize
1) Two Cacti Party Pattern 10 | Mugs,
2) A Cacti Party 9 | Pillow Cover,
3) A Cacti Party 1 | Pillow Cover, and
4) Two Let's Cuddle | Round Coasters.

A pretty wild haul, right?

To enter:
1) Browse the But Why Not store,
2) Leave a comment on this blog post letting us know what your favourite thing in their store is,
3) In your comment, tag two friends who might be interested.

If you're having trouble commenting here: visit this post on Facebook and post your entry there: Click to enter on Facebook.

On the But Why Not store you'll also find links to their social media accounts.

Here are a couple of But Why Not customer favourites to get you started:

Some stuff to know:
1) This giveaway is open to South Africans.
2) Entries close at 4pm on Friday 30th of March (this Friday).
3) Hello Pretty's standard competition Ts and Cs apply.
4) Only one entry per person per day will be counted.

Just look at this!

Jerry the Giraffe Wine Holder
Johannesburg Skyline Wall Art
Cape Town Skyline Wall Art
Native Decor's story began with a Valentine's Day gift of a power tool: a magic wand in the hand of a young creative with an entrepreneurial spirit.
These are the creations of Vusani Ravele, the talent behind Native Decor. He started Native Decor as an after-hours hobby in his living room. Before long, everything was covered in dust and his compulsion for drilling holes (and making some pretty things, as a side effect) was born.
Click the pictures to shop.
Ponte Coffee Pod / Capsule Holder
Caprice Coffee Pod / Capsule Holder
Minimalist design wall clocks
Dog Wine Holder
Penguin Wine Holder
Lion Wine Holder
Round Magazine Rack
Vusi's business is headed nowhere but up - his work has been a huge hit with consumers. A year after beginning, he participated in Mnet's Shark Tank show and walked away with a lucrative investment deal and a new business partner, Gil Oved of The Creative Counsel.
Keep an eye on this one... there's lots more to come.

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall…

I do sometimes wonder what people did without mirrors long ago. These days we have mirrors everywhere in our homes; from the bedroom to the bathroom and even in the hallway or lounge. They are very handy but also look very pretty in the home.

I love how designers have come up with beautiful designs and ideas for mirrors, they are functional but make great décor pieces too. If you have read my post about clocks on the Hello Pretty blog, you’ll know that I love pieces that have many functions.

There are some beautiful mirrors available on Hello Pretty, that I know will look amazing somewhere in your home. The Hermes inspired leather mirror from Bibi’s Antiques is something very special and unique. If you like something different, go for this one.
This silver round mirror from Exclusive Mirrors will definitely bring a little glamour into your home. I love their abstract mirror as well, this will look good in any hallway.

The antique framed mirrors from Antiques Alive are full of character and will make any space look larger. The details on this copper mirror from Jeli are amazing, I love the rustic feel it gives. 

Image One: Hermes inspired mirror
Image Two: Silver round mirror
Image Three: Abstract mirror
Image Four: Antique framed mirror
Image Five: Copper mirror

Your Kid’s Room With Hello Pretty

I like the idea of neutral or pastel colours for decorating a kid’s room. I have chosen some beautiful and adorable products from Hello Pretty that will make a great addition to your kid’s bedroom. The products are all neutral, so any of these can be used in a boy or a girl’s room.

This colourful hot air balloon garland from the younghearts store is a good choice to bring some colour and fun into your kid’s room. I love the pastel colours.

Then there are the crochet floor cushions from PommePomme. The neutral colour is great for a girl or boy’s room. Perfect for bedtime stories.

How cute is the animals and tree wall art from the Custom Vinyl Art store? I love the African theme and the pretty colours.

The large cloud cushion from Sprouts Kids Co is ideal for your little one to snuggle into at night. They will be off to dreamland with their cloud cushion in no time.

I think the large wooden elephant carving from Hands Design Collective is so cute to put in a kid’s room as a décor piece. When they are older they could even play with it as a toy. 

Unique Decor Pieces

I love how adding a small piece of décor into your home can really make a difference. With the interior decorating business booming, there are so many products available, meaning we can pick and choose from such a wide range. People are creating unique, interesting and fun décor pieces that will give your home that modern and fresh look.

I’ve found a few interesting décor pieces on Hello Pretty, that are different and fascinating and they could almost be classified as art pieces.

I love the hexagonal shelves from Drift and Pine, they are perfect for a little revamp. You can place other pieces of décor on them that were otherwise scattered around the room.  How cute is the Mr Bolt pipe lamp from Quanto -E -Bello for a boy’s room, it almost looks like a transformer!

Drift and Pine have another piece that is unique, fun and incorporates a bit of nature; the flower bud forest (penta table) is perfect for a coffee table. I think having coasters on a coffee table is very important and looks good too, I love the honeycomb coasters from Leg Studios.
These wall hooks from Lovilee are both functional and will look great in a bathroom, cloakroom or entrance hall!

I think it’s time to add a few pieces to my house, the hexagonal shelves are the first on my list. 

Image one: hexagonal shelves
Image two: Mr Bolt pipe lamp
Image three: flower bud forest
Image four:  honeycomb coasters
Image five:  wall hooks

Colour Palette- Reds

Summer is officially over in South Africa and we are swiftly moving into autumn. With this comes the colder weather, but also the beautiful autumn colours. I love when the trees' leaves start to change colour; I saw the most beautiful tree with red leaves the other day, and so this has inspired me to put together a red colour palette for today’s post.

This subtle red and white cushion from Kerry Cherry is perfect for the bedroom or lounge and gives just that pop of colour you want. The red seedbead necklace from Blossom Handmade will definitely make you stand out. I love the Veon bag, which comes in tomato red, from the Melo Unlimited Brand store.

The red printed passport cover from Creative Lines is bright enough for you not to lose your passport in your tomato red handbag while travelling. How cute are these egg potjies from Ranzani? What’s great about these is that you can use them for dip pots or to serve salt and pepper as well. 

Image One: red cushion
Image Two: seedbead necklace
Image Three: Veon bag
Image Four: passport cover
Image Five: egg potjies

Clocks as Décor

It’s great when an object has more than one function. I think clocks are very underrated; their job is to tell the time but they also make great décor pieces. How the watch can be a fashion statement and a great accessory, the clock can be a beautiful piece to add to your home too. I’ve found some great clocks on Hello Pretty that will look good anywhere you put them.

I love this simple clock with a rim from MATWILDESIGN, which would look great in your study. The Hamba Wall clock is something different with the rope detail, from Louw Roets, which is perfect for a man cave. The blue and white together on this clock from Sasha Leon is beautiful and perfect for a sunny kitchen.

Hallo Jane makes the most amazing clocks, I adore the peacock style bamboo clock and the vintage roman bamboo clock, both of them would look great in your bedroom.

My favourite is the peacock style bamboo clock, I think it would make a great gift for someone special too! 

Shine A Little Light

I love candles all around the house, I think in my bedroom alone I have about 5. They create such an amazing atmosphere and I must admit that a small part of me enjoyed the load shedding a while back, simply because I could light my candles. 

They smell great and make beautiful décor pieces. There is a very large range of candles for anyone and you can even make your own, which would be a fun DIY project to try over a weekend. Hello Pretty has some beautiful candles, I love the following;

For something fragrant, the ginger lime soy fragranced candle from Royal Afrique du Sud is great. The black textured candle from the Jeli store is something different, I love how big it is! A candle in a glass jar always looks nice in a home, I love this option from Bed Bath Body. Spoil yourself with a few of these moisturising candles from Wema Bodycare. Imagine how beautiful this 6-wick candle would look in the dark? I love the square flat candle from the Jeli store

Image One: Ginger lime soy candle
Image Two: Textured candle
Image Three: Candle in a glass jar
Image Four: Moisturising candle
Image Five: Square flat candle


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