Entrepreneurs

Totally addicted to glass. Meet Sue, maker of Living Glass.

I am Sue Webber, owner of Living Glass. I am passionate about anything glass, it is such a beautiful and versatile medium. I have had a go at most crafts, but when I discovered glass work I was hooked.

I started working with glass about 25 years ago and for many years my studio was the place I went to for stress relief. I would putter about and all my problems seemed far away. My family and friends came to expect a piece of my work for birthdays and other celebrations.

There is a limit to how much one can give away, however, and I got to a stage where I had to either sell some pieces to pay for more glass or stop.

Well, stopping really wasn't an option so I started selling and Living Glass was born. 
 

I began selling at markets and apart from getting up early to set up I enjoy the markets, it's wonderful to meet new people and make new friendships. The people I meet also give me ideas for my work.

I retired two and a half years ago and while this gave me more time in the studio, I craved company so I started giving workshops in stained glass work. I LOVE the workshops, I get an afternoon's company and the chance to show off what I can do. Many of the people  have become good friends. Some wanted to continue at home but didn't want to spend a fortune on equipment so I started making pre-cut kits which only require a soldering iron.

My biggest challenge has been trying to use the computer to show off my products, I am much more comfortable with a glass cutter than a mouse and even something as simple as uploading photos is tricky so opening my Hello Pretty shop was a major achievement.

I am lucky enough to have a lovely studio and a very supportive husband who keeps me supplied with tea., I also have Kermit The Dog who keeps me company in the studio although he often gets in the way too.

What comes next? Who knows, but whatever it is will be smashing.

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 through 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 info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.

 

The Girl who Smiled Beads, Beaded Fantasy from Zululand

Leeann Naidoo, of Beaded Fantasty shares her story with us...

Living in the heart of Zululand comes with many perks and a lot of inspiration. In Zululand the African culture is embraced wholeheartedly by a community of mixed genders, races and age groups. From this inspiration Beaded Fantasy was born.

Beaded Fantasy started in the corner of a mechanical workshop where a little girl sought to release the creativity inside of her. Of course, at 12 years old, no one would take her seriously unless she showed initiative. With that in mind she purchased her first pack of beads, strung them onto a cotton thread and admired her first bracelet which she wore with pride and joy.
Her joy was short-lived when the bracelet snapped the very next day. Disappointed but determined, she decided that the best thing to do would be to educate herself. The library became her best friend and books her obsession. She learnt as much as she could and decided to try again.

The second bracelet was stronger and did not snap but there was another problem, how would a person put the bracelet on and then take it off? After more research the little girl discovered clasps. Another problem solved.

As time went on, the little girl never stopped trying, never stopped researching and never gave up. She learnt every style of beading, weaving and braiding she could. People saw her determination and, one of the good things about Zululand, they encouraged and supported her. She eventually started making beaded jewellery to sell and as that began to succeed, she decided that she wanted to reach a broader market, outside of Zululand. She wanted her art to travel.

At 18 years old she decided to place her products on the internet and opened her first online store on Hello Pretty. Now 22 years old, Leeann Naidoo is in the process of opening her first shop in Eshowe to bring beaded art to the public.

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 info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.

Hey...How do I become a seller on Hello Pretty?

Calling all local creatives and small business owners - we want YOU! Sign up to become a Hello Pretty seller in a matter on seconds 🕐

Turn your creative passion into an online career. Whats started as a passive side income for many of our sellers have turned into full time, fully successful businesses. Start small, out your designs, arts and crafts out there and see where it takes you. Its such an exciting journey.

We've got three pricing plans for you to choose from. All with different benefits. Have a look through and see which one would suit you best.

  • Simple transparent fees (a variety of options of differing plans)
  • Manage and control your own store 
  • No contracts. Cancel whenever you want
  • Integrate your store with your social media pages, particulary Facebook where you can see your items
  • Hello Pretty has an extensive customer base - seriously, we have a HUGE reach. 
  • Add Google Analytics so you can keep track of sales

5 tips to start an online business, by Natalie of Sugar & Vice

Natalie van Dijk (nee Vice) of Sugar and Vice, always knew two things: that she wanted to run her own business and that she wanted to incorporate her creative talents into this business. The impetus to make this happen eventually came in the form of her retrenchment from a comfortable marketing job in 2014. Rather than acknowledge defeat, Natalie saw this as an opportunity to reinvent herself and make that business idea happen!

Sugar & Vice was started without any funding, handouts or loans. Instead Natalie relied on tenacity, hard work and an uncompromising commitment to her vision to build the brand. All Sugar & Vice products are handmade in Cape Town. The growth and development of the local creative industry is of key importance to the brand.

Starting and managing a business has been a steep learning curve for me and I am always happy to share my experience and learnings with friends, family and acquaintances. The thing is though that it is a very complex question to which the only short answer is, it is complicated and a lot of hard work. But I’ve given this question a lot of thought and condensed it into five points, which I am happy to share here.

Note that this is by no means the comprehensive guide to starting or running a business. This is merely my experience on my particular kind of business (an online shop in the creative industries with a wholesale element).

Over the years I have invested in my own professional learning, growth and development by, among others, doing a mini MBA course in business management, various kinds of training with the Craft and Design Institute (CDI), and courses in graphic design and interior decorating. I’ve worked in marketing, sales and admin roles and all of these have added to my experience in various ways.

1.    Do (A LOT OF) research
This is so important, because you need to know where in the market to position your product or service. Make sure you have a unique selling point – so that you know exactly what sets you apart from similar brands. See what similar products are priced at. Get quotes from all suppliers. Don’t forget about packaging. Find out how much the initial out lay will be and think about how you are going to finance this.

2.    Draw up a business plan
No, you won’t stick to it exactly because theory is one thing and practice is something completely different, but this is an important exercise to get you thinking about your business and how you are going to make it work. Write down your vision and mission statement. Note down what you want to achieve with your business. Include how you will finance things and what your marketing plan is.

3.    Start small
At the beginning I went a bit bananas with the variety of colourways I made my products available in. I should’ve chosen just two colourways to simplify things and to establish my brand. Also, don’t go overboard with spending too much money on stationery and equipment, only get what you absolutely need. You don’t want your cash to be stuck in objects, instead of being available for spending on suppliers/couriers. Don’t make your range too big. I’d advise starting with between five and ten to test the market, and gradually adding on from there.

4.    Do market research
Delve deep here. You need to make sure you know who your customer is, what they like, when they buy, how they like to be communicated with etc. If you do this properly then you will be able to market your products more effectively.

5.    Professional photos
The need for professional photographs cannot be stressed enough. This makes the world of difference. I have uploaded photos of my product to social media that I’ve taken myself and no sales, but as soon as I uploaded a professional photo of the same product, I made a few sales of that item the same day. Photography is definitely worth the financial investment.

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 info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.

Hey 👋 HP Seller, Clay Creations 56

Hi my name is Debbi Radomsky and my business is Clay Creations 56 where I make and sell beautiful unique ceramic pieces, ideal for home decor or serving delicious meals and snacks. My multifunctional pottery pieces can be used for jewellery, sweets, condiments, tapas, salads, fruit or just to simply adorn your dining room table with a touch of pretty.

They are also perfect gifts for any occasion - birthdays, engagements, weddings, house warmings, dinner parties or to simply spoil yourself because you deserve it!
 

Pottery is my happy place and where I can escape from the day to day stress of the real world. I always remember loving art classes as a child and especially enjoyed getting my hands messy with clay while making small pinch pots in my pottery classes. But then as I grew up I lost touch with my creative side and was very focused on numbers and left-brain thinking which lead me into a financial career. It was only 8 years ago that I decided to listen to my instinct and follow my longing for some creativity with clay and it has been the best thing I have ever done! 

I am so enjoying being a female entrepreneur and running my own small sideline business. It’s a hobby that has become a passion to express myself and take a break from the rat race. I’ve learned so much in this process and unlike numbers and finance which are either right or wrong, with ceramics everything is uncertain and unpredictable. Sometimes the kiln gods take over and what you receive as the end result is a complete surprise! A good lesson in life that things don’t always go according to plan and to let go and enjoy the process anyway. The unexpected result is often better than the original concept! 

I enjoy making platters, bowls, vases and sculptures and find working with clay so rewarding as one has to display patience and special love for a project to get the desired outcome. I hand make everything myself either at home or at a studio in Cape Town CBD with the inspiring backdrop of Table Mountain. The beauty around me in nature and everyday life sets the tone for my various ranges, but ocean blue is my personal favourite! All my work is available to purchase online at Hello Pretty or in the various shops I stock around the country. 

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 info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.

Hey 👋 HP Seller, Silver Song Jewellery

I am Suzanne Groenewald, jewellery designer and manufacturer of Silver Song Jewellery. I draw my inspiration from the beauty and lure of nature, specifically trees and leaves. I have a fascination with gemstones and love working with unique gems. Most of my pieces are designed around specific gemstones. I work with all kinds of metals but prefer to use silver, for its beautiful colour and character. 

I believe that jewellery is a precious treasure, regardless of the cost or material used. It is something personal and valuable, to be adored and admired. Personally I love to look at all kinds of beautiful jewellery, to admire the workmanship and design of it, to buy it and to make it, to wear it, to hoard it and to share it. I simply love all things about jewellery! Through making jewellery, I hope to share my passion thereof with anyone who wants to look at or buy my pretty shiny things.

Mid last year I took on an exciting new endeavor and opened an online store on Hello Pretty. I did this in order to share my jewellery with a broader audience and I am very happy to be part of the Hello Pretty community! Every jewellery piece that I make is uniquely designed and manufactured by hand. I never stock a large selection, as my focus is on uniqueness and quality, not quantity. Starting this online store has definitely been my business high since it forced me to rethink and reconfirm my design principles and the direction in which I want Silver Song Jewellery to go.

My advice to any new Hello Pretty sellers out there: Go for it! Let no one stop you from doing what you love and from sharing your passion with the world.
 

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 info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.

Hey 👋 HP Seller, Lady of the Herbs

Albert Einstein once said, look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better. Over the past couple of years, this is what I’ve been doing. My name is Roxanne Joubert, and I am the owner of Lady of the Herbs.

I live in a picturesque town named George. It’s located in the heart of the Garden Route at the foot of the majestic Outeniqua Mountains. I am constantly inspired by the natural beauty of the Garden Route and use this inspiration when making and designing products.

It all started with my passion for nature and the power of herbs. This passion leads me to my core mission which is to HEAL the world using nature.
 

The start of Lady of the Herbs
As my passion for herbs evolved, I became more hungry for knowledge and decided to study Herbal Medicine. While still studying in 2017 I designed my first herbal product ever, our Herbal Healing Salve, as a Christmas gift for my family and friends.

By the end of January 2018, I had them coming back asking me to please make more, as the salve is working wonderfully. They started sharing it with their friends and family. Soon I had strangers contacting me to buy my healing salve.

One of my favourite stories was an older gentleman who has been struggling with eczema. He had tried everything in a pharmacy, and nothing seemed to cure it until he tried our Herbal Healing Salve. This salve was the first and only thing which cured his eczema.
 

I passed my studies with distinction in April 2018 and started designing more products while growing the business.

Our beliefs at Lady of the Herbs        
Human beings have been evolving with nature for thousands of years. We've used nature for survival, food, and medicine. Unfortunately, our connection with nature has been replaced with our fast lifestyles, technology, and industrial development.
                                                                       
We believe that our lost connection with nature has a major influence on the health of our society. This is why we aim to bring nature back into our everyday lives!

Why herbs?
Our bodies recognize that herbs are a gift from nature, and respond to them in a natural, healthier way.
                                                                       
Herbs are made up of thousands of chemical compounds known as constituents, each creating their own reaction within the body. These constituents work together to create balance within our bodies. Not only do they promote self-healing but they also strengthen the body to fight and eject illness.

About our products
Our products are designed to help human beings with everyday ailments using herbs that have been utilized by, as well as evolved with mankind for thousands of years.

They are all:

  • Handcrafted with passion, love, and appreciation for nature.
  • Thoughtfully designed with the power of herbs in mind.
  • Made of good quality and natural (organic where possible) ingredients free from any harmful chemicals.
  • Environmentally conscious and packaged in reusable glass packaging.
  • Endorsed by Beauty Without Cruelty and vegan-friendly.

Business highlights
Every time I hear that our products are helping our customers with their ailments, I do a happy dance! I’ve only received positive feedback and can not be more thankful for the support I’ve received.

For nature
Walk barefoot, go hiking, sit next to a tree and absorb the powers nature has to offer. We are all dependent on our planet and as David Attenborough said: The stability of nature can no longer be taken for granted.

Consider the effects your actions have on nature and learn to give back just as much as you take to create a balance to not only sustain, but evolve with our planet.

Final message
Live a healthy and balanced life. When we are balanced within our bodies and mind we become a “superhero” version of ourselves.

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 info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.

Hey 👋 HP Seller, Apparition Jewellery

My name is Kristin Miles, owner of Apparition Jewellery. I have always been a very creative person, and it's been my dream to have my own store for years.  My parents encouraged me to be creative, and I realised from a young age that is the thing I enjoy most in life.  I enjoy metal music, however I also enjoy pop and classical.  I don't like limiting myself in terms of the creative mediums I can enjoy.

My store was born from this love of the arts and creativity.  I tried my hand at wire jewellery, but it didn't come naturally to me.  I had a few extra supplies lying around after my attempts, so I started putting some earrings together - something I had started doing during my years at college.  When I looked around online for types of jewellery, I noticed that a few of the items I had made were actually chainmaille weaves, and thus my business was born. 

I find immense joy in creating the pieces in my store.  Each is made with love, one ring at a time, to ensure the highest quality and care.  I used to always go buy jewellery in stores, but then you see so many people wearing the same accessories as you!  I feel that, with my business, I can offer something rather unique to people just like me, and allow people to better express their individuality.

I have faced challenges during the short time I've had my business.  I've had people upset that I do the same craft as them and them trying to smear my name.  But you just have to rise above the drama and remember what your own goals are and who you are as a person.  In business, there will always be challenges, but that is just something you need to learn to deal with.  The satisfaction I feel when I create something new that I never made before is just so amazing, and it makes it all worth it.

The highlights for me is that I can just keep growing.  There is so much for me to still learn and so much to try!  There are no limits to what I am capable of, and I can't wait to learn and do more. 

The lows so far have really only been facing the unnecessary drama others cause.  I strongly feel that as crafters and small business owners, we should be supporting and uplifting each other rather than breaking each other down or trying to hamper progress.  There are more than enough people in this world to buy your product, so there is no need to fight or try to hurt each other.

My tips for new sellers is to just go for it!  There is nothing in this world you cannot do or learn.  You are your own limitation.  People will always try to get in your way, but that's an indication that those people should not be in your life.  Surround yourself with loving, supportive people, and just do what you love.  If your craft makes you happy, then go for it.  

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 info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.

Hey 👋 HP Seller, actuallyashleigh

Hi, I'm Ashleigh from actuallyashleigh, although pretty much everyone I know calls me Ash. I'm a wife to a wonderfully supportive husband, and a mom (and stepmom) to 3 kids.  I'm also a mom to a Boston terrier, who is by far the neediest child of all! I'm definitely a homebody and I'm so lucky to be able to work from home, it gives me time to draw, garden, cook, fetch kids from school, and do all the other endless things that moms have to fit in. Despite not having a green finger, I love to draw plants, and I'm mad about birds.

I started actuallyashleigh (I love a good tonguetwister!) to make my drawings a bit more functional. I also have an annoying habit of having to cover empty surfaces with some kind of pattern or decoration, so plain white ceramics were a good place to do that. I began by getting some designs printed on transfer sheets, buying a few second hand ceramics, and then cutting and sticking to my heart's content. I found a friendly potter who had a kiln, and soon I had a stash of bowls with my designs on them!  It was so exciting that I carried on, sourcing different ceramic ware and drawing new designs. 

For quite a while it was only friends and family who bought my pieces, and you can only give your stuff as birthday presents for so long. Then I started doing markets and selling my things in shops. And I suddenly had to start producing more to keep up!
My business is still small, as I'm a one-woman band, and I don't mass produce anything, but I'm getting there. I have my stock in a few more outlets now, and a couple big upcoming shows this year. There are new works in progress, and some exciting new ideas in the planning phase.

The challenges include being self-motivated, finding time to take proper stock photos and keeping up with social media posts. As a behind-the-scenes type of person, I find 'selling myself' at markets somewhat nerve-wracking, but you slowly get used to it; and there's actually nothing better than meeting your customers and seeing how happy they are when they buy something they love, that you've made! The highlights of having your own business are obviously the flexible hours, being paid for doing something you enjoy, and for putting in the hours and hard work for no one but yourself.

Any tips I could give for someone starting out is to work out your pricing properly in the beginning - work out a wholesale price, and then double that for your retail price. Don't short-change yourself, and don't underestimate how valuable your time is. If you're doing something you love, you'll automatically be good at it. Market yourself and get out there!

Thanks so much,
Ash

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 info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.

Hey 👋 HP Seller, 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.

https://hellopretty.co.za/grys

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 info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.
https://hellopretty.co.za/grys

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