meet and greet

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.

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.
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