So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire! It is so important to support local and share your findings with others.
During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.
I came across the sweetest page on Instagram and fell in love with the most gorgeous hand embroidered little people. Say hello to Abantu. The people. Anything you would like to have these little people embroidered on to – you can! From tote bags to t-shirts, pencil bags, table cloths, cushion covers – anything your heart desires.
Please give this special business a follow on Instagram and give them so much love! The lovely Skye Weiss, the talent behind this business would appreciate it, and so would I!
You have just started a brand new business – Tell us about it and what products you are selling?
Abantu.The people is a business I have just recently started. Abantu translates to ‘the people’ in Isixhosa. My products for now includes hand embroidered characters people on tote bags, T-shirts, make-up bags. It’s a simple design of families, couples, friends and individuals standing in a line or dotted amongst a crowd. People of all races, all shapes and sizes and all ages each telling you their own story.
A percentage of the profit is going towards a creative space in the Zolani township, helping build a safe space for their children. The goal is to create a spacious studio, wifi to connect to the outside world, good sound system, all for their freedom of creativity, freedom of choices, decisions and a safe space for them to find freedom and release in their own way.
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own businesses – I know it’s early days but perhaps some insights?
Having someone to help you along the way was really helpful to me. There are so many things you forget or maybe don’t even know you should do. It’s nice to have a friend, partner or someone who you think has great knowledge, advice and has an outside view on what you are doing and want to do.
Time management was something I had to play around with until I found my groove. I am a performing artist and am currently still working. I am learning that with hand embroidery it can take a very long time to make progress, trying to squeeze a stitch in here and there becomes unproductive. I found that dedicating a few hours to work on the pieces became more successful.
The business side of my creations was all very new to me.
There is so much to do to create a hobby into a business. Managing my orders was one of the first things I had to do. I started this business on tour and I had to find my stock wherever I was travelling, discussing and finding what my customers wanted wasn’t a challenge but every time I changed locations I had to find new stock. I found that pricing my products was tricky for me too, I am working with dollars, pounds, rands and previously Korean won.
I have so many friends and family from around the world and have so much help at the moment it’s incredible.
Where do you see your businesses in 5 years?
In 5 years time I would really love to see my business in a little store both in South Africa and in the U.K, selling hand embroidered items from tote-bags, T-shirts, make-up bags, aprons, pillowcases, tea-towels, backpacks and more. Poster prints with the Abantu design, from small to large, framed or poster card. Canvas paintings of the Abantu design as well as a collaboration with paint and thread. The options are endless and I would always be open to custom designs.
I am already working on the idea of hosting workshops for woman in S.A who have lost their jobs due to Covid or just in need of a job and teaching them my design, brand and vision. I would really love for the business to grow with helping people to gain work as well.
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
If you are wanting to start your own business but it seems too overwhelming, I would advise for you to definitely go for it. Just starting off slowly, take your time with decisions and gather all the information before launching your product. Set up your website, instagram page, Etsy page or whatever platform you desire. Find people to help you along the way. Do lots of research and stay true to what you are wanting to achieve.