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.
Now this brand new business is a special one! Please can I introduce you to a local stationery business – Cheeky Mantwa – who are designing cards – note cards / greeting cards / birthday cards – using traditional letterpress printing on square matte paper, in the most gorgeous colour pallet. These cards are blank inside for you to personalize for any occasion! The first collection is called Sticky People, depicting gorgeous and fun stick people in various different positions and occasions.
These cards and envelopes are 100% recyclable and 100% plastic free. Your order will arrive in 100% recyclable packaging, including biodegradable stickers!
Letterpress printing is also a printing method with the lowest carbon footprint in comparison to other printing methods – so you are not only supporting one woman’s dream by supporting this business, but you are also looking after the environment! it’s a WIN WIN!
We chatted to the lovely #girlboss behind the brand, Katie Mantwa and she had this to say to us!
You have just started a brand new business – Tell us about it and what products you will be selling?
Yes I have! I’ve just launched a new online Greeting Card store selling my own brand of Lovable, Sustainable Letterpress Greeting Cards and Note Cards (more products coming in the future!). The brand name is Cheeky Mantwa; Mantwa is my middle name which means ‘cheeky’ or ‘fighter’ in Sotho. I am a mix of South African and British, so my design influence comes from a variety of places including my heritage and my travels. The clean lines and open spaces come from a British or Scandinacian desire for simplicity and practicality and the deep earthy colours of the paper and bold hairstyles like the giant afro come from the diversity and beauty of South Africa.
The first collection is called ‘Sticky People’….if you check out the product designs, you will know why 😉 Excitement levels are super high at the moment because I’ve been carefully planning this for quite some time now! I actually created the brand when I was a child and sold hand-made versions of the cards in my mothers gift shop. When the shop closed, I packed it all away to focus on school of course and dreamt of re-launching some day. That day was Friday 24th July 2020 with a newly revamped brand with luxury paper, classy letterpress print (embossed using a metal mould) and a crisp new website! I can’t wait for the world to enjoy Cheeky Mantwa products with me!
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?
Absolutely! There has been a lot to learn and actually it felt like the build up to the launch was a smooth but step learning curve for me. A few key points are:
1) You may think you can do it all yourself, but please please admit early on that you really can’t! I am so bad at asking for help, it just wasn’t a part of who I was. I always pushed to be some kind of independent woman who can figure it all out alone, but you soon start to realise that you are either out of your depth or don’t have the time to move the needle. Get help 🙂 Either ask for help by trading skills with others who need help too, or pay for help if you can. I ended up working with Overduu (http://www.overduu.com/) to build my website and I am so glad I did……my stress level reduced immediately as I handed the website build over to the amazing team! Working with them meant I launched a month early!
2) Don’t be shy to tell trusted people about your idea. For some reason it took me a while to open up to the people around me to tell them that I was actually seriously planning to start this business. I guess I had a bit of fear that if I didn’t actually pull it off then I may look silly or that I have a tendency to always have new ideas and people must wonder if any of them will ever work. I am so over that now! The moment I started to talk about it, support came flooding in and things started to move. Have those conversations sooner than you think necessary 🙂
3) Set what I call ‘Think Big’ goals that are really aspirational, then quickly break them down into small monthly or weekly tasks that will help you slowly get there. Don’t forget the big dream, but don’t let it overwhelm you either. A few times I wanted to reduce the dream down as it seemed unattainable, but when broken down, it is totally attainable! I use Asana to log and track small tasks that I tick off daily.
Where do you see your businesses in 5 years?
My ‘Think Big’ dream is for this to become a global inclusive and conscious stationery brand stocking my designs and a few products resulting from collaborations with other like minded brands. I don’t want to dominate the world, I just want Cheeky Mantwa to be accessible to a diverse array of customers who will find joy and quality in my products. I want to make people smile and see themselves in my products.
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
Don’t hesitate to say your dream out loud….admit that you want it then pretend you have it and plot little steps to help you get there. Also make a list of people or organisations you feel may be able to support you get there so you can ask for help when you need it. I joined a network called Future Females which has provided learning and connections I never had before. We all need help sometimes 🙂