Lichen & Leaf is a Cape Town based brand, which specialises in quality handmade earrings (in all shapes and sizes) and block-printed fabrics, that are turned into the most beautiful totes and bags. All items are made by owner and creator, Cynthia Edwards.

Cynthia creates pieces of art that are both beautiful and functional at the same time. I fell in love with her wonderful use of colour and design, that set her apart from other designers in her field.

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Her beautiful bags and totes are accented with leather, the designs are nothing short of inspired! Her earrings, which often adorn my ears are statement pieces and the bonus is they are so light, so the bigger the better! They can brighten up any outfit and get some many compliments every time I wear them.

I posed a few questions to Cynthia, here is the Q&A!

You started your own business – How does it feel to be a successful #girlboss that inspires others and loves what she does?

Success has so many different layers, I’m not sure I’m there yet! As to inspiring others; I’m sure I am far more inspired by those around me than I am inspiring 🙂 But I do love what I do, and this gives me huge gratification. I am very lucky to be able to pursue my dreams this way.

What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?

The most important lesson I have learnt is to be kind to myself. I have to take care of my wellbeing and mental health in order for my business to be successful. Secondly, I have learnt to take pride in what I do and to do it to the best of my ability. This comes with a good deal of internal debate and criticism which can both be constructive and destructive, but with a good balance it works out for the best. Thirdly, I would say honesty and communication have been a big help. Honesty to oneself and to others helps to build trust and good working relationships.

Where do you see your business in 2 years?

I have to be honest, goals are not my strong point. I find them hard to pin down and realise. But in two years I would very much like to look back on many more collaborations and creative projects, I would love to see my business expand into a space where I can experiment and grow and find success through that.

What is your advice to women out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?

This is a hard question for me, as I didn’t really see another choice for myself. I studied Fine Arts and I knew after 4 years that being an artist wasn’t for me. I came to realise that I would have to take things into my own hands to see some glimpse of work satisfaction in my future. But in retrospect I could not be happier I took the risk and put my creative output out there into the world as I imagined. There’s not a single day I wake up with dread for my work and to me, that is simply enough!

Have you always loved art and creativity and did this in turn just blossom into a career/business?

I have always loved to do and make. My years working through my Fine Arts degree were perhaps the most stifled my creativity has ever felt, ironically so, but after a few years after graduating the pull to start doing stuff with my hands again became so strong that I started printing again. Initially woodblock printing on paper, and then lino-printing onto fabric. Recently this same urge is evidenced by the new earring range, which has been super fun and rewarding to put out there! I am always dreaming and researching different things to do, I’m sure I drive my friends mad with all my dreamy ideas most of which never reach fruition! One day, though, one day…

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I’m a huge fan of Lichen & Leaf. Shop online or buy from their vast range of stockists if you prefer to see them in the flesh before buying. You can also find Cynthia and her beauties at the Old Biscuit Mill on a Saturday in Cape Town.

My job here is now done, I have shared with you one of my favourite SA designers and brands! Now I’m off to put on a pair of my Lichen & Leaf earrings and take on the world.

A valuable lesson that we should all take out of these wonderful words from Cynthia is to be kind to ourselves. This is something I know I regularly forget but needed to be reminded of.

Check out their website: http://lichenandleaf.com or follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lichenandleaf/

Photos from Lichen & Leaf.

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