So as you all know I love to support local and started a #girlboss segment on the blog where we could share insights and stories, learn and inspire! And most importantly, SUPPORT each other.
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.
So let’s talk all about Love and Sparkles!
I’ve been following Kate’s business expand over the last few months and boy does she make it look easy as she takes it all in her stride!
She has the confidence, the drive and is a go getter and has achieved so much in her young years.
This is Kate in one of her divine aprons!
I found her last year when I was looking for gifts and boy were they a big hit under the Christmas Tree.
Check out their shiny new website that was launched only a few days ago!
So let’s see what our #girlboss had to say when faced with some questions:
I planned for about 3,5 years on what I wanted to do, while I was in corporate. What I did was ensure that before I left retail e-commerce that I was fully proficient in all aspects of the business and how it worked, because I knew this was where I wanted to go. I currently have a holding company under which I run various projects, however, all of them relate to the same way of working. This has allowed me to experiment in different ways and with different looks and feels! With a background as an E-Comm business developer and Buyer/Graphic Designer, I was trained to look for gaps, so this is something I still do.
The biggest part of my business is corporate branding with personalisation, I have a few amazing clients that I service. I run Love and Sparkles, a personalized gifting (which is my favourite) business. I design and procure ranges for retailers and small stores at low units, (which is so hard to source in SA, so I do this for small businesses and import etc for them).
I also own a sports accessories brand called Fineapple, And a jewellery range called the Dahlia Collection.
I consult to small brands on E-commerce and how to do it, negotiations, marketing etc with retailers, and most recently I have launched a new brand called Wishbone which is for Dogmoms and their pooches!
I worked in the hardest corporate environments for so long, and this taught me a lot about the kind of business I want and the kind of person I don’t want to be. If I’m honest, I want to do things that add to happy parts of peoples lives. I work harder than ever, and I know few people who work the hours I do, but at the end of the day, its mine and it is something that makes me so happy every day.
Don’t take things personally – not everyone will like your items/service. People are very quick to make judgments. That is okay. Imagine we all liked the same thing, gosh it would be a boring world! Be clear on your purpose and your brand identity – this is the best way to build a clear following and customer base (and not just on social media, because likes and sales are VERY different things)!
The importance of varied marketing, and how to do it correctly. Think about this, if Facebook and Instagram shut down tomorrow, how would you contact those followers and make sales. Ensure what you set up has longevity and will be to the benefit of YOUR business and dream, not just to the benefit of Social Media owners.
The importance of Relationships. People don’t buy things, they buy people. Be honest and fair with your word and your customer service. My biggest attribute to my success in various projects is the relationships I have established. I am honest with people, and I genuinely care about their events/gifts etc. I have also established amazing relationships with my fellow GirlBossses and we all share and work together often. Even if someone does a similar product, don’t cut them off, learn from them.
Success is not a pie, it does not get smaller if you take a piece. I wish I could stress this more to people, my success is not dependent on someone else’s failure. Its only lonely at the top if you stood on people to get there.
I have so many amazing ideas that I would like to do. I would love to grow my ranges into more stores in SA and have a programme to coach young entrepreneurs to achieving their dreams. I want an amazing studio with huge neon signage where people can come work on collaborative projects and drink coffee and inspire each other, without some ridiculous price tag.
The best advice I can ever give to ladies wanting to start their own businesses, is this:
A lot of people say, just start and you will figure it out. Unfortunately this isn’t something that any one can do. Yes its hard, so get a plan, be crystal clear on that plan, get input from people (not your mom, but business people who will be impartial) and actually listen to them. Then, when you are clear on your focus, start, and work harder than you thought you could, be clear on your plan and your reason for starting, and use those to fuel your fire.
While your friends are watching Netflix at night, put in the time.When others wonder how you did it, tell them, Help everyone you can, they will also help you.Never think you are done, or that its enough.Search for more ways to learn and surround yourself with people who inspire you.
Most importantly, don’t expect your friends and family to be your customers. Yes they will support you in the beginning, but this is not sustainable.
Set up steps with goals and tick them off, and acknowledge EVERY victory. Also, your first idea might not be the one you stick with, that is okay, make sure you give yourself a time limit or monetary limit. If its not working, evaluate why, learn the lesson its there to teach you and then call it a day. You WILL use those lessons to perfect the NEXT TIME. Calculated risk is what I have built my businesses on. And when something doesn’t work, I shut it down fast, I don’t want something running at a loss when I could be focusing on success. Its not emotional, its business. It is so important to know the difference.
By being a person not a business. Identify with what the needs are at the given time, and use the time you have to do the things you don’t usually get to. In lock down, I have designed 3 retailers ranges, I have build 2 websites, done social media calendars for 5 projects and 4 external companies for the next 6 months, and I have done new goals and steps to get them with all of my businesses. I have chosen not to take this as a holiday (by the way, if you have, that is TOTALLY fine as well, I’m a firm believer in doing whats right for you. For me, its working ahead so that I can come out of this feeling in control.)
I have stayed on social media, even if its unrelated to my work, I have done things my followers seem to enjoy, like baking, sunset pics on our farm, and just bringing the human element to the brand. Relationships always come first. I’ve also made time for my family and friends and of course my perfect little doggos which I give glimpses into on my instagram account. My thinking is that those are the kinds of brands and accounts I enjoy, the ones with a real person, so therefore those are the kinds of people I want to follow my brand and be a part of my journey. And hey, who doesn’t want to see a cute corgi or a video on making marshmallows 🙂
The other thing I have always done is to be fair on prices. I do not overcharge for something, I’m not in the business of getting rich, I am in the business of making things to make people happy. And yes, I am here to earn a living, but I refuse to do it by overcharging people for fun things that are ‘nice to haves’. If you overcharge, you will make sales, but you won’t develop a long term success plan, because there will always be a cheaper option. If you are fair with prices and develop relationships, that’s a recipe for success.
Time freedom is the most amazing. Getting to take my dogs to the park at 9am every Friday and then meeting a friend for a coffee and not having to stress about time to be at work. If I have a bad day, I don’t want to put that into my orders, because I will make mistakes and I won’t enjoy it, so I make the call to take a time out and do something else. And then I can pick it up that evening or work longer the next day. I worked in a corporate where my boss used to make us motivate why we wanted leave and she would decide if it was a good reason or not before granting our leave, and that was something I could never get over. I will work myself to the bone, and happily, if I love my job, but if I need a day to re-inspire myself or rest, I get to choose that.
The second is the feeling of knowing this is mine. I went to a mall (pre-corona) and saw a girl walking in my hoodie and I can’t tell you the beams of sunshine that shone out of my little heart. Mostly once an order leaves us we don’t see or hear, but on occasion people send us pics of their events or using the items, and nothing beats that feeling.
So originally my dream was to own a cupcake shop and have everything super pink and sparkly. Hopefully one day I will get to do it! I do have an idea around the baking that I would love to start, but we will have to see how everything goes after lock down. I absolutely love baking, since I was little, and I’ve never really shared that on Love and Sparkles but it seems to be something everyone is really enjoying so I’d be keen to show more of it. On the website we will be doing a blog and I will include baking there. I have some amazing collaborators for it as well which will be exciting 🙂
So if this doesn’t get you excited about being a #girlboss, I’m not sure what will! Thank you Kate for allowing us to feature you on the blog and for a glimpse into your life and businesses. You are an inspiration!
PLEASE can I ask that everyone reading this heads to Love and Sparkles website for some browsing (which may lead to shopping!), and don’t forget to give their Instagram page a follow and a share. You don’t want to miss out on any of her posts of her doggies I mean merchandise! During lock down, small businesses are being greatly affected so please support our local brands, lets create awareness and share, share, SHARE!