So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire!

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 I would love to introduce you to an awesome proudly South African business, that is taking the market by storm! I mean hello – who doesn’t want a gorgeous strap to carry their yoga mat, binocs or camera? And there are patterns and colours to suit any outfit!

 

Lunar_Dark Logo (Trimmed)

Firstly we asked Tyla to tell us a little about their business and brand! This is what they had to say.

Lunar Straps is a proudly South African design company that specializes in unique and expressive products inspired by South African landscapes and cultures. Lunar started in 2018 with camera neck strap accessories which were well received nationwide by customers and retailers. The initial range included six custom designed camera straps with various unique patterns and designs exclusive to Lunar and have since expanded the range of designs with the intention to create something for everyone.

Lunar Camera Straps are durable and high quality with a universal attachment that can also accommodate binoculars. This range currently includes eight designs, with more to come in 2020. These designs offer an alternative to the standard camera strap and allow photographers to express their creativity and personality. The Lunar Camera Strap then becomes an extension of the user’s style and personality rather than serving only a functional purpose. Lunar has since expanded into other products such as yoga straps and sunglasses straps, and has plans for more products and designs in 2020.

www.lunarstraps.co_.za-TheJade-1-1170x500

All Lunar products are designed and made in Cape Town which supports the local economy, and the company has recently partnered with Cape Town Tourism. We at Lunar have a large focus on eco-friendly methods and materials and do our best to lower the environmental impacts through the required processes.

You opened your own business – How does it feel to be a successful business owner that inspires others and loves what they do?

We really do love what we’re doing! With all the challenges starting a small business holds. Although it may seem that we’re running a established company we’re still in the early days of the company, running under 2 years now.

Most of our time goes into the company after hours and over weekends while managing full-time 8-5 jobs. It’s all worth it to see customers happy with our products and to inspire others in whatever capacity, while also supporting the local economy.

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

Sales, Sales & Sales! Customers are the most important part of the business as we cannot sustain without ongoing sales. Firstly starting with a product that people actually want, and then trying to get the exposure to our target market. Marketing has been another big learning curve as we have a niche market where our customers generally either have to own a camera themselves or know someone with a camera who they are buying it for.

Keeping consistent and measurable marketing strategies going is always a bit of a challenge and takes up a lot of our day to day processes if we’re not busy with production or packaging. But marketing is the cog that has to constantly be turning!

Designing products for local manufacturing has been one of our biggest hurdles to overcome from the start. Trying to find the right people for production while upholding a high quality that we wish to sustain and at a reasonable price to keep our products affordable for more people took a lot of time and energy. With that comes the issues of stock management and Quality Control which are at the heart of a small business. We are extremely strict with our quality and always strive to deliver the best product we can to our customers.

This was not always achievable in the early days which meant a lot of straps were not, in our eyes, sell-able. We tackled this problem to at least avoid waste by offering “Sample Straps” which were sold at a discounted rate of 45% on the premise that they might have slight aesthetic flaws such as messy stitching or imperfect prints, and all the while trying to source better quality production and therefore higher stock management with a lower reject rate.

Where do you see your business in 5 years? Once we have gotten over the effects of the lock down.

Exporting our locally manufactured camera straps to all travel / photography hot-spots has to be one of our main goals. It has been a market we have wanted to pursue since the inception of Lunar and are continually working towards.

We hope to have partnered up with manufacturing and sustainable conservation leaders to run a sustainability campaign. This is something you can look out for in the next couple of months.

And ideally having a number of different product ranges on offer. We have a lot of ideas of new products we want to develop, but prototyping takes time and there is a lot to process along the way.

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

It’s not going to be perfect the first time round, it will never be. Don’t be afraid to reiterate and reinvent constantly until you truly feel that you have something to take forward. But on the flip side, don’t over plan to the extent that you never really start. At some stage you just have to take the plunge and trust yourself. Failures aren’t failures if you take the lesson and grow from them, and hard work will always pay off in some way, shape or form.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or feedback, sometimes it is worth asking the prospective customer what they want, to better understand the needs that already exist. This helps further develop a product and perfect it before going to market and provides you with a bit more confidence that the product will sell. You might have to problem solve quite often which can be disheartening but also fires up the creative brain. There were many times when we thought everything was ready to go and then hit another wall. Just be motivated to find a way around or over it!

Just start. Make a product, package it and sell it. It’s as easy as that to start out with.

Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worth while?

Turning ideas into reality. When you get that first batch done after such a long wait and so much preparation, it’s such a mix of pride, relief and excitement!

Supporting the local manufacturing eco-system and being able to help create jobs and work for companies and individuals, even in a small way.

Creating something you can be proud of. Seeing happy customers and getting great feedback about our products is at the end of the day, the absolute best thing and makes every little part of it worthwhile.

www.lunarstraps.co_.za-TheBushveld-2-1170x500

 

Check out their divine online store – straps for your yoga mats, your binocs or cameras – and the most beautiful material – a plethora of colours and patterns – something for everyone! And the branded leather ends are just perfection, giving it the wow factor.

Please give them some lock down love by following them both on Instagram and Facebook!  Orders are being delivered now, so shop your little hearts out on their online store – there are even some items on sale so don’t miss out! My top faves? These ones – the Dijon and the Chromatic – aren’t they gorgeous?

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