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.

This lovely next find I found through Kamers, and was so chuffed! Made in the Karoo, these bags are made from plastic that others have thrown away. So sustainable and such a beautiful way to reuse these plastic and create something beautiful!

We chatted to the lovely Tessa O’Halloran, Founder and creative mind behind Plasticity and she had this to say!

Please tell us a little about your business and your products?

 plasticity. re-think plastic.
 

My little (tiny) business is an upcycling brand based in a small town in the Karoo called Graaff-Reinet. We create the upcycled plastic products we wish to see in the world from discarded plastic. Our products are eco-friendly and sustainable! Our bags feature an organic hemp lining and our planters feature organic hemp rope – we just love organic hemp! (I’m started a second brand called Toast Handmade… organic hemp kitchen textiles…watch this space…) We create a range of products such as cosmetics bags and pouches of all sizes, toiletry bags, organisers and planters and have two collections, a classic and colour collection. 

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

It is liberating and it is challenging at the same time. There are new decisions to be made everyday, and no two days are ever the same. It’s the most amazing feeling to watch a dream grow and become something that other people love. I’m really enjoying the process of putting things out into the world, and having people actually like them is still unreal to me! Building your own businesses or brands is probably one of the best things you can do for personal growth; you learn so much about yourself and you have to learn to adapt quickly. I’m still learning… Loving what I do makes getting up in the morning worth it… And I wake up on Mondays excited about the week ahead. So much can happen in one week for a small business. I absolutely love it. 

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

1. Not all big orders are good for business! And that so many things happen certain ways (or don’t work out) so that other things can happen, and it kind of only makes perfect sense in hindsight…
2. You’ll be working longer hours than you thought you would! Working for yourself and creating a brand is hard work but probably also the most rewarding work you’ll ever do (or at least that’s what I’ve found)
3. Naming products isn’t as easy as I thought it would be! 
 

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

I think I see plasticity. creating unique upcycled handbags and possibly exploring other kinds of waste materials… so many of these discarded materials are overlooked and I see so much potential in them, I just need more time! I can definitely see us branching out into the world of natural dyes and incorporating more organic/ natural materials into our product offering. I think we need to be looking for better alternatives to most of our daily lifestyle items and there needs to be people producing these things locally.. It’s so important that we look for solutions and begin to invest locally. And I think the circular economy can fill in a lot of gaps in the way we currently do things! 

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

I think we can all take a deep breath out and allow ourselves to trust our instincts a little more… We all have that little small biz idea in us somewhere and I think we can trust it a little more than we realize. You’ll learn so much by just doing… If you’re scared of doing the real, actual thing and the business of creating your own brand/ products, then I think you can begin by defining what YOU want first and this will help you to take the first step towards that dream and address the fears…

What do you want to offer the world? You can create collages and dream boards around this, start by defining what your perfect day as the “CEO” of that business looks like. If you want to be cooking all day, you could maybe find something related to food to begin with… like food photography. Let your dream be a little bit fluid, finding your groove in the world is an organic process. But I believe we are born with talents that we can develop and they can become really excellent skills that other people will pay for if we just give those talents some time and real attention… Listen to your heart! 

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

1. The personal growth. Personally, I love the freedom to be creative and make the things I want to make. That’s an amazing feeling. The endless new ideas and the freedom to experiment.
2. When you put your heart and soul into creating for an order and it’s truly appreciated, and your client ‘gets’ it…the work you love doing is appreciated
 
How has lock down affected you?

Lockdown has affected me in many ways. Since moving back to the Karoo, and living in a small town, I’ve been quite focused on my work so my lifestyle hasn’t had to change dramatically since lockdown began, but I’ve been affected in other ways. I don’t think I’ll get used to everyone in a mask… I’m missing being able to go sit down and have a coffee, I’m missing those simple freedoms and rituals. The e-commerce ban was really tough on business, but there were still a few people who put orders in with us – and wow, when people order in times like that it is really appreciated. There is a special place in my heart for those people who are actively spending on small businesses because they know how much that order means!

Lockdown has also provided me with the clarity I need to really buckle down and focus on my work without any outside distractions or feeling like I’m missing out on something… 

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I’ve also been hugely affected by the amount of small businesses closing, my heart breaks for each and everyone affected in that way. This has made me even more determined to put in the work and become even more passionate about small businesses.

They contribute so much to our collective economic growth and advancement as a nation. Small businesses fill in the gaps and find innovative solutions for problems, create employment and literally change lives. Lockdown has opened my eyes to our economic interdependence, and reaffirmed my belief that what you do and where you spend your money really does make a difference!

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