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.
Today’s local feature is on the Cape Town based business, Soenchie. They handcraft the most gorgeous ceramic bowls for furkids. I mean how stunning? The kitty ones with the ears are just too flipping cool! These pieces are hand made with love and your furkids will love their new bowls. They come in a variety of colours and sizes. Treat your loved ones to new food bowls! They will love you for it – even more than they already do!
We chatted to the lovely ceramicist and an animal lover behind Soenchie, Zelda and she had this to say to us!
How does it feel to be a business owner that loves what they do?
It feels surreal most of the time, but I know that I worked hard to be able to be here and still manage to run an events company with my husband that I am fortunate enough to LOVE too! I worked a lot of jobs and many hours dealing with being micro-managed and working late nights and early mornings, so I have definitely had my share of doing jobs I did not like.
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
1. Collabs can be tricky if you don’t know your worth beforehand. I had to learn to know what I am bringing to the table in order to make the project mutually beneficial. So never be afraid to upskill, be humble and also own your craft.
2. Prioritizing and finding a balance. As a one woman show there’s a lot to do, from design and development, to skill development, building an online shop, maintaining a website and keeping inventory updated, dealing with retailers and wholesale, invoicing and chasing payments, managing social media, coming up with effective and authentic marketing ideas, photographing products etc. If I spend all my time engaging on Social Media I will never make anything, but I need to do the admin and somewhere find time for chill/family and the things that fill up my cup of inspiration. I still haven’t nailed this and I don’t think I ever will. But I have learnt to be aware of all aspects and to switch off sometimes too. You have to take time to fill up your cup!
3. Manage your finances as early as possible. Keep track of expenses, keep costs to a minimum and most important;y KNOW WHAT YOUR COSTS ARE. 🙂
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Ideally, I would love to have a little shopfront on a farm setting with a studio and teaching, selling a whole variety of my own homeware.. Although I think that’s not in the next 5 years! In the next 5 years, if I could continue being the maker and continue to develop new and beautiful things for the home, I would be absolutely elated. I am definitely planning on moving into a space where I can host workshops and have people explore the art of ceramics as it is very therapeutic! I am not looking to become a factory, but would like to appoint some help and up-skill someone within the next two years or so.
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
If you believe in it and it makes you truly happy, just start. You don’t need to have EVERYTHING figured out before you start. No one does. But once you start, things somehow fall into place and the things that don’t, are a learning curve. Be sure to have a solid idea of what the market is like for your product or service, but there’s only one of you and your way of doing things will be unique.
Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worthwhile?
1. I am so fortunate and truly grateful for the fact that I have a home studio. When I left my last full time job one of my goals was to be able to spend more time with my dogs as they were getting older. Also having a little more control of how I spend my time. Sure I still have days where I rush around for meetings and deliveries and packaging sourcing etc, but I plan those hectic days and spend most of my days potting, listening to podcasts while having the dogs at my feet.
2. I know this might sound cheeseball, but I love the fact that I get to make a vessel for your furkid with my own two hands. I still get absolutely giddy about it. I feel very honoured to be able to create something pretty and functional, especially for pets! Even with stressful deadlines, loadshedding, glaze faults or cracking bowls, when I package each bowl and they are sent off, I feel a sense of fulfillment!
How has lock down affected you?
In all honesty, again I am very fortunate that I am able to work from home. Although my markets and retailers shut down, I was loving the time of creating in peace. Once e-commerce opened up I was obviously relieved and grateful for all the support! There have been a few personal things like my thumb injury and my boy Rio being very sick that has taken a huge mental toll on me. It’s been difficult to be pro-active and creative so I am doing what I can and I am working through it. Along with online therapy, potting is a great form of therapy!