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 feature is of a really cool local laptop sleeve brand! Say hello to Urban Sleeves!
These laptop covers are designed to make you stand out from the crowd with gorgeous Joburg and Cape Town designs on the front of the sleeve. Made from woolen felt, they are soft on your precious devices. Designed for 13 and 15 inch Mac laptop computers but don’t be sad if you don’t have a Mac, they have new products on the horizon too! So keep an eye out for what will be launching soon.
We chatted to the lovely Sabine Linkenheil and she had this to say about her special business!
Tell us a little bit about your business.
This little venture started with a plastic protective case I bought for my MacBook back in 2015. It cracked in various places within days. It also had no character. Products should enhance our lives. We should be able to express ourselves through our choices and
make a difference. I wanted to come up with a product that had soul, made a statement, and spoke about our origins. A tribute to the vibrant city we call home.
The business revolves around an idea. An aesthetically pleasing design. Something combining function, proportions, and attention to details. Bringing together innovative technology and natural materials. Our devices have increasingly become our office. I enjoy tinkering with the soft wool felt fabrics, designing ways of protecting these precious devices.
It took a global pandemic and a country’s lockdown to disrupt my all-encompassing permanent work. In these perfect circumstances, I brought Urban Sleeves forward from the back burner. The timing was perfect for turning a side hustle into my main activity. Finally doing what I love. Needless to say, I resigned from my full-time job to pursue this passion.
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
Perhaps I won’t call it “ had to find out “ And rather refer to it “as we are reminded “
of the following:
- Nothing is easy nor happens overnight, take it a step at a time.
- You will need the support of others
- Test your products in the market, and then test some more.
Where do you see your business in 5 years? Once we have gotten over the effects of the lockdown.
My vision is to make a difference, not just to the business but to our lives. That could be through employment, collaborations, or the skills of like-minded individuals. Operating a small studio, experimenting with interesting natural and sustainable materials.
Creating strategies to bring such products beyond our borders and increase South Africa’s footprint.
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
Starting your own business is a scary thing, just the thought of it makes you cringe. It will make you doubt yourself like nothing else. But if you wait too long it may never happen…they say that of methods, there are many but principles are few. Choose your principles wisely. Be creative with your solutions and solve problems early. The biggest fear or failure may lay in finance so do your homework. Watch and plan your finances, don’t burden your life with debt. Live a simpler life until your business takes off.
Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worthwhile?
To me, the most important is to express my creativity. I enjoy spending time and energy on the things and mission I believe in.
Growing a business also means challenging yourself with new goals and experiences.
In the long run, your own business is there to control your destiny. In a job, other factors and people control you. What you do, and how you do it.
How has lockdown affected you?
The lockdown created a much-awaited opportunity for me to double down on this little business. While it restricted sales, we used the time to invest in promotional efforts and build our presence on social channels. We had the freedom of mind to conceptualise new
product releases in the coming seasons.