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.

I discovered the most gorgeous earrings made locally and I knew I just had to share. These earrings are made in small batches, out of polymer clay! Please can I introduce you to Willow. Their earrings are very elegant, I love the colour pallet and are truly statement pieces. Please support this small, slow fashion business!

Check out their website or more information and online sales and please give them some love and follow on Instagram!

We chatted to Nadine, lets see what she had to say.

How does it feel to be a business owner who loves what they do?

It feels so good to make your own way in life and live your dreams. I am proud of what I have created and excited to keep growing my brand. I love what I do and so I am always at play and I have become everyone’s cheerleader as a result.

What 3 learnings have I had to find out the hard way?

I have learned that Consignment stock only works with retailers that are close-by or trusted. My business has suffered substantial losses due to retail outlets losing track of sales or not reporting sales and of course then accepting no responsibility for the amount owed.

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So I now only offer consignment to retailers close by so I can do regular or monthly stock takes, or if we have a reputable working relationship. My solution here came from a fellow creative who taught me that she only offers consignment after at least a percentage deposit upfront. This works very well.

Being rejected is never easy. Your brand will not necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea. And that is okay.

Face to face is the worst so I only market to retailers via Email now. I am also a fine artist and that part of my work has really taught me that there is no manual for creatives. We need to make our own way.

Cash flow – it runs out. Plan ahead. I am 100% creative and 0% business but owning my own business has taught me alot. Finances and admin (yawn) are not amongst my interests but since accepting that part of owning a business to my list of responsibilities, I have learned so much about my business.

Where do I see my business in 5 years?

I would love for Willow Jewellery to keep growing and become a recognised South African brand. I aim to keep the product inspired and to constantly make it better. Get more out there as lockdown levels allow for it. I hope that the online shop grows vibrant and that the E-commerce side of my business becomes trusted enough to bring in regular sales so I can pay it forward.

Advice to individuals wanting to start their own business.

It is okay to be scared, but do it anyway. Leap or tiptoe it does not matter how you do it.. As long as you do. Just don’t lose the chance. But it is not enough to just start, you have to keep going. Work hard. In the beginning success does not equate to a paycheck but it pays eventually. (Freelance if you must). Be stubborn about your goals but flexible about your methods.

Celebrate each little step and give yourself the credit you deserve.

Best parts about owning my own business that make it all worthwhile.

Being able to work from home. Managing my own time and being there for my family as a wife and mother.

I am always working but I never feel like I am because I love what I do.

How has Lockdown affected me?

Lockdown was made effective a few days before I was scheduled to set up my biggest market venture to date. The KKNK. Which was cancelled due to Covid 19.
I had invested considerably and over time realised that I would need to carry that investment over another year. Retail sales came to a halt and one retailer has since closed permanently. My biggest clients are in the destination retail sector and the future for them is very uncertain.

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I used the lockdown time to set up a website/online shop and to produce stock for future endeavors.

So if I can be optimistic, lockdown has encouraged me to pursue new sales opportunities and to grow my business to some extent and I have needed to adjust my timeline.
But it has been hard for everyone. Many of my friends are also fellow creatives who own businesses and it is very helpful to have that supportive community. The shops and galleries that represent my work have been incredible. They have managed to remove barriers to sales in order to keep their creatives paid and for them I am very thankful.

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