Faraway Friends & UncommonGoods

Love, relationships, progress, joy... distance. Ah, distance my old friend. Why, is it that we find ourselves so far from some of the most important people in our lives? Separated by oceans and excessively priced air travel and often times tears too. We are spread across a globe so vast and yet our hearts can feel so close together. As a self-employed, hard working woman - very sadly I often find that my RSVP's to those dotted around the globe are of the negative type. No... sadly, regrettably, unfortunately, heart-achingly I will  not be able to attend your milestone birthday, your engagement to your true love, your beautiful wedding, the baby shower for your beloved bundle of joy. Of course these are not the words I use, but as a sentimentalist with many a faraway friend my heart feels these things when I can't jet across the ocean to celebrate with them. It is in those moments that I find it a close and comforting conciliation prize to send a special, heartfelt gift. However, I have found that sending something from South Africa often means it only gets there months later. Over time I have discovered a small batch of overseas stores and online sites from which to send that something special so it makes it in the nick of time. 

As I enter into a new chapter of my life along with many of my dear friends, there is so much to celebrate, but also not always a chance to hop or skip off to another country. Through searching and eventually finding I have become such a fan of UncommonGoods for spoiling those faraway friends who I can't see in person (must keep filling that piggy bank).  They do ship to South Africa, but you see that defeats the object (I must resist). Besides the above little shopping collection looking very suited to my tastes, I do assure you that it isn't for me (promise). A selection of perfectly found gifts and treats to spoil a few of my favourite people and there is even a chance for a touch of personalisation for a hint of extra love. Whether I am thinking of one of my best friends Tammy in London and her penchant for cats and fashion, or the most organised friend I have... Misha, in Colorado I know that each will receive something chosen with love by me, packaged up with care and posted off safely.

The bonus for my business brain is the handmade, artisanal approach of UncommonGoods. A selection of creative, carefully curated products that tell a story and in turn support makers, crafters and artists - just  a few of my favourite "job titles". 

"We're growing not only our artist family, but also a strong following of customers who celebrate artists and delight in surrounding themselves with creative design." 
~ UncommonGoods ~

Okay, but quick side note please look at the Llama purse, too good to not have and the kitty bracelet. That's all... I will stop, it's gift list after all.

2016 Voucher Package: Give the Gift of Success

-It seems at this time of the year there are two types of personalities that arise. One is focused on making sure that they get the most out of 2016, using each day to the maximum. We still have a week or two left. Others are leaving it all for 2017. I call it the "new year myth"... for some reason we think we will magically be able to to tackle all we put off the minute the clock strikes twelve on New Year's Eve. I want to encourage you regardless of what your current mindset is... to start thinking ahead and to know that you need not wait until a new year to make changes, to feel inspired or to start living and working for your dream life.

I am offering the perfect gift for receiving via snail mail (well, speedy snail mail). Creative business and pretty parcels - my two passions are paired together in this year's voucher special. There are only ten available so please don't delay as they do sell out each year.

It is for a one on one consulting session for up to 90 minutes of business guidance. I run the sessions via Skype or FaceTime for those not based in Durban so everyone can make use of the service. It is one of the most popular aspects of my business where creatives get to tackle concerns or ideas directly related to their needs. The session is ideal for those just starting out or thinking of taking the creative business leap. It is however, suitable for creative businesses at any level. I cover what you would like me to. Sometimes it's a pep talk, or a strategy... it's up to you and if you don't know where to begin then don't worry, I can help with that too.There are only ten of these special packages available so don't delay. They sold out last year in record time.

This style of session is ideally suited to you if:
  • You want to make a change and shift careers into owning your own business, but you are unsure how to plot out your journey.
  • You are feeling like you need to change the way you work and achieve goals, but you're not sure where to begin.
  • You're an entrepreneur looking to grow and further build your brand.
  • You are a business owner who wants to improve your brand experience and streamline your offering.
  • Lifestyle Bloggers
  • Creative Business Owners
  • Start-Ups
How to buy your voucher / gift:
It's really easy to buy the voucher - email me with the following:
  • Your full name.
  • Name of person you are gifting it to / if not yourself.
  • Full detailed postal address for where you want it to be sent to, include the city please.
  • Name of closest post office to address (if you know).
  • Contact number of person voucher is being sent to.
  • I will then invoice you and once your payment is received - your order is confirmed.
Vouchers will be posted off on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th December and will arrive at the closest post office to the address the following day. I can either send it to you or to the person you are gifting it to (please specify). If you are based in Durban you can collect it or receive your items at your session.

For R500 you will receive:
  • A 90 minute session voucher (valid for six months).
  • A notebook to capture your ideas and to start planning for success.
  • Free overnight postage via Speed Services to your closest post office. 
  • Each package is wrapped in my signature style and includes a free postcard and extra creative surprise to add some extra joy to unwrapping the parcel.
The total value is R650 including all the little added extras and the overnight postage, but I'm offering it for R500. The voucher is valid for up to six months so the recipient can book a session to suit their schedule.

The 2016 Etsy Craft Party

Piles of paperwork, hours and hours of (wo)man power, a gazillion emails, countless more hours, lists... so many lists and then finally a PARTY! It might sound like hard work and that's because it is. I will tell you this though... I do it with LOVE and the Etsy Party brings me an abundance of joy and the ability to share craft and creativity with so many enthusiasts. In-between party organising there are also countless positive remarks, kindness, sharing, connecting and a coming together of happy people. That in itself is gift enough. My happiest moment is when I get to look at the photos shared online by the attendees and the cherry on the cake are the professional pics which showcase the event in all its glory. This year the wonderfully, awesome Eileen of Brightgirl was kind enough to capture the night and how grateful I am to her! She did a beautiful job - don't you agree? 

Every year I think “this year’s Etsy Party was the best”. Okay, but really this year’s Etsy Party was the best one to date. Each year I get to improve it through the lessons learnt from the previous parties. Etsy was very gracious this year in giving a few possible date options and no set theme... opening up endless possibilities. I was fortunate in being able to partner with Terry Angelos once again and hosted the event at her beautifully curated shop – Anthology. She was a gracious host and further assisted with useful insight and extra tips for making the party as successful as possible. The key ingredient for the Etsy Party is... people, of course.. It’s the heart and soul of real connection, trust, sharing, kindness and generosity. 

Let's delve in and experience the night! Etsy HQ were very flexible in allowing us to select the theme. I decided to rope in Fathima Kathrada, illustrator, graphic designer and all round cool gal to teach the attendees hand lettering with watercolour. An on-trend, but also useful and fun DIY. 

Tickets sold out in record time and in emailing sponsors and connecting with them I was blown away by how truly giving fellow creative business owners can be! Just another reason why I am able to organise the party in the first place.

What a delightful batch of brands, creatives and all-round amazing people. Thank you so much for taking part and spoiling the attendees. I am beyond grateful! THANK YOU!
A heartfelt and HUGE thank you to...
Terry Angelos & the amazing ladies who work with her
Lizzie Masters
MY Gourmet - Khutso Nhlanhla Masethe & his lovely team member

Click below to visit the online homes of these inspired brands...
Glass of Wine

 Be sure to check back for the lovely goodie bag giveaway! 

An Inconvenient Truth

It’s December, it’s DECEMBER (insert mild manic panic). I feel it’s a terrible cliché to keep telling each other how fast the year has flown by, followed by how busy we are and how in 2017 it’s all going to be different, better, more organised or even slower. Despite it feeling like we’re on autopilot speak, there is some truth to it, in part at least.

I have probably pencilled out the Etsy Party blog post around fifty times in my mind, asked myself when am I finally going to sit down and do it? Written it on daily to do lists, monthly goal sheets and mentally reprimanded myself for not having done it yet. I have made excuses to people and myself. Reassured them it will be posted soon, promised myself the same thing and still it’s DECEMBER and the party was in JUNE. Yes, I could have given up on the post altogether, but all those promises resound in my mind and heart, I am a person of my word even if it takes months to fulfill. Why, why, why has it taken so long to finally write the post and why am I now able to do it? Why today, why now... well, I think I admitted the truth to myself and therefore I am able to finally put pen to proverbial paper. Since June I have gone through a multitude of things, work wise and life wise. The most noteworthy happening within the personal confines of my mind, attitude and thought process. I’ve been encouraged to be more authentic, honest and to share more of the personal elements that impact me daily. That’s really tough, I am fiercely private when it comes to sadness, struggle, personal strife or anything that shows cracks. I can’t unpack it all here, but since June the ups and downs have been colossal. So... forgive me for writing about an event that took place in June... only in December. Insane, inexcusable... REAL. At the same time I don’t want you to read this and think “shame”, I don’t want to draw excessive attention to it either, but in the spirit of explaining and authenticity I thought I would elude to why it took close to five months to write the post. Instead of “poor me” I want to level with you, I want to tell you that we are all going through things that are difficult, but we are all so terrible about telling each other.

"For me it comes with the territory of running a business and blog that is focused on positivity and self-improvement. I therefore steer away from showing too many cracks... because of fear. 
I fear that if I am too honest people might think – “I won’t hire her, she can’t even manage her own life, how could she possibly help me?” Yes, some people might think that, I have to reassure myself that it’s okay."

What I have gleaned from a rocky road or two is more compassion for my clients and fellow humans. Since having several light bulb moments of my own I have been able to really widen my opinion and understanding and extend valuable advice based on personal experience.

I don’t want to mar the beautiful Etsy Party with inky tears or personal confessions, but I did want to just say sorry the post took so long, sorry work took so long, sorry. I’ve been climbing a very steep mountain and certain things just could not take priority. In itself the party was a lesson too. There were so many positive aspects, kind words, amazing people involved, but there was one element that led to a personal attack on my skills and the way I hosted the party. It’s always the case that we ignore the hundred or so positive things and nitpick and overthink the one negative aspect. This goes for all angles of life. I have since made peace with the person who brought negativity to the party and I think the result in the end was fairly positive. We can’t give up because of one negative comment or rant, we absolutely can’t. So... I hope in this confession and attempt at authenticity I can encourage you to keep going despite the crap, the negativity and the bad days.

Straight after this I am posting the happy, amazing Etsy Party photos in December from the party in June and you know what they are just as beautiful now as they were then. The smiles are still as bright, the decor still as pretty. The best thing is I didn’t give up and through that I get to share a brilliant event with you! Cue the confetti, wipe the tears away, celebrate life and cheers to surviving a long year that flew by and managed to kick our butts, but guess what... we didn’t give up. We survived... take that life! TAKE THAT!

Photo by BrightGirl.

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