What is your business about:
I trade as Live Lightly and have a few things on the go:
I have a small children’s clothing and sleepwear line that I produce and also hold a variety of children’s events such as holiday activity days and Young Entrepreneurs Pocket Money Markets.
However my primary business is marketing and social media services as well as admin and financial services functions as this is what I am qualified and most experienced in. I have spent many years in my previous job analysing hundreds of income and expenses patterns across a huge range of enterprises and this has given me some unique insights enabling me to give smaller businesses a useful, wider perspective.
How did it start?
Well, the further I progressed in my career the longer the hours and the more demanding my job became. My daughter who is now 8 began needing more help with homework and life in general, and my long hours were just not working for either of us so eventually I took the plunge and left my job. As a single mom it is pretty scary, however it is still the best thing I could have done. I know it is a huge cliché, but I really wanted to live more mindfully and be properly present in my daughter’s life. We have both thrived in every way apart from financially (Yet!) and even that has a silver lining as my daughter has become quite a little entrepreneur as a result. I have learned a lot and continue to do so every day. My best advice to anyone is plan for a gap year when you are 40 rather than when you are 18.
Why do you live in the deep South?
I moved to Noordhoek with my family as a child (all the way from just the other side of Ou Kaapse Weg;) and this has always been my home. I have lived abroad and in other parts of SA but am so glad be able to raise my child here too. We are deeply attached to our amazing environment…One of my favourite parenting memories from when my daughter was 2 or 3 is walking on the mountain and she would greet all the plants by name, “Hello vygie, hello restio, hello erica” and sometimes get them muddled up so leucadendron came out “Hello dendroleuc”. Also, the older I get, the more I appreciate the sense of community which is very special here.
How many children do you have and how would they describe you?
I just have one daughter. Depending on the day she might describe me as strict, sometimes crazy and occasionally (if we have snuck off to do something cool on a school night) the best mom in the world. We have adventures and have road tripped extensively to explore the mountains, beaches, rivers and plains of SA together. We went paragliding for my 40th when she was just 6!
We have four fur children too, 2 cats and 2 dogs, all very elderly now.
What is your favourite thing to do with your kids in the deep South?
There are so many! One of the best things is rock pooling. We have a salt water fish tank and collect permitted rock pool creatures who visit for a few days and are then taken back home to their pool of origin. We learn a lot, especially watching the lesser known little creatures like nudibranchs and so on and spend many happy hours at the beach.
Silvermine dam is a favourite spot to spend a day too and Noordhoek common is a second home.
What is the best advice you ever received from your mother?
Everything tastes better with butter and cream!
My mum is one of those people who always makes people welcome and can whip up a feast with just about anything in no time at all. I am pretty gregarious and our tiny cottage is invariable packed at weekends. I guess the underlying lesson is that perfection is no substitute for spontaneity and authenticity. Don’t miss out on the fun because your floors aren’t polished.
Also she taught me independence and improvisation. My dad worked long hours and she would always get on with whatever back in the day “man projects” needed doing where many women of that generation would never have tried. I remember being really irritated by all the things that were “fixed” with that orange string you get around lucern bales and now when I look back I see how amazing and innovative she really was. Upcycling long before it had a name.
How does the community benefit from your involvement in it?
I arrived in Milkwood Park at a low point in my life two years ago and have found this specific sub-community really amazing. I think if I look at the bigger picture the far South community has helped me much more than I have benefited them, however in the last year or so I have really tried to start adding value. Essentially I am a people person so being involved with community projects comes naturally and I love that if I have an idea to try out it is readily supported. Basically, no matter how tough things are, I try to keep offering whatever I can, even when some folks tell me I should put myself first or charge for what I do for nothing. There are a lot of people who have been through really rough stuff and just need a sympathetic, non-judgemental ear too.
But I have two passions I would like to take forward: One is the young entrepreneurs which has to be the best thing we can do for our country in the long term. Another is to support and grow our cottage industries which abound in the far South and I think the #NotMadeInChina concept could use a massive drive. These two go hand in hand in the long run and I am really excited about a fantastic sponsor who is coming on board for the Pocket Money Markets this month. Keep an eye on Live Lightly on Facebook and Twitter for the big announcement and join us at a great new venue in the far South before we hit the rest of the Cape! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org