White Kite Studio | Brand Crush Collab
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Brand Crush Collab: Lulu & Marula

My journey with Lulu and Marula started back in 2013, when Jesse and I were working together in the Advertising Industry. Jess brought her beautiful hand-made beauty products into the office for everyone to try, and the overwhelming response was that she absolutely needed to start selling them! Lulu and Marula became WKS’s very first client, and we’ve been refining and adding to the brand over the last 4 years. I’m extremely proud to be associated with this brand, and it’s not just because I think we did a pretty good job with the branding 😉 I’ve been using only the L&M face range since 2014, and there really isn’t anything else like it. It’s vegetarian, cruelty free, chemical free, smells HEAVENLY, and feels gentle and balanced on the skin. What more could a girl want?! I can’t go a day without the Balancing Cleansing Balm, and the Soothing Hand and Foot Cream is a treat ritual every night before bed.

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To celebrate the recently reformulated products, and shiny new foiled packaging to boot, I’ve done a little interview with Jesse to to introduce all of you to my original brand crush! Also, thanks so much to our friend Migneon from Pritti for the pretty snaps!

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What is the inspiration behind your brand and products? 

I’m inspired by nature and the place that I live, being surrounded by mountains and sea is great for the soul! Our customers are a huge motivator, their feedback is everything to us and we take it very seriously. We want to make our products the best they can be, and provide the ultimate skin care experience for our customers. We try not to be influenced by what is trendy at the moment or what everyone else is doing. We do our best to stay authentic to the brand experience we’ve created, which is a fun brand that is serious about your skin. 

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L&M has recently reformulated their products, tell us a bit about that. 

We’re always trying to do better. There are a whole host of amazing, natural ingredients out there that can do so much for your skin, and natural ingredient alternatives are always improving. We decided to collect all the feedback we’ve gotten from our customers over the years, look at the incredible ingredients that are now available for natural skin care, and tweak our formulations to create an even better collection of products, without losing who we are as a brand. We also hired a young, passionate cosmetic chemist at the start of the year, so it’s been a 12 month journey of creation and perfection.

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What makes your brand special/unique?

Every single ingredient used in our products has a specific benefit for your skin. With many traditional skin care products, you find that the majority of ingredients in them have the sole purpose of stabilising, preserving, or giving the product a certain texture or smell, without adding any benefit to your skin. We also own the majority of our manufacturing chain, which means we have total control of the quality and output of our product. We formulate, produce and package everything ourselves. 

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Who is your Lulu and Marula client? Who loves your products?

We love that we have a diverse customer group. We connect with the young, modern woman who is switching to a proper skin care routine for the first time, as well as the mature woman who wants to eliminate toxic ingredients from their regime. The Lulu & Marula woman leads a conscious lifestyle, she is selective about the goods she purchases, preferring to support local, cruelty-free brands that have an ethical story behind them. 

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What aspect of your branding do you love the most?

I love that it connects with so many different types of people. It doesn’t look down on people or confuse people like a lot of skin care brands sometimes do. It’s approachable.

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Why do you feel branding is an investment into the future of your business?

People see your brand first and try your product second. It’s what attracts people, and it gives your brand the value that sets it apart from everyone else. A brand creates a shift from a commodity to an experience, and that’s what people want. 

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Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

It can be very difficult, and 4 years later I’m only just starting to carve out proper time for myself. From the beginning you need to learn that it’s OK to say no. Not every opportunity is worthwhile, and you will have many opportunities that come your way. Burn out is a real thing, and you don’t want to do that to yourself. Value your time. 

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What are the 3 greatest attributes that you need to be a happy and successful creative entrepreneur?

Support is essential. Whether that comes in the form of friends, a life partner or a business partner. It always helps to have someone to motivate and push you when you’re feeling like what you’re doing isn’t worthwhile. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, so tap into any network you can to share some of that burden. You need drive to get through the hard times, because there will be hard times. And let some control go where you can. You don’t need to do everything yourself.

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What has been your greatest struggle in your business so far?

Finding suppliers and distributors has been a struggle. The South African cosmetics packaging industry is so limited that you’re often stuck with such little choice, and everyone ends up using the same packaging because there aren’t many alternatives. Minimum order quantities can also be a struggle when it comes to ingredients and packaging when we are still a small business.

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Do you have any advice for people out there that would like to launch their own creative business.

Just get started. If you overthink, you get caught up in the details and it’s easy to give up. You need to start somewhere and give yourself a benchmark that you can work to improve on later. 

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Brand Crush Collab: Katy Vallentine Collection

I did this shoot with collaborators Emmajanenation, Katy Valentine and Rosa Karoo about a year ago, but never got the chance to properly hero some of these pretty shots. Today I’d like to introduce you to jewellery brand Katy Valentine Collection. I loved wearing her pieces, especially the round necklace, and that’s why we’re doing a little giveaway on Friday! Keep an eye on my Instagram account for more details. Below is an interview I did with Katy, to find out more about her brand, design and business journey.

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Tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind your brand and jewellery.

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I grew up in a home surrounded by organic design, with both parents being artefact traders, collectors and avid adventures. This is where my passion for creative design stemmed from.

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What made your decide to start this business?

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During an adventurous trip though India,  I found myself drawn to the incredible craftsmanship of the local jewellers. The combination of my African heritage and my love for travel has merged to create “Katy Valentine Collection”. I started my business two and a half years ago, when I realised there was a gap in the market for reasonably priced, simplistic, modern and easy to wear African / Oriental inspired jewellery. I first began by creating a few unique pieces for myself, and after arriving back in South Africa from India, I sort of just kept going. The business evolved very organically from that trip.

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Who is your Katy Valentine girl? Who loves your pieces?

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The ultimate Katy Valentine girl is exited by rare finds, she’s free spirited a bit boho and isn’t afraid to express herself.

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What is your favourite thing about your job?

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I do what I love, which includes design, travel, exploring and having the opportunity to meet new and interesting people.

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What are the 3 greatest attributes that you need to be a happy and successful freelance designer?

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Creativity, patience and honesty.

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What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

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Working alone comes with real challenges. It can get lonely if there isn’t someone to share and bounce ideas with. Sometimes it takes a lot of discipline and self-motivation to get the boring day-to-day things done. I’ve been fortunate to have the support of family and friends, but ultimately, getting things done and making my business a success is up to me.

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It can also be difficult coming up with new ideas for my brand. It’s important to stay fresh and exciting as a brand, so I’m constantly on the lookout for new designs in everything around me.

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Do you have any advice for people out there that would like to launch their own creative business.

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The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that it’s so important to run your business properly from the start. I have not been so good at running the accounts side of things and now that I have everything in order it relieves a lot pressure. So find a good accountant and be on top of the processes and details of your business right from the start.

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