2018 – OH WHAT A YEAR! According to a Mail and Guardian article I read recently, they say that “startups fail at a rate of about 9 in 10 in the first two years of operation.” This is a scary reality that all small business owners in South Africa face.
SML turned one this past August, and while we are now heading into our fourth month of our second year of business, I can only hope, pray and work really hard at making 2019 a great success but for now I want to take a moment to recap on a wonderful yet challenging 2018 and thank you all for your support – you’re the reason I get to do what I love!
This is a log one, grab a cup of tea!
Reflecting of 2018 –
January – May; GO GO GO!
If Im honest January 2018 was scary! A fresh, brand new, year and there I was a solopreneur – it was all up to me! Everything was up to me… I am such a goal driven person and succeeded with the structure my parents, the school system and 9-5 work life provided me with. 2018 arrived and for the first time in my life there was no structure, I had bills to pay and no real certainty that projects would come in but what I did have and what the years of hard work before that taught me was that I could do it. I wouldn’t have been dealt more than I could handle and no matter what I could do it!
So aptly named January – May was all systems GO GO GO! I hustled and worked extremely hard, the SML team completed 3 construction projects concurrently over 3 months. These projects were the House Costa, House Fourie and No.7, The Lawrence Abode – bathroom and home studio.
House Costa, bathroom renovation. Before and after.
Our home studio project was done in collaboration with @home.This was a fun project and transforming my work space has been so impactful on my day to day.
I have worked on this space more over the last few months, introducing a centre island has helped with my processes and I no longer have my work stuff sprawled over our dining room table.
We also launched our online design service late April, this virtual design service allows you to design your space, anywhere in the world! It is an organic process at the moment and I am fine tuning it as we go, but I am enjoying the challenge and cant wait for my clients to implement their design plans after which I will share!
June; Time to think.
June was a dream come true, I visited America (NYC, LA, Vegas and San Fran) for the first time with my husband and our best friends. Who would have thought I could achieve such a dream while working for myself… This trip was pure magic, New Yorks’ energy is infectious and so inspiring. It gave me the much needed time to think and realise what it was I wanted to do moving forward.
You see, I was at this stage 10 months into running my own business full time and while it was going well I was playing a psychological game of tug of war. Being retrenched does that to you, you may not have been ready to let go of your current position or you feel you were pushed into a direction you may not have taken yourself either way you feel conflicted and that is okay. For the first time in 10 months I felt myself relax a little, I started to love my job again but this time for giving me the space I needed to grow.
See more; #BandLawUSA
July – October; Anniversaries and tough decisions.
July was a slow month filled with admin but we did have two press features which we were thrilled about, our House Raath project was featured in the SA Garden and Home (yes I know I still need to share a blog post on this project!) along with a column we did on tips for living in small spaces.
A sneaky look at the House Raath project.
We turned 1 in August, to celebrate we worked with Emma Philip to create a few motivational desktop wallpapers for *FREE* download.
and in October I sat down with Womens health magazine to talk about my journey and a work life balance, a topic I am passionate about and will be sharing more on in the near future. I read something really powerful and it resonates with me – Michelle Obama said “A question that adults ask kids – I think it’s the worst question in the world – is ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’,” she said in a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey published in Town & Country. “As if growing up is finite. As if you become something and that is all there is”…
It was in October that I chose this day job as it had so obviously chosen me. At the time I was completing the Hip Hop House project, I was blessed with such amazing clients who after and not knowing much about the decisions I has quietly made had sent me a review of my work along with praise and affirmation that I was ‘exactly where I needed to be’.
October and November were our busiest months yet… so many opportunities came our way, we worked with the wonderful artist, Amy, and writer, Keri, and astrologist, Michelle, on a photo shoot for the La Luna | La Femme Moon Journals. We attended the A Festive Summer pop-up market with Cura Loca and overall came up for air a hand full of times.
November; Milestones and excitement.
It’s funny how once you have decided something the world opens up to you. Like things just started falling into place. November was such an exciting month, filled with so many milestones.
After working on this project for 15months it finally came to be… We launched our collaborative series called SML + CO., a series where we look forward to bringing you beautiful bespoke hand poured candles and accessories through collaboration. These limited edition candles and accessories will be sold in small batches, each item will arrive at your door with a certificate of authenticity, making the perfect thoughtful gift. The first collaboration was with Cape Town based ceramist Mimi Chaun of M/mskii, together we created the Floral Slumber candle and ring bowl. A dreamy blend of rose and lavender organic essential oils delicately infused into soy wax and hand poured into these limited edition, bespoke M/mskii ceramic vessels. Studio Melissa Louise candles are vegan, we pride ourselves for being a producer of a top quality, non harmful product that burns beautifully, smells divine and is also a nourishing massage oil. Simply apply the melted wax to your skin to moisturise and treat affected areas.
We distributed news of this launch via our very first ever mailer!!! Sending out a monthly mailer is something I have aspired to do since day one of starting this business. Mailers are special, they tell a story and communicate directly to people who support your vision – it’s the community support that I love and if you would like to be apart of that you can join our mailing list now.
2018 Festive shipping dates;
Last year we worked straight through the festive season to make ends meet, it was a major goal of ours to take a break this year and to enjoy the holidays with family… I am proud to say that we have achieved this goal and will be taking a short but much needed festive break! Working towards a deadline has done wonders for my mental health and has got me all kinds of excited for 2019, I have so many ideas brewing and cant wait to come back feeling well rested and ready to take on the new year! Our studio closes on the 14th of December and will re-open on the 2nd of January.
Important dates to remember,
Last day for any international wholesale orders: 6th December. 5pm.
Last day for any local wholesale orders: 10th December. 5pm.
Last day for any local online orders: 13th December. Midnight.
*these orders will be shipped on the 14th of December and will take +-2 working days to arrive, keeping in mind the 17th is a public holiday.
Goals and exciting things to look forward to in 2019;
More collaboration… because ” Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Be it collaboration on new and exciting products, media content or community service, I really do believe that we can achieve so much more when we support each other.
Happy holidays everyone!
Written, compiled and photographed by Melissa Lawrence.