Sunday, January 31, 2010

Business "Incubation"

In this challenging time in business, many start-up companies are looking for new ways to survive and thrive. These businesses have only a handful of options to turn to for assistance.
Many of these businesses look to enter into relationships with business incubators that can grow them. Many incubators are funding-based. They grant financial loans to small companies that can help them to upgrade their businesses to the "next level". Such loans are usually given at very high interest rates because of the high risks attached.
I realised some time back, that if all my plans were going to work out properly, I would need the help of people who knew more about business than I did at that time. I was very fearful of cash loans because I had seen so many companies around me who had gone that route, and things had still not worked out for them. Real life seldom plays out as you envision it when you write up your business plan and often the interest rates and extended timelines would end up being more of a strain than at first anticipated.
I wanted a different solution and when I stumbled on Raizcorp, I knew I had found the fit for me.
Raizcorp offers something a little different. They offer learning and an infrastructure in which to operate. This may not sound like a lot, when compared to a fat cash lump sum, but over time I have learned that it is far more valuable.
The first time one of my clients came to see me and we met in their boardroom, I realised what an impact you can make working from a more professional environment. Their learning rooms are a constant source of enlightenment and self-discovery. You walk in to learn more about business, and you step out having learned volumes about yourself.
Raizcorp does not only grow the business, they grow the individual entrepreneur as well. This is their unique offering.
I was fascinated when I first started there and I learned that they actually call it "prosperation" not "incubation". I asked them what this means exactly? Raizcorp believes that the term "incubator" has connotations that the person being helped must be weak and vulnerable. They believe that they only back winning horses who are strong and fast, so the term is not really a truthful reflection of what they really do. So they created their very own term to cover the concept.
Prosperator : Raizcorp grows profitable entrepreneurial businesses...
Thank you to my Raizcorp family for helping me to grow and improve in my business every day.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Metz Press

Metz Press is an independent publisher of high quality information books and illustrated non-fiction for the South African market as well as the international co-edition market. Their focus remains on crafts, gardening, parenting and life (which includes several self-hep titles). One of a small number of independent South African publishers to have successfully penetrated the international co-edition market, Metz has sold rights to their books in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey and Russia. After many years of hard work and a consistent presence at the Frankfurt International Book Fair, Metz has convinced international companies that they can meet their high standards of quality content, production and delivery. Most of their overseas editions reprint regularly and the list is growing.
Metz Press continues to attract the best craft authors for our project-based craft books. Their creativity, combined with a practical, hands-on approach and the service of top photographers in this genre all contribute to a range that simply stands out from the rest. Last year's success with embroidery doyenne Di van Niekerk's ribbon embroidery and stumpwork designs for a selection of Cecily Mary Barker's exquisite Flower Fairies TM is bound to be equalled by her recently released Monograms and words in ribbon embroidery. Fabric enthusiasts are sure to be thrilled by Simply Fabulous Fabric, as well as the forthcoming Contemporary Dyecraft (by Melanie Brummer). Their well-known and growing parenting list has also been boosted by the addition of BabyGym, MindMoves and a new edition of their top seller Baby Sense. In Adjusting The Boundaries, the fourth book in her boundaries series, Anne Cawood offers parents wise and sympathetic cousel to help children and teens cope with separation and divorce.
You will know a Metz Press book when you hold it in your hands. It has a very special look and feel that is quite distinctive. Read more at
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards

Monday, January 18, 2010

CDP Trust and Kids Haven

The CDP Trust is an NGO in Bertrams, Johannesburg, that is working tirelessly to help those in the community that are too vulnerable to help themselves. They operate on private funding from Europe and they assist refugees and abused women and children to survive and have a chance at rebuilding their lives.
They use arts and crafts as a catalyst for disclosure and healing. Colour is therapeutic. It has the power to rehabilitate and heal. CDP Trust uses it as a balm on the wounds of the people who come to them for help.
Recently, they brought in groups of children from Kids Haven in Benoni for a holiday programme. I went to the concert afterwards to celebrate their artworks and achievements.
It was my first visit to Kids Haven, and the experience will stay with me forever.
Kids Haven is a shelter in Benoni that takes in children off the street in Johannesburg. As I stood in the hall looking at more than 500 busy children, I realised that not one of them had anywhere else to go, or anybody to turn to. All of them have some aweful tale of trauma to tell. No child will simply leave its parents. Some have lost both parents to illness, others have run to Johannesburg to escape unmentionable horrors at home.
All of them crave love.
Afterwards I was chatting to a friend of mine about the experience. She seemed frustrated that the Government is not doing more for children like these. The truth is that there are just not enough resources for the growing problem. Each one of us is sitting hoping in some vague way that somebody, somewhere, is taking care of the problem, because that is what moral society does.
In reality, there are scores and scores of children like this around us everywhere, that the resources do not reach, for whatever reason.
I went in and presented a 20 minute colour magic show for them. It cost me a little bit of my time and a piece of cloth. It meant the world to them.
I am 37 years old and I am still blessed to have both of my loving parents. The only thing that seperates me from any of the children in that room is the fact that I happened to be born in the right place at the right time. Every day I am more thankful for that lucky accident.
Do you have kids who are moaning that they do not yet have the latest Playstation? Step out into your community and go and meet the children in the shelters and homes around you. Contribute. Donate. Get involved. Change the world you live in.
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Keeping It Contemporary

Different people have different perceptions about tie dye. For many, it evokes pictures of long-haired hippies and their alternative lifestyle.
Did you know that tie dye has been use in fashion throughout the ages?
It is a national artform in Japan. Do a Google search for the term "shibori" and see how many pages come up with information about hand dyed fabrics. The Japanese people have used hand dyed techniques to embellish their kimonos for centuries and you can find their hand dyed textiles in their national museums and galleries.
In India the knowledge is passed down from father to son and mother to daughter and India is steeped in a culture of hand embellished textiles. Indian women will sit for hours and stitch individual grains of rice into their saris, which they then hand over to the dye technicians to colour with dye. Afterwards, they sit and carefully unpick every stitch to reveal the delicate pattern underneath.
Countries like Kenya and Ghana produce signature textiles that reflect their vibrant culture and tell the stories of their people.
Local designers like Stoned Cherrie and Sun Goddess have made extensive use of hand dyed finishes to differentiate their clothes with an authentic African feel and charm. Tie dye allows a designer to create garments in season colours, on-demand.
In Europe, top designers like Prada and Versace are doing the same. Go to to see how Versace has used tie dye to create the most stunning silk shirts for men in 2010.
How you view tie dye is a matter of your individual perspective and framework. What is clear is that it is versatile and timeless. It has been used for as long as people have been making cloth and it will continue to add value to the clothing industry for as long as people crave to express their individuality through their clothes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Discover The Fourth Dimension!

Brand Wellness.
As the world evolves and changes, new and innovative markets open up all around us. Challenges that arrise in modern situations need sophisticated, holistic solutions, implemented timeously, if any business is to survive in the shifting field.
Eril Wiehahn of Design Tank is an entrepreneur who is working into such a niche. She identified a trend that she called "brand.o.sis".
A condition symptomised by the weakening of the brand due to inappropriate use and dysfunction. The malady leads to customer confusion and apathy in employees.
Prognosis : lack of productivity and loss of revenue
This all sounds rather dire...and Eril has the cure! Enter the Fourth Dimension!
4D Brand Wellness consists of an integrated package, incorporating the principles of visual identity and interior design, as well as psychosocial and sensory factors that affect the wellness of your business environment and brand. It is geared to increase your business's productivity and your bottom line. It gives you the benefit of dealing with one company for seamless service and peace of mind.
And why am I telling you all this?
Eril is busy working her magic on the Slipstream brand. Look out for the new-look logo and packaging in the next couple of months. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with!
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sun Goddess 2005

Hippy tie-dye or couture chic? The debate continues... I was determined to prove the latter true and set out to supply many top local designers to prove my point.
In 2005 Sun Goddess commissioned this T-shirt for their SA Fashion Week Collection. They were looking for an interpretation of the sun in their season colours. I tied very tight elastic bands in rings and then added the yellow, red and brown using a syringe to make sure it went only where I wanted it. The sun motif is only on the front of the T-shirt and the back is plain brown.
The headscarf is a chiffon silk. I have always found the shapes of Ndebele patterns inspirational, and I had a vision to create a diamond pattern in colours that came from our national flag. I called the piece Rainbow Nation. This was the first time I made this pattern and Vanya Mangaliso was excited to snap it up for her collection.
I just made it again for Contemporary Dyecraft (Metz Press) and you can now learn how to make it for yourself, using the step-by-step photos in the book. Rainbow Nation will always be one of my personal favourite patterns. I had a lot of fun inventing and refining it, and I am always delighted with the outcome.
I have dyed chiffon silk, raw silk, habotai, T-shirting, linen, muslin and twill for Sun Goddess over the years. Tie dye is an opportunity to create something distinctly unique. It is an opportunity to choose pattern and colourway. It is an opportunity for designers to create limited edition custom cloth, on-demand.
When I first began to understand the implications for manufacturers, it blew my mind. Many years later, the possibilities remain endless.
What do you think? Hippy tie-dye or couture chic?
Have a great day in full colour!
Kind regards

Picture by Ivan Naude for SA Fashion Week