Tag: The Little Banner Co

Proudly South African Christmas Gift Guide

Proudly South African Christmas Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again (I cant quite believe it), to round up some of my favourite finds for Kids this Festive Season. You are guaranteed to always find a focus on open-ended, educational toys up on my blog, with a few good old superheros chucked in (because, boys…..). This year I feel it’s even more important however, to focus on our beautiful array of talent here in South Africa. To support proudly South African entrepreneurs and my goodness, we have a huge amount of talent and creativity in our country.

I’ve divided my gift guide into 3 different articles this year, Local, educational and good old “off the shelf” items.

Lets Kick off with our Proudly South African Stuff:

From top left to right:

I’ve made no secret about my love for Thornewood treasures, we have the rainbow stackers, the rainbow peg dolls and next up on my wish list is the incredible rocker. The benefits of rockers are endless and in the pre-school years development is key! They are perfect for rainy days indoors and add in an extra element of fun to any play! From R1300

Dovetail Studio is another one of our favourites and Ang knows the way to my heart! This exquisite sensory table is sure to last a lifetime, but the best part is you can cover the basins to covert it into a functional table as well! R1890h

I feel like I’ve been a part of Charlie Loves Studio right from the start and the pieces just keep getting better and better. This Christmas these gorgeous “My twinkle tot” dolls need to be on your wishlist! R225.

I’m living my best “engineer” life with Stumped Toys, seriously these are the kind of gifts my dad would adore. They have a fantastic range of wooden toys, but my absolute favourite has to be the “Knock a Block” set. You can choose from a starter or bumper version depending on your budget and let your little builders create away! From R335

No Christmas would be complete without a customised stocking from the incredible “Little Banner Company”. No only are you supporting one of the nicest people I know, Claire’s creativity is endless. From bunting to tree decorations, check out her awesome selection. Customised Stockings start from R220.

Busy Books are my thing, I adore them, I really do appreciate the time and investment it takes to create them but my goodness some of them are super pricey. We have been loving our Hedgehog Busy Book from Mums Palette and it is the perfect addition to any holiday bag or trip and it’s the most affordable one I’ve seen! Busy Book from R550.

Calico Ceramics make the cutest DIY Painting Kits for children to paint and play. These would make the perfect stocking filler or table gift for Christmas Dinner (my mum always bought us little gifts for our side plates). R230

Imagine Play has the most beautiful range of open ended wooden toys, I found it impossible to choose just one. Top of my list are these “Village Dwelling” houses (R425) and these “Bright Roller” Sets (R950).

No gift list would be complete without these “Gem stackers” from Liv Bespoke. I’ve seen them all over instagram and I adore how they add in an extra element to traditional building blocks, that and they are just so pretty! At just R220 they are pretty on your pocket, and on your playroom shelf!

Imagine Play has the most beautiful range of open ended wooden toys, I found it impossible to choose just one. Top of my list are these “Village Dwelling” houses (R425) and these “Bright Roller” Sets (R950).

Land of Lark – Probably the most expensive item on my wishlist for the kids this year, but my gosh, would you just look at it! This Wooden “Pop-up Playhouse” is absolutely incredible. With all its gears and levers its such a great addition for any playroom. R3900 (Check out their Ndebele Birchwood house while you’re at it).

They also have the cutest range of play-mats in bonded leather which are great for messy play and crafts. My favourite is the Africa Play-Mat for hours of adventuring fun! R1980

That’s it for my South African round up! Stay tuned for the next 2 days for my educational and more commercial gift guides! I still cant get over the talent we have here in South Africa. Everyone goes on about “Nordic” designs etc, but honestly here in South Africa, the quality is incredible!

Support local this year and let’s rebuild our economy together!

Love Local – Felt and Fairies, Meet Claire From “The Little Banner Company”

Love Local – Felt and Fairies, Meet Claire From “The Little Banner Company”

I think the thing that I love the most about Motherhood, is that it’s opened my eyes and network to the most incredible, creative women. Since I’ve had the boys I have connected with women whose creative talents leave me speechless, literally! Claire is absolutely one of those women.

I first came across Claire on Instagram, while she and her family were still living in the UK. Our boys are similar ages and she had the prettiest feed and photos of her explorations with baby Jack, she even moved back to Cape Town just as we moved back to Johannesburg. I feel like we were destined to “meet” each other, “soul sisters”, even though we have never actually met “IRL”.  🙂 🙂

Anyway, enough of my blabbing, among Claire’s many talents (you should see her gathering and art skills), she started “The Little Banner Company” which makes the most adorable felt products for kids. Think magical wands, crowns, christmas stockings and the sweetest banners for kids rooms, offices, or wherever you feel like really! I chatted to her in a bit more detail around her exciting plans for 2019!

Tell me more about yourself and what you currently do?

I’m Claire!  I am married with two kiddos.  We moved to Cape Town 3 years ago after being in the UK for 12 years, and, it has been the best decision we ever made!  I have a part-time admin job for a few mornings a week and I create content, photograph and blog over on Gathered By Claire as well as create and sell fabric and felt products in my online shop – The Little Banner Company and at craft markets.

How did “The Little Banner Company” come about?

When I was on maternity leave in 2014 I found creativity was my outlet and allowed me to do something for me – having a baby is all time-consuming so I thrived by creating, writing and photographing each day and sharing it online.  I then got into sewing banners and they did really well on etsy and I loved doing it.  I then fell pregnant with my second unexpectedly so put it the business on hold for a few years.  In 2018 I started creating again and realised I have such a passion for creating products for my customers to brighten their homes.

What did you study – was it in this field or something different?

I studied psychology and health & social care – but I never did anything with my degree.  In hindsight I think I just studied because I felt it was something that was expected of me.  So, no – nothing to do with what I am doing now!

What have been the highlights of starting your own business?

Freedom!  I really struggle with authority and having to do things in someone else’s timeframe.  I love creating and am really passionate about it – it has brought me so much joy to do the thing that I love for my job.  Making my own money is also very important to me and one of my goals over the next few years is to become financially independent.  Also connecting with other creatives on social media has been such a huge blessing – Instagram is a wonderful community and there are so many of us out there who are like-minded and cheer each other on.

What’s the best part of your job?

Having my own schedule and seeing a finished product.

What is the most challenging part?

Sticking to a routine and procrastination.

Describe a typical day in your life.

I normally wake up around 6am. I shower, get dressed and have breakfast with the boys while they play and get ready for school. I take them to school around 7:30am and then either come home and do some work or go to my part-time admin job. The boys stay at aftercare 3 days a week until 3pm so on those days I try to get a lot done.  On the other two days we either have swimming or a playdate with friends.  Supper is at 5pm, followed by shower time, a bit of tv and then into bed for 6:30pm. We are very strict with an early bed time as Jack & Harry don’t nap so most evenings, they are asleep by 7:15pm. In the evenings I tend to tidy up the kitchen (I prefer going to bed with a clean and tidy kitchen!) and then do some sewing, writing or sometimes I watch a bit of TV. And then asleep by around 11pm.  And onto the next day!

How do you balance having a family (being an amazing mum and wife) and starting your own business?

It is hard!  But I am very strict with making time for myself and my business and then at the same time making time for my family.  It is something you have to muddle with and after some practise you find your groove and what works for you and your family.  I think it is all about honesty with yourself, communication with your partner and being kind to yourself.  I also believe you can have everything you want but just not all at once so its about accepting that and being realistic with what you can do in the time that you have.

What is your dream for The Little Banner Company?

I would love to have my products stocked in various shops around South Africa.  I want to sell more internationally too and also grow my blog and help others realise their passions and do what they love.  I want to share more content about simple living and help others with creativity and motivation.

Any tips for people wanting to take the leap and start their own business?

Just do it!  You have to start somewhere.  Write down your goals, your dreams and your aspirations as if money was no object.  Break these goals down into little steps and then each day work on those steps.  Good things take time but if you never start, you will never know.  Action breeds confidence and with confidence and the right attitude you can achieve anything!

You can find Claire online across the following sites:

Instagram: claire_choudhry


Claire has kindly said that she would like to custom make a banner for any reader/ follower here, anything you want!. It is the perfect addition to any nursery/kids room, teachers gifts and would make a gorgeous gift as well.

To enter:

Make sure you are following @IntheseStilettos and @Claire_Choudhry on Instagram

Leave a comment below, (here or Instagram) and tell me what your creative outlet is?

Competition is only open to Residents of South Africa and will run until Midnight on February 27th 2019.

Winners will be announced on Instagram and will have 24 hours to respond.

Remember, the purpose of the “Love Local” series is to inspire you to reach your dreams. Chatting to families and individuals who have just gone out and followed their dreams and made something out of their passions! So out and conquer your dreams. Everything is achievable, day by day!