Its kinda hard to start writing a short paragraph introduction on a person you want to write so much about. Over the last couple months, I have become friends with this amazing creative human being. She lives all the way in Knysna a beautiful part of our country, one of the creative hubs of the Western Cape, the perfect place for this lady to spread her wings and let her mind wonder down a path filled with wonderment.
You would have to be living under a rock…. (I hope you are not), not to have noticed what all the creative designs coming from ByRoeline & Co, from her tees, fancy bibs and pacifier chains, she is fast developing an array of unique designs for kids and moms. There is also a surprise in this post… a sneak look at a new set of leggings…
How amazing are the Lion Bum Leggings? Every kid needs a pair for winter… for ‘reals’!
So without further a due, I would like you to get to know the lady and business woman too…
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came about starting ByRoeline and now ByRoeline & co?
I started a blog byRoeline back in 2014, where I just blogged about DIY weddings and DIY decor ideas. I blogged on and off for a while and back in 2015, I took a sabbatical of sort. Quit my full time corporate job to become as I call it a free-range human. We moved to Knysna end 2015 and shortly after I did a screen-printing course and started to print on baby, kids and adult wear.
You are very creative, have you always worked in the creative field?
Not at all…
Picture Office manager, academic administrator and then a customer service consultant…
Not creative at all, but I always did creative work on the side. In 2010 I had a photography business and blog, which slowly evolved into a DIY blog and doing knitting, crocheting and sewing on the side as gifts.
When did your passion for designing apparel for children develop, and why this?
It just found me.
I am not a mom, so hardly knew anything about baby and kid wear until a few very close friends became pregnant and I wanted to make and give them handmade one of a kind, not mass produced gifts. So I started to print baby onesies and some faith-based prints with eco-friendly inks and it just kind of evolved and grew from there.
Were you always an entrepreneur?
I would say that I definitely have an entrepreneurial streak in me. I am always working on something new and sharing new business ideas and tips with fellow creative’s. But entrepreneurship is more than just having a business. I believe it is not just about me, the owner, the entrepreneur, it is about creating something ethically with value and changing and impacting the lives of the people you work with during the process. Realising their potential and helping to equip them with the necessary skills to better their lives or even create their own businesses when the time is right. That is what byRoeline & co is about. It is no longer just about me, ‘Roeline’, it’s also about the people I get to work and collaborate with in-house. Keeping it in-house is extremely important to me as I feel it ensures a level of quality, and I have peace knowing that the products are made by someone who does not just get paid minimum wage.
Where do you get your inspiration from, you live in a beautiful part of the country, are there any special places that you draw this from?
Knysna really is so amazing. I am so content and happy with the organic, slow town type of lifestyle it has to offer, but if there is one special place for me at the moment it is in the Lotus yoga studio. The studio is a calming yellow, and it has this wide open wooden window with a chiffon type of white curtain covering. I call it my happy window and my happy place.
And inspiration for me is everywhere, the forest around our home, my friend’s little boy, our 2 Great Danes. Life inspires me.
You have some mad, crazy good sewing skills, who taught you and help you develop the passion you have for the art?
I’ve only recently, beginning of the year, really started to get involved with the sewing on a granular level. But it has been self-taught, with a few online courses and mostly trial and error.
I have always been so inspired and intrigued with the arts and being able to create something from nothing or just an idea.I believed I had only analytical skills, and not really fine motor skills to be able to make something with my own two hands and in the last 5 years I have just smashed those limitations and walls I used to box myself in.
You also do your own screen printing, and fabric designs. That is amazing, what is your work space like?
With me doing screen-printing on ready-made apparel and then also printing on fabric yardage I need space and an area with a dark room where I am able to develop and burn my designs onto screens. So with that mentioned my screen-printing studio is in the basement… (gulp). Nothing fancy or pretty but practical and enough room to move around, and then we have the sewing room which has loads of natural light looking out into the forest.
Running your own business is not easy, what are the positives and negatives?
Positives are that I am able to set the pace and have full control over how busy I want to be. I also don’t have to consult or get approval from anyone and I can make and develop products that I want, and when I want. The negative or hard part can sometimes be to stay motivated, be consistent and to keep on creating. It’s so easy to just go into a slump and watch Netflix and leave it for the next day or the next or next. And those times are where I find I start to struggle to stay creative. I believe creativity is not an on and off, on demand switch. You have to stay consistent and get up and show up every morning to create.
You are busy expanding your ByRoeline & co collection, is there any sneak peaks you can reveal to our readers of what is in store?
I am working on perfecting my repeat pattern screen-printing, so as part of the 2017 winter collection I decided to challenge myself a bit with a new full repeat pattern print. So this Forest Friends print will be cut and sewn into some cosy winter leggings and maybe even some beanies.
Getting to know Roeline the kid:
What was your favourite toy as a Child?
Did you have a movie or cartoon that you loved?
The King and I (animated version)
Were you a play outside and build forts or dress your doll for days?
I was definitely a play outside on my bike, rollerblading, climbing and falling out of trees kinda gal.
If you could go back to your childhood and do up your room yourself, what would it look like.
Oh man, good question. Hmmmmm, prob lots and lots of colour.
To find out more and visit their online store