In the past, supporting local businesses had a very different stigma attached to it versus today. Supporting local meant going down to the beachfront and purchasing little trinkets and things from the street sellers, or going to Tupperware parties and buying items from your friends (can honestly say this was before my time and not something I’ve ever done). I’m sure local businesses such as the ones I’m going to mention now have always existed, the age of social media has just made them more accessible and more visible and for that, I am very grateful. Online shopping is a big part of my life and having so many amazing local brands to choose from makes life so much easier – hello no import tax! The fact that you’re supporting someone’s start-up and their dream is also really important to me. I will say that I have tons of local brands that I shop from so this list is really just a few favourites and one of each type of product, just to show a bit of variation. If you watch my Instagram stories you’ll see some other local brands pop-up all the time.
1. Alexa Lily
Alexa Lily is a company that creates beautiful diaries, stationary and original art – to sum it up as briefly as I can. I discovered Alexa Lily through one of my favourite local beauty bloggers, Kiss Bush and Tell, at the end of 2017 and was so grateful I did! I was just in time to purchase a Weekly Planner for the new year ahead which I honestly couldn’t live without at this point and have no idea how I lasted so long before it either.
More so than just the genius of the products themselves, I love the brand image and what the brand represents. Two #BossGirls making it happen and putting everything together with such meticulous attention to detail. A lot of their Instagram is pretty and pink which, if you know me, is also scoring major points in my books! I’d like to think if I ever created my own business it would look a little something like Alexa Lily (even the name is pretty).
I currently have my eye on purchasing some of their beautiful original art pieces for my room or study as they will go so nicely with my decor, and I love to support a brand like this as much as possible, where possible.
2. Carry Ann
I know that woven baskets might not exactly seem relevant to you but Carry Ann bags are bringing baskets back. Seeing how trendy these bags are and how cute they look with almost any outfit really changed my mindset. (It’s summer time, where have you been if you’re not rocking a basket bag?) A basket bag with fur, a basket bag with a gold chain… Sounds ludicrous but it works! Embellishing the bags to give them a modern handwriting allows you to have a classic piece with a trendy twist.
Carry Ann bags are handwoven individually and the upmost care is taken to ensure each bag is executed perfectly. A statement from their site reads; “Our weavers source grasses from the mountainous areas close to their homes. The grass is easier to pick in summer, when it’s fresh and moist. To prevent it drying out, we submerge it in water – this makes it more pliable and easier to weave.” I think that gives you a better idea about how much goes into each bag, more so than I could express.
I also love reading up about the weavers who make these bags and how much of an impact these jobs and their income helps the ladies and their communities as a whole. Shopping knowing your money is going to a good cause really makes the biggest difference. I’m so happy with my Lola bag I purchased last year and can’t wait to shop more items in the future.
Shopping online for shoes, or more specifically sandals, is not something I’m prone to doing. Not because I’m iffy about the process but just because I like high quality items and this is surprisingly a challenging task when looking online for sandals. When I stumbled upon Sweet Peas Handmade I was undoubtedly SO excited! The range of different styles and prints they have and the quality – amazing! All of their sandals are genuine leather and hand crafted locally in Durban. There is also a size chart online so you can make sure you order the correct shoe size, as well as a list of available stockists in South Africa.
Out of all of the different colours and prints, my favourite has to be the animal print. Specifically the white with black spots in the style ‘Barcelona’. Where are my Sweet Peas gals at? You’ll know which ones I’m talking about. Sweet Peas Handmade also has a beautiful, chic clothing range to compliment the perfect sandal. Lots of earthy tones and bold prints in cute crop tops and comfortable culottes. I could go on and on listing the things I love about this brand but I’ll spare you the effort in reading, rather go check out their site for yourself. I dare you to leave it without purchasing something 🤭
4. By Cara
Majority of my jewellery is costume jewellery purely because I love to wear jewellery that is on trend and would never spend thousands on pieces that are seasonal. A necklaces here and there and a good couple of rings are my staple pieces that I have invested in but the rest – costume jewellery all the way. My biggest issue with costume jewellery however is the longevity of an item. I understand it’s not going to last forever, but a few weeks? That’s ridiculous.
When I started wearing By Cara jewellery it literally changed the game. Besides the fact that this range is so affordable and so convenient – I’m talking next day delivery people – the items come in individual ziplock bags which you can either recycle or use to store your jewellery in. I swear my one draw is just covered in these bags! Storing my jewellery correctly has made all the difference in the longevity of my jewellery and has restored my faith in costume jewellery. I love the wide range of styles By Cara has, the simplicity of shopping the products and the attention to customer satisfaction. Truly so happy I found them.
5. Akina Label
Saving the best for last. This local sustainable swimwear brand has been around for a while now and continue to grow and expand their range as they go. I personally love their swimwear more than any other swimwear brand out there – local and international, but they do have other items such as pyjamas and more recently, clothing, which I’ve heard very good things about. I’ve yet to try any of these but I think my insistent need to own every bikini on offer makes up for it. These items are made from recycled fabric and are so comfortable, they really move with your body. Anyway, I’ll stop here but go read up about them and check out their items on their site.
I really did try to keep this brief everyone, how did I do? Waffling on is a gift and a curse. Please bear in mind I have just listed a few things about each brand, there is obviously a lot more to them than what is mentioned here. I do however hope you were able to get the gist of each brand I love and I hope you’ll go onto their sites to learn more about them and maybe shop a sneaky item or two while you’re there. I know you won’t be disappointed.