Today we are featuring local artist, illustrator, mom boss and business owner Sammy Sheppard. We are in love with all the beautiful prints she designs! Make sure you visit her online shop or The Merchant in Mossel Bay to see her products; some of our favourites include her laptop sleeves, place mats, tassle bags and planners (especially for such a control freak like me).

We recently got in touch with Sammy to ask her a couple of questions about her business, how it all started and her new designer face masks.

Tell us a bit more about your business? I am an illustrator and I design and manufacture my own brand of luxury products consisting of ranges of stationery to home decor and fashion accessories.

How did you decide to take the courageous step and start your own business? I started my business 6 years ago and initially started very small. After some encouragement from friends, I started making greeting cards and notebooks with my designs printed on them. Then I jumped in the deep end by doing a trade show and that got my products into stores across SA initially and then eventually, internationally.

How do you balance running your own business and being a busy mom? With lots of prayer and good planning. Structures and support systems are crucial when balancing a full schedule and family life. When we are not under lockdown, I work in the mornings and evenings. I fetch my children from 2 different schools often at 3 different times and from then on I am “just” a mom, and I do not check emails or “quickly just do this one thing”. My husband is a huge support and when I do need to travel he often looks after all three of our boys alone! They definitely appreciate me when I'm home again 😉

What tips do you have for new entrepreneurs? Start with what you have, pursue that which you love doing and do it well. People buy into passion and excellence. Ask for advice and never stop learning and honing new skills, be it better communication, management or IT. 

Do you have any encouraging advice for businesses in our area, especially during this trying time?  In my opinion, people are spending less and want more for their money. Give them your best, at fair prices and with a big smile and positive attitude. That's not for sale anywhere else and that will draw people to you, your product or service.

Tell us more about your designer masks? My masks are a combination of aesthetics, practicality and comfort. I spent 2 weeks sewing, cutting patterns and trying out every different mask I could find. I finally settled with a design that I love wearing myself. It has a wire on the bridge of the nose, to avoid glasses from fogging up. They have adjustable elastics which the wearer can either loop behind the ears or tie behind their heads. The fabrics are printed with my own hand painted illustrations and sewn by local ladies who are not able to work due to the lock-down.

What is the first thing you want to do after lockdown? Spend an entire day at the beach with friends and family 😉

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