In light of August being Women’s Month, I thought it would be the perfect time to promote some hard working mums. You could find the service provider you were looking for or be inspired to take that leap you’ve been dreaming of.
(Spoiler Alert: there’s a discount code at the end of this post)
Q&A WITH MATHILDA
1. Tell me a little about yourself without including details of your family and work (it’s tough I know 😂)
My approach to life, and the best way to capture my heart, is by using the analogy of setting our dinner table for guests: A tablecloth made of beautiful fabric; handpicked floral arrangements; personalised table settings; wholesome food, each course homemade with tons of love; chairs filled with dear friends and family…and always an extra chair for that unexpected – but very welcome – guest. The detail that goes into setting a table, is the same detail with which I approach every aspect of my daily life. My cup overflows when I can join the table, love and laugh!
2. How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have a very healthy, busy and gorgeous pigeon pair – Mia Muis (5) and Andreas Apie (2).
3. What is your side hustle? And when did you start?
My original hustle included design and project management, under the brand “proJEKT” and has now grown to include two unique products: the proBOX activity boxes and proCRAFT craft boxes.
In 2013 I was blessed with the arrival of our daughter Mia and in 2016 our pigeon pair was completed when Andreas joined our family. Along with a house filled with laughter and plenty of nappies, came the childrens party invitations. As a normal shop bought gift was not going to do the trick, the proBOX initiative started taking shape, complimenting the love I have for the art of giving gifts.
The proBOX is a super stable wooden cube and includes items like a xylophone, lock & key, latch, touch light, calculator, wooden rattle, building blocks & base, mirror, shoe laces, light switch and magnifying glass @ R800.
It makes the perfect gift for any toddler (although the older siblings are also very intrigued). Due to the popularity of the proBOX, I’m considering manufacturing a smaller/flat version making it more accessible to moms that request versatility.
My two little ones were also the inspiration for the proCRAFT craft boxes, which followed the proBOX. Keeping them distracted from digital entertainment for as long as possible became a full time challenge. A challenge that was met with my craft/busy boxes. It is filled with all kinds of art and craft tools including paint, scissors, punches, paper, googly eyes, glitter glue, stickers, feathers, buttons, felt sheets and more. It is free play. No rules, no limitations.
There are three options available:
(1) proCRAFT DELUXE – the big brother, including all the bits and bobs @ R350.
(2) proCRAFT LIGHT – same box, but with fewer items, i.e. one craft scissor instead of two @ R250.
(3) proCRAFT TRAVEL – a travel bag with notebook, pencil case, pens, crayons, stickers etc. Perfect to keep little hands busy in the car or aeroplane @ R150.
The proCRAFT box make a fabulous gift – something different and bespoke. It can be fully customised for a boy or girl.
After reading this I might have to change the name to proJACK…jack of all trades, master of none (yet).
I can 100% vouch for The ProCraft box. Mathilda very kindly sent my girls a box to play with. Here is a quick review that I wrote after my kids played non-stop and unassisted for TWO HOURS! I will definitely be getting the travel sets for our next road trip!
4. What did you do before starting your own business AND what made you leave?
With a degree in Consumer Science, my first job was as a receptionist at an up-market guesthouse. This was my introduction to the hospitality industry and how I later became part of a wedding co-ordination company. Despite being faced with many complicated brides, I loved it!
It was the long and crazy work hours which finally convinced me to apply for a position as a project manager at a graphic design company. I still consider this the “real” start to my career, where I learned a great deal about professionalism, attention to detail and client service. I found the corporate communication industry very exciting and gained invaluable experience when I moved to London at the age of 25, where I joined a well-established design house.
On my return two years later, I started my own design and project management company. After three years I was offered a great opportunity as an in-house brand manager for a logistics company. During this time I got married, had my first baby and when I was 4 months pregnant with the second one, decided to take a break. However, as a born entrepreneur, I did not take long before I re-opened my design and project management business again in 2017, this time working from home.
5. How do you allocate your time between work and family?
It is not easy…Mia goes to school in the mornings, but Andreas is still at home. Luckily I have an amazing nanny with a very educational approach. She is part of the family! I also have a rule: on Tuesday’s I am not allowed to do any designing or admin. We normally go on what the kids call a date. I take them to see animals, visit nurseries or just have a fun time out! They love it.
6. What have been the hardships of running your own business?
SALES…being bold enough to sell.
7. What have been the highlights?
There is a special kind of concentration you can see when a tiny hand attempts to open the lock of the proBOX with its key. Or the smile that appears when exploring the proCRAFT box. Being able to experience the joy each of my products brings, is the true reward. The excitement on those little faces melts my heart!
8. What advice do you have for other women who are on the cusp of taking the leap into entrepreneurship?
Believe in yourself and your product.
9. How can we get in touch with you?
Call / text / whatsapp: 082 522 8631
Website: www.projektsa.co.za (under construction)
Women’s Month Discount!
Mathilda is offering fantastic discounts on a few products until the end of August. Use the promo code AUG18 when placing your order and get:
10% off the proCRAFT DELUXE
5% off the proCRAFT LIGHT, and
10% off the proBOX
Offer available to South African Residents only and excludes courier fee. Orders must be paid for before 31 August 2018.