Our story of hope: Waste to wonder

Hi, I’m Lizl and I’m a recovering nomad.

This wandering lifestyle, although interesting, wasn’t necessarily by choice. Up until today, as a couple, we’ve moved over 42 times. In 2002, at the age of 24, Ashley and I tied the knot and started our lives together. I still smile when I think about our naivety and the level of optimism we had when we took on the world!

We both worked in corporate, but our passion and purpose have always been connected to communities and people. After all, our love story began at the age of 21 at a community centre in Paarl, where we first met.

Five months into our marriage, I had an unfortunate freak accident at our duplex flat, when I fell off the stairs and nearly broke my back. I can still hear the doctor’s words ringing in my ears; ‘If your body swung a little to the left or to the right, you could have been paralyzed!’ His words haunted me for weeks while I recovered at home. Turned out I only broke the 2 wings off my lower vertebrae.

But locking up a creative for 8 weeks in a bed is not a good idea! I was bored out of my socks! Ashley went to work daily and I was stuck in bed! After about 3 weeks I really felt well enough to drive, against the doctor’s initial orders not to! I carefully got in my car and slowly drove to the closest bead shop! I was desperate to get out! 😊

To cut a long story short, making jewellery in bed was a lifesaver. It gave me so much pleasure and when I returned to the office most of my colleagues were interested. After careful consideration and consulting with Ashley, I decided to quit my job, to pursue the jewellery business fulltime.

So in 2004, Lilly Loompa Jewellery was born. It took me some time to settle on a name for the business, but I knew it had to have longevity and substance. When I was a child, Lilly was my nickname and Loompa comes from my favourite children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 😊

Some of the custom jewellery I used to make

Fast forward to 2010. By this time I have qualified as an Interior Decorator and Lilly Loompa Jewellery is no longer. Our family has grown with two girls added, Chelsea and Kirsten. In blind faith we decided to move to Jozi after a series of failed business transactions and investments. I start a blog to chronicle our moves and adventures so our family back home can stay in the loop. Because we never have any budget for decorating, I’m always rummaging for treasures to upcycle as furniture. I post these DIY stints on my blog and occasionally submit them as articles to a few magazines.

One of my favourite memories of our time in Johannesburg. We used to hike through the city on weekends

Another few unfortunate events happen over the next few years, which culminates to us losing everything over 4 times. Illegal evictions, robberies and our car stolen, among a few. During these desperate times of homelessness and being uprooted, I cling on to my passion of making a home and doing it with NOTHING. We are barely making it with no income and no budget, only by the grace of God. He dispatched so many angels, too many to mention. Not forgetting our parents and family who supported us so faithfully and still continues today.

I remember one specific day in 2014 when I fell to my knees and cried out, ‘LORD, please just give me an idea!’ Being the humorous God He is, He showed me waste! So Lilly Loompa was resurrected again, this time as an upcycling business.

Moving back home

In 2016, our season in Jozi came to an end and we moved back to Paarl! Since then, we’ve been rebuilding our lives and God has slowly, but faithfully, been restoring our lives.

Lilly Loompa is part of my life story. Ashley always says she our eldest daughter. 😂She is strong, creative and passionate. Above all, she is tenacious and determined to showcase the possibilities that can be found in waste.

Waste is an unearthed mountain of possibilities!

Lilly Loompa manufactures a variety of products, from storage holders, lamps, to dinner table accessories, among others. Our homeware is created through a process of hipcycling, which is essentially upcycling discarded waste and transforming it into desirable products that would complement your home. Eco-friendly, handcrafted and 100% South African, each Lilly Loompa piece, once trash, is now a meaningful piece of treasure.

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