Tag Archives: creativity

How I upgraded to junk-status

Junk-status – the word of the moment…or maybe it has been for the last few months.

As an ordinary South African, I have some idea of what it means for our country. In a nutshell, it means that we have been flushed down the credit drain by a plague of bad leadership decisions. And a reshuffle.

This news spread unwanted doom and gloom in an already unstable economy. Instead of wallowing over something I have no control over, in a strange way, this news immediately reminded me of my own downgrade I experienced about 10 years ago.

I was blacklisted and cast out of the credit system through a bad financial investment. This caused me and my family many years of financial trouble and sleepless nights. Inadvertently, our lives changed forever. For many years it was a struggle to survive…we literally lived from hand-to-mouth.

About 6 years ago, I started building furniture for my own home, out of necessity. Guess what I used to build it with? RUBBISH…JUNK!

The strangest thing happened – out of lack and with some creativity, I started my business, Lilly Loompa.

I decided to use the resources I had and started building beautiful, useful pieces that made my home better. It made me feel better about my situation. These pieces made out of junk, was the manifestation of the mess I found myself in.

Unknowingly, I UPGRADED to junk-status, and I loved it! This is what this experience has taught me:

  1. Use what you have! I am a firm believer of this and it has become one of my life-values. When you have nothing in your grocery cupboards, start growing a food garden! Live off the earth!

Made with junk! Tin can lamp by Lilly Loompa

  1. Stay positive – It is so easy to become downcast and depressed when you find yourself in an unwanted situation. Read motivational books and autobiographies of people that inspire you. Exercise more and eat healthier.

 

  1. Downgrade your lifestyle – Do not even attempt to keep up with the Jones’. Learn to live with less. Sell your fancy home, and buy a more affordable one. Eat less at restaurants, and have more picnics.

 

  1. Live simpler – Get rid of complications in your life. Try to break away from the rat race by going to the park after work. Why not try to cook outdoors tonight? Instead of being cooped up inside the house?

 

  1. Be creative – Creativity grows more, through adversity. I have said this before and I still believe it now more than ever. Being strapped for cash should be an opportunity to start multiple income streams. Make a list of your skills and investigate and pursue income opportunities in those industries.

 

  1. Be content in the situation – Be happy. Laugh more in spite of what your reality says. See the lighter side in every situation…a good laughter session can cure the saddest heart.

 

  1. Don’t let depression rob you – I remember clearly many days I just wanted to get under the covers and stay there. I wanted to wallow and sulk. I felt like I was entitled to be depressed. Surround yourself with positive people that will decline an invite to your pity party.

Made with junk! Block lamp by Lilly Loompa

 

  1. Rags to riches – believe it can happen to you. Believe the unthinkable. Believe that through hard work and commitment, you story can change. Also know that your success story can free someone else from their prison!

 

“If people throw stones at you, pick ‘em up and build something.”

Lecrae

In my case, I have adapted it to read:

 

“If life throw stones at you, pick ‘em up and build something.”

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6 Easy ways to apply creativity to your business

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When I get a creative idea, it feels like the inside of my brain is having a fireworks display. Little pockets of colour and excitement explode non-stop and the only way to calm this euphoric sensation is by executing my idea. Sometimes it is easy to bring the idea to life, sometimes the execution becomes an experiment. Either way, I love this process. It allows me to explore unchartered territory, or even unusual ways of doing things.

In business, creativity is non-negotiable. In fact, I would dare to say…you cannot build a successful business or brand without it. I believe many businesses struggle because they have not struck a balance between good business practices and creativity. Not just creativity in the sense of a creative product, but applying creative thinking and creativeness in every area in business.

It is imperative that we constantly find creative ways of selling and building our brand. If we want to stand out from the crowd, we need to be different. Being different requires ingenuity. Standing out sometimes means swimming upstream.

A great example of constantly applying creativity in business is the Sir of business himself – Richard Branson. He has built an empire based on creativity and resourcefulness.

Let’s look at the word, creativity:

Creativity – the ability to create; the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness

Guess from which source I derived the above meaning? You guessed it, Google! One of the most creative companies of the modern-day world.

In my own business, I have to constantly look at new and creative ways of growing my brand and business.

Let us look at 6 easy ways of boosting creativity in your business…

1. Creative thinking

Take time during the day and dedicate it specifically to creative thinking. A practical example could be to keep an idea box. Write down your ideas (even if they seem far-fetched), and regularly re-visit them. Keep this box in a communal area and encourage your employees to use this system to also encourage team spirit.  Do not allow the box to gather dust! Open it at your weekly team meetings and try to apply at least one of these ideas per month. You could also keep it anonymous to refrain from judgmental tendencies.

2. Play area

Dedicate a communal area in your office for them to relax and “play” in. Make it as interesting and stimulating as possible with bold wall colours and comfortable seating. A great example of this is again Googleplex in California. It is a place of complete delight and bliss. According to research, creating an interesting environment for staff members will also decrease absenteeism. Research also shows that mental breaks and playtime increase productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories and encourage creativity.

3. Revisit product/service

Revisit your product or service and gauge it in the market. Study your competitors as well as general businesses who are reaching success in the market. Come up with new ways of selling your product to the market. I recently visited Expresso, South Africa’s first R10 coffee shop. It is a brilliant concept that sells great quality coffee and pastries at only R10 per serving!  I immediately fell in love with the brand as I find comfort in the fact that everything in store is R10. As a consumer I could feel the tangible generosity of the brand as I am receiving great value, at a great price!

4. Give them web-time

Yes! Allow them to play on the internet for a certain amount of time per day to research sales strategies and study the brand giants. Web platforms like Google and YouTube can be very resourceful to small businesses especially. We all use the phrase “Google it”. Although we do not encourage employees to spend hours upon hours playing senselessly on the internet, your business and sales can benefit exponentially from this exercise, done within limits.

5. Appoint a CCO (Chief Creative Officer) 

Give this informal title to your most creative employee. This is not a formal job position. It gives room for the staff member to constantly seek creative solutions. This could be a roving title as it spreads the responsibility and also motivates team spirit. Allow this person regular access to different departments to see how the operations work. This promotes transparency and allows them to find creative suggestions for streamlining operations and sales.

6. Forget about budget

Yes, I said it…forget the numbers! Do not let the lack of money and resources dampen your ideas or strategy. Most small business owners struggle with working capital and this can be quite disheartening. You are not alone…cheer up! Instead opt to implement the same idea with the money and resources available. If the idea is really good and you see benefit in it, try and raise the money to roll it out. Or put it on the back burner till you have the cash!

Because I sell a physical product, I need to apply creativity above all else when I design a new furniture piece. I pride myself on designing unique and exclusive items, thus I have to apply some of these above-mentioned ways to bring my designs into being and to market.

As in life, there are no guarantees, except if you diligently apply them, and almost force yourself out of your comfort zone, your business will start seeing growth.

As I mentioned earlier, fireworks are synonymous with celebrations and milestones. So my conclusion is that your creative ideas should be celebrated. They need to be brought to life…by you!

Lizl Naude is the founder of Lilly Loompa in South Africa, a company that creates beautiful and usable furniture pieces made with recycled material. Lilly Loompa’s “Rubbish Range” is the result of Lizl’s craving to deliver pieces that are completely “green”. Lizl is a self taught designer and started designing and making furniture because she couldn’t afford to buy new pieces to furnish her home. She started to scout and source for budget material and quickly realised that most people discard of very usable materials. This led to her building and designing beautiful furniture items that she used in her home.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM |  Read Lizl’s startup story here.

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A theatrical weekend and a dose of salsa!

What a great weekend!

It started with the DIY shoot with photographer, Kim McFarlane, for the 4changemag on Saturday morning.  Read about me joining this very exciting magazine as the resident DIY writer.

Then in the evening we went to see the very controversial and gripping true story of Ellen Pakkies, a seemingly ordinary woman, living in a notoriously violent area ironically named “Lavender Hill “, in the vicinity of Cape Town, murdered her beloved son Adam, or “Abie” as she called him, a crystal metaphetatimine (tik) addict.

Vinette Ebrahim (as Ellen Pakkies) & Christo Davids (as Adam Pakkies)

We left the theatre in a bit of a shake.  The show was extremely intense and raw…but every bit successful for just that reason.  The struggle and fight against this vicious ill of our time is intense and raw and we need heavenly intervention.  If you want more information, follow the show and their performing details on Facebook.

Then on Sunday as per usual we went to church and received yet another Spirit-filled and God-inspired word! Wow…powerful and intense word.  The Sunday lunch was another highlight of the day but a bit rushed as we had to get ready for another theatre production by our friends, Solomon Cupido and Bradley Olivier at PopArt in the The Maboneng Precinct , Johannesburg East.

PopArt Centre

Comedy duo, Bradley & Solomon

I haven’t laughed so much and so hard in such a long time! Well done guys! We cannot wait for the next one! And oh, I must mention I am very proud to say these boys are from my home-town, Paarl and I took the poster pic!  Watch out Trevor Noah!

“Tuff times”

Maboneng, a Sotho word meaning “place of light”, is a fitting name for a district that has fast become a centre of creative energy for Johannesburg’s urban artists. With a mix of art galleries, and retail and studio space on offer, the precinct draws the inner-city public, as well as the chic, art-going crowd of the city’s northern suburbs, bringing life back into downtown Johannesburg.

City skyline

The energy is electrifying.  Sidewalk restaurants, kids playing and graffiti lines the street.

Kids playing

I love this very cool “Before I die” wall of art.

Interesting wishes

After the show we decided to go chill at The Rooftop Bar of the Canteen Restaurant at Arts On Main. What a refreshing experience! I felt like I was instantly transported to Havana, Cuba. The atmosphere was thrilling!

The bar is the home of salsa, where scores of lithe dancers spend their Sunday afternoons swaying to the hypnotic rhythms of Afro-Cuban tunes.

Sexy salsa!

Salsa – A Latin American style of music, influenced by jazz

It got my feet itching and I suddenly have an urge to learn Salsa!  Wow, truly an amazing and authentic experience.

All in all…a magnificent weekend!  Thanks to all my friends who help made it happen! Big ups!

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