Wireless Love

I recently tried out wireless earphones and they're so great for exercising or working at your laptop at a coffee shop. No more moments of being pulled back to your laptop when standing up. (There should be some hilarious YouTube videos of that out there...) 

Sudio Sweden sent me some cute earphones that connect via bluetooth which is pretty handy. They come in a few colours but I had to have the pink ones.

If you like them you can use my discount code JESSICAANNE15 on any purchase from their online store.

I'm wearing our Velvet Jacket. It's so comfy and the perfect shade of pink, if I do say so myself. :)

You can find it online here.

XO, Jess

 

Photos by Claire Gruver

Sharing Stories | Emma Whiley

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Hey friends, I'm starting a series called 'Sharing Stories'. I love that every individual has a story. I have been chatting to some real, authentic ladies lately and I thought it could not be more apt to share a bit about their incredible lives. I think it will be an inspiring read and it will help us to feel like we're not as crazy as we think we are (the type of crazy you're not sure should be there), we're not alone and we have so much to look forward to.

Emma, thanks for sharing a bit of your story with us and for making us giggle. 

Emma Whiley:

If you’d asked 17 year old, living-in-Zimbabwe, knows-everything-there-is-to-know-about-life me where I’d be living and working in 10 years time I probably would have said something like ‘working as a music producer in New York.’

Well, fast-forward 10 years and here I am in London (although New York is still my soul city) working as a copywriter. God works in mysterious (and mischievous ways ;))

Want to know how that happened? I’ll zoot through it as quick as I can – 

After I finished up school I hopped on a plane and headed straight for the bright lights of London. For a farm-girl, I sure did love the lure of the city. Having never been anywhere bigger than Joburg, it was a wild moment of ‘jump now, think later’, luckily it worked out! I spent 10 months working as an au pair – rent and food covered #livingthedream.

Once my ‘gap yah’ was done, I found myself on the edge of a three year stint in Cape Town that involved much trekking up and down the mountain (who builds a university on a mountain any way?) I studied English Lit and Interactive Media (a fancy name for a bit of a skim and skate over what is more commonly known as ‘web design’.) University was pretty spectacular, but during my time there I found myself in a long-distance relationship with a guy I’d known since I was 14 (queue the ‘oohs and aahs’).

A month after we started dating he packed up and headed for London. Talk about timing! Long-distance is no walk in the park and definitely not for everyone, but if it’s your only option you learn how to make it work. For two years we spent hours upon hours on skype, and luckily my long holidays meant I could spend two summers in London. I would have loved to have him around all the time, but that’s not the story God wrote for us. Given OUR dating story ended with a chaotic (but utterly wonderful) two-day wedding, punctuated by the biggest and loudest thunder storm (in which our reception tent nearly blew away, G tripped over the main power cable and plunged all 160 of us into darkness and everyone who was camping over night got a bit soaked) I’d say it turned out alright. And I couldn’t think of a better person I’d want to spend forever (and ever amen) doing life alongside. 
After that I found myself back in London where I started working at an advertising agency as a design intern. ‘How did you end up being a writer?’ I hear you asking. Well my friends, that is a question only Jesus really knows the answer to, but to summarize – I was a terrible designer. Yep. I said it. I must have been at the very bottom of the barrel. Luckily, my agency offered me the chance to try copywriting and it was love at first… word. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.


After waxing lyrical for two years about everything from coffee (hello Nescafé fans), flights, cars (I know a whole lot more about Peugeot than your average 20-something female), skincare (isn’t it every advertiser’s dream to work on Dove?), seasonal veg, electricity and ice cream, I decided to take the leap and run head-long into a life of freelance copywriting and creative consulting.

Welcome to the world of flexible working, chasing payments and endless recruiter phone calls. No, I’m kidding, freelance is not bad. In fact it’s actually glorious. Except for the chasing payments bit (can everyone just pay us on time please?) I’ve spent the last two years (hip)hopping my way from one agency to the next, skittering in and out of small businesses, crafting words for photographers and fitness brands, being the business-partner-you-never-had to small businesses who need a sounding board and a fresh eye. It definitely has it’s cons. Not everything about freelance is easy-breezy, fancy-free, but if you’re sensible and hard-working it’s not just doable, it’s the best. And the pros, when they work (like choosing your clients and jobs and taking extra time off) are wonderful.

People often ask me how I find work as a freelancer, how do we get on in the industry. And my answer is pretty much the same as if someone asked me how to do life – just be really nice to everyone you meet. People will remember what you were like to work with before they remember the work you did. Make sure you do something you’re still going to love doing even on the bad days. And have good people around you, because they’re what makes life magic.

Find Emma on emmajwhiley.moonfruit.com

If you're keen on sharing your story with me, pop me a mail on hello@jessica-anne.co.za and we can chat.

XO, Jess

My Guide to a Good Facial Routine

Beauty products seem like an endless wave of options. It can be overwhelming to choose the right ones. I'm a little product obsessed, to be honest. I love the feeling of my skin after it's just been cleansed and moisturized. I struggle to fall asleep if I don't wash my face or start my day without my skin routine.

So what's the secret? I always say, what you put in, will come out. If you eat junk, your skin will show it. Trust me, I know! Salt & Vinegar chips are my guilty pleasure and my skin always pays. Drinking loads of water and eating well will do your skin wonders! Going to bed with your make-up on will leave your pores clogged, think about it... Your skin isn't able to breathe all day with makeup on and then it can't repair at night if you don't wash it off. Wearing makeup products with natural ingredients will help your skin in a big way! I like to use an oil base makeup remover, micellar water is also great for double cleansing!

So what does a good skin routine include:

  • A good cleanser. Stay away from chemicals and products that contain alcohol, they will leave your feeling dry and damaged. I like using all-natural products with ingredients that enhance the skin's natural process. 
  • A toner, alcohol-free. This prepares your skin for moisturizing and gets rid of any excess oil and grime your cleanser doesn't get to.
  • A moisturizer that leaves your skin hydrated and not oily. Using natural products will help with your skin's natural process and won't leave it dry or oily. 

Masks and serums are added luxuries in my opinion. I love using them because they feel like a luxury for my skin. I use Aesop's Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask and Parsley Seed Antioxidant Serum. 

There are so many great products on the market. Make sure you cleanse, tone and moisturize every morning and evening to keep your skin looking radiant and healthy.

Don't forget to look after your body on the inside too, your skin will reward you. (I'm preaching to myself here.) Chat soon!

XO, Jess

 

Starting Out

Starting my business has been one of the craziest rollercoaster rides I've ever been on, and I don't want to get off!

The hardest part (and still is hugely challenging) was creating a strong brand identity. What did I want my business to stand for? What did I want it to look like? What did I want people to talk about? These were all things I asked myself and continue to ask. 

Starting a clothing line amongst the other thousands of clothing lines is a challenge in itself. How will I stand out from the rest? Why will people buy from me and not someone else? Thoughts like this flooded my mind as I began. 

I realized that I had one defining thing that would make me stand out from the rest... ME.

My personality, my personal style and the way I live my life are all unique and different to any other human on the planet. How amazing is it that no human on the face of the earth is the same. We are all uniquely different, so why not embrace that?! Especially as an entrepreneur! 

I'm still figuring out how to best reflect 'me' though my business but I'm off to a start and if you're wondering how to start. You have to just simply, start. Wherever you are, whatever crazy thoughts you're wondering, all you have to do is take the first step. It doesn't mean you have to have it all figured out, hell, I sure don't. No-one else is YOU, so take the step of faith and believe you can do it.

XO, Jess

 

Pictures by Anna-bell Durrant

#entrepreneurswelove | Part 3

It is such an honor to have Jasmine Star on the blog today because not only has she been an amazing business mentor to me but she's also an inspiring entrepreneur to SO many. She shares success stories and failures through her blog and many other platforms like YouTube and online courses. It takes a big heart to be able to do what she does and I can definitely say she's changed the way I run my business. 

So yes, I'm a big fan and if you hang around a little longer I'm sure you will be too. Jasmine is a marketing and branding strategist amongst other things and she speaks at conferences all over the world. She's also one of the best wedding photographers out there, she dropped out of law school and decided she wanted to be a photographer. Through her commitment and creativity, she's won awards for her work and was named in the top 10 wedding photographers in the world.

I asked her a couple questions that I thought would be helpful to us, you're in for a treat.

Jess: What would be the number one thing you find most entrepreneurs struggle with?

Jasmine: Taking risks is the hardest thing to embrace because it goes against what we crave as humans:  safety.  We crave assurance and the ability to feel secure, but as a business owner, that is a rarity.  The struggle between constant innovation, growth, and safe guards against failure are at odds with each other, but the faster we can embrace this tenuous balance, the better off we'll be.

JA: You have such a successful business, how do you continue to stay on top of your game?

JSTAR: I really focus on two things to stay on top of my game:  1. Building a strong brand; and 2. Reinvention.  When you have a strong brand, people know what to expect, know how to talk about your business with others (essentially becoming your marketing team), and become loyal fans.  This is essential for growing a profitable business.  Secondly, it's important to try new things, make mistakes, and learn quicker than your competition.  Reinvention of your ideas is the best way to make this happen.

JA: We all know having a balanced lifestyle is important, how do you find the balance?

JSTAR: I find balance by self-care.  I ensure my health and wellness are my top priority.  But it wasn't always like this.

Two years ago, I couldn't stand straight without feeling pain in my lower back.  In fact, it felt like a stab of fire in my spine.  After seeing specialists, chiropractors, and enduring physical therapy, my husband (and business partner) signed me up for a hot yoga class.  He gave me a week membership in a small white envelope.  Just try it, he whispered as he slid it across the table to me.  Begrudgingly, I went.  After 14 minutes, I wanted to die.  I was hot, sweating profusely, and wanted to crawl out for fresh air.  (I also wanted to punch the instructor in the face for being so calm and peaceful while I was certainly close to death, but let's not chat about that, m'kay?)

I completed that week hot yoga because I was desperate for relief...and I haven't stopped going.  I practice yoga every day and my back pain has alleviated beyond my wildest imagination.

In the past two years, I've committed to seeing an acupuncturist twice a month, a chiropractor twice a month, and practice yoga every day.

JA: What would you say to your younger self now that you have built your business?

JSTAR: "You'll be okay.  Trust your gut.  Never look back.  It'll all be worth it."

JA: On a fashion note... What is your favorite thing in your wardrobe at the moment? I love your style so much!

JSTAR: I can't live without my tattered jeans.  I love a good pair of jeans covered in holes and patches!

Thanks so much for sharing with us Jasmine! You can find her website here.

Chat soon.

XO, Jess

Working From Home | Schedule

Hey friends! It has been freezing cold here in Jo'burg and all I've wanted to do is curl up in my bed and only come up to sip my hot chocolate. 

Working from home can have its ups and downs. Some days I wake up, energized, skip to my office and climb into my emails. Other days I feel the opposite and have to scout a good coffee shop with plug points, wifi, ambiance and good coffee... does that even exist? I have a few favorites that do match up to most of those things! Wolves in Illovo has just been revamped and it's feeling great to go there again! The Whippet is a cool spot too although, can get a little noisy over lunch time. Father coffee has a great flat white and I love the decor.

I think it's key to change up your work environment, especially if you're a creative like me. Being around people can also help you feel like you're not all alone, even when you usually are. There's also great co-working spaces that I know some people love! I'm not the biggest fan because I don't get as much work done and end up chatting to people for half the time, and I have to pay for it!

Routine has also worked wonders for me. Below is an example of how I plan my day. I hope it helps you plan yours better.

6:00am Wake Up (Quiet time and Coffee)

7:00am Emails

7:15am Gym

8:30am Get ready for day + Eat

9:45am Prep social media updates

10:00am Admin and prep parcels

10:45am Run around admin  

11:15am Creative time

12:15pm Lunch

1:15pm Meetings

2:15pm Meetings

4:15pm Check in with social media/emails

4:45pm Prep for seamstress/samples

6:30pm Dinner  

7:30pm Shower/bath and read

8:00pm Watch Series, have a glass of wine  

I would love some 'working from home' recommendations if you have any?

Chat soon.

XO, JESS

 

Photos by Claire Gruver

#entrepreneurswelove | Part 2 

This series is dedicated to all you girl bosses sticking it out as business owners, or juggling jobs in order to do your dream job… Or, you sitting there at your desk at work dreaming, wishing you could quit your job.

This week’s feature is the crazy, wonderful Anna-belle Durrant. Amongst many things she is inspiring young entrepreneurs, like me, to go for gold and never give up. She’s a photographer, influencer, blogger, creative (the list goes on) that loves creating quirky, interesting projects. 

Anna-belle worked in advertising for a while before deciding she wanted to do her own thing. (We’re all so glad she did.) It seems like the scariest thing to quit your job and follow your dreams yet it can be the most satisfying. Yes, the steady paycheck at the end of the month is great but who said following your dreams didn't require a little sacrifice? Or a big one. Keeping your head above water can be tiresome and lonely.

One thing I love about Anna-belle is that she works hard and she doesn't give up… oh, wait that’s two things, whoops! I asked her a couple of questions about being a business owner, read on.

Jess: You’re such an inspiring, young business owner. What would you say is the biggest thing that helps you stay motivated?

Anna-belle: It always freaks me out a little when people say I'm inspiring, I feel like I'm just like everyone else, just trying to find my way through the world! I think the thing that keeps me most motivated is the fear of failure… it may sound a little silly but I really really don't want to fail… so I just have to keep working! 

J: Where’s your favourite place to work and why? 

AB: I really love working from Nomads and Co but my favourite spot of all time is at my desk in my study at home. I love working there because I feel 100% comfortable… and the fridge is always nearby for snacks! But seriously, I have to be comfortable when I work! 

J: What do you think is the biggest struggle as an entrepreneur? 

AB: People don't realize how lonely it can be, somedays I sit at home alone without seeing or speaking to anyone, and then, of course, there will always be times when things go wrong and no one will really understand what it's like. So ya, if you're starting your own thing be prepared to spend a whole lot of time on your own! 

J: Where do you find your main source of inspiration?

AB: I'm inspired by so much all the time, it can actually be a little distracting heheh. I love flicking through Instagram and Pinterest! It's amazing that we have so much inspiration at our fingertips nowadays, it wasn't like that not too long ago! 

J: What’s your favorite piece of clothing at the moment? 

AB: I’m really loving my mom jeans from Top Shop... they are super old but they fit just right...I think they will be my favs for a while! 

Thanks so much Anna for your time and for helping us girl bosses feel like we’re not all alone. Check out her website here.

Chat soon.

XO, Jess

#entrepreneurswelove | Part 1

Picture by Nadia Meli

I find that seeking inspiration can be hard to maintain at times and being an entrepreneur gets lonely… Especially when you’re just starting out! I chatted to a couple of my favorite entrepreneurs and I'm so excited about this series, these ladies have inspired me a great deal and I just know they will inspire you too.

First up is the lovely Nina Clark, I asked her to tell us a bit about her journey and you're in for a treat, she's a brilliant writer too!

Nina:

I am a born and bred Pretoria girl, but Cape Town stole my heart when I studied at UCT, and I later moved to the Mother City for a few years before settling down in London.

I studied a Business Science Marketing & Economics and started my career at Procter & Gamble in Joburg, working on big global brands such as Gillette, Old Spice, Oral B and Always. I managed every brand’s TV campaigns, Print advertorials, PR strategy, in-store promotions, social media strategies, you name it.

From there, I moved to Cape Town- got married, moved into what is to this day my favourite place on earth: our flat in Sea Point, and kicked off my 2-year stint at Bos Ice Tea where I focused mainly on trade marketing.

Pete and I decided to move to London to make the most of travelling (which we do- the amount of Starbucks mugs in our kitchen cupboards bought at all the cities we have visited in the past two years, are testament to that!!), get great work experience in the most globalised city in the world, and just generally embark on an adventure.

I worked at a fantastic little soft drinks company when we first moved to London (where, among other things, I managed the partnership with the brand and BFC London Fashion Week) but after it went belly-up quite suddenly, I decided this is the time to do my own thing. I’ve put a little blurb about Nightire here which tells the rest of the story:

Nightire was born out of a personal quest to understand sleep, and all that it entails, a bit better. Like many women I know, I have this thing called can’t-always-shut-my-brain-off-to-go-to-sleep syndrome. I overthink everything and am that person who constantly makes lists in my head and who worries about things that I can't change; all while lying in bed at night waiting for sleep to set in. This led to my years of insomnia. I began doing research into what could help a person sleep better and tried to apply it in my nightly routine: using black-out blinds, taking a relaxing bath, using no screens in the room (i.e. goodbye to Insta-sessions right before bed), and trying anything I could to keep my body temperature on an even keel. That included buying the right sleepwear, which, in turn, got me to focus on an industry that seemed like it had a lot of room for innovation (and a bit more personality) which is how the idea for Nightire came about. And now I sleep like a baby:) 

Jess: Building a business is so tough. How do you stay motivated?

Nina: Working for oneself is actually the most motivating situation anyone can ask for, in my opinion. No-one is going to do anything for you- the buck stops with you so not giving your all is not an option as you are just shooting yourself in the foot. 

I also think it’s so important to really believe in your WHY, and the ‘why’ has to be something other than money or recognition or success, because on the bad days, when there aren’t any of these factors to keep you going, you need that WHY to keep you motivated. 

J:  What’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur in London and why?

N: London is the MOST incredible city for entrepreneurs. I don’t frequent them as much anymore (because I hope I’ve now learnt enough) but you can literally go to a masterclass/ free lecture/ networking session/ workshop every day of the week if you want. There is so much opportunity for an entrepreneur to get help from government institutions as well- free helplines and forums and trade advisors who you can literally call whenever or ask for a coffee to sit down and discuss burning questions that you might have on tax, exporting, website do’s and don’ts, you name it. It’s also a city bursting with young entrepreneurs, so while you’re just sitting in a coffee shop on any given day, you might make some worthy contacts just by being friendly to the person sitting next to you. The contacts you can make here are so valuable, and I’m often surprised (in such a big, busy city) how many kind people there are that are willing to share their expertise with a small start-up like me. 

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J: What’s your biggest piece of marketing advice for young entrepreneurs starting a small business?

N: If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. When things feel impossibly hard, remember that it’s supposed to be a challenge, and relish that fact- that you are lucky enough to be in a situation where you can work on your passion project, you can build something for yourself where the pay check at the end of the month comes only from your hard work and perseverance. People have done it before you with much less resources and support, and have made multi million dollar empires out of that, so there’s nothing stopping you. 

When it all feels a bit much, because your brand can feel like your baby and it sometimes consumes you, chill, go to sleep, and tomorrow all will be better. 

However, if you don’t know where to start, or just need some help down the line to get your brand vision back on track, get in touch with me:) I’m currently offering my services to small businesses on the marketing & branding front, where I will put together a brand strategy for your product. This will include everything from creating a solid vision and mission, to hashing out the brand identity, target market, product definitions (what value does your service or product add), and what marketing touchpoints are necessary to get your brand message out there. 

J: I love your style so much, what’s your favorite thing to wear in Spring?

N: Thank you! 3/4, flowy skirts that cinch in at the waist and come down to mid-calf. It’s old-school elegance at it’s best, and perfect for the dodgy UK weather, where you really can experience 4 seasons in one day! 

J: What is your go-to source of inspiration or do you have many?

N: I’ve got many, but mostly it’s just being around people (loooove people-watching too much). People are why we do what we do (create services and products to serve them), so we need to understand their needs, their routines, their likes & dislikes and what makes them tick. 

Thanks so much Nina for your time and sharing a little of your story with us. Find her website here.

Sharing more #entrepreneurswelove soon.

XO, Jess

 

Top image by Nadia Meli