How many times has this happened to you: You have found the perfect bedding set, table cloth, t-shirt in a retail store, but wish you could change that one little thing. It is this need for customisation that has driven graphic designer, Chantelle Venter, owner of Lemon Cube Designs, to expand her business portfolio to offer custom fabric printing and, now, with the roll-out of Funky Bugz, custom end product manufacturing too.
Venter says that she always knew she wanted to work from home and with the birth of her little girl she took the leap
and hasn’t looked back since. “Word of mouth has been my most significant marketing advantage, and I haven’t done any paid-for advertising for Lemoncube Designs since I opened the business,” adds Venter, saying that with the influx of quasi-professional web designers because of sites like Joomla and WordPress her work has become undervalued in the market place with customers often not understanding what they are paying for. This forced her to innovate.
South Africa has a thriving cloth nappy industry, with working-from-home moms importing fabric from the US to manufacture reusable modern cloth nappies and sell them to their local customer base. Venter, who uses cloth nappies on her own child, recognised the opportunity and opened LCD PrintWorx.
“I absolutely cannot stand when a local industry does not have its own unique identity. I wanted to give South African cloth nappy producers the opportunity to access custom prints locally and produce nappies that are not at all reliant on what international suppliers are doing,” she explains.
Venter says from there it was almost a natural next step to start the manufacturing of end-user products for direct sale with the fabric LCD custom prints. The desire to keep LCD PrintWorx a supplier, separate from the manufacturing, led to the opening of Funky Bugz. “I work with seamstresses and we can literally make anything a client might want. We also occasionally have ready-made items for sale depending on what some of the seamstresses I work with, who also run their own businesses, have time for,” says Venter.
A popular Funky Bugz product has been custom-printed scatter cushions. Whether you have a pretty scene you want to liven up in your living room, or maybe gorgeous family pictures or a new birth you want to commemorate, Venter says anything can be made to suit your unique needs.
Young moms will agree that it seems Venter has a sweet deal going: As a young businesswoman and mom being able to work from a home-based office is an ideal for many.
What does Venter chalk up as her greatest business lesson learned and best advice received?
“You should never expect that others will work in your business with the passion and love you do. They do not have the same amount of care and time invested. I’ve also learned that diversifying, not putting all of your eggs in one basket, really has been something that has held me in good stead.”
WIN WIN WIN
Funky Bugz, in collaboration with HomeTimes, is offering one lucky reader the chance to win a custom-designed set of scatter cushions and a metre of twill material in a matching design, valued at over R1,000 to give your space a make-over in time for the festive season. Check the HomeTimes Facebook page for more details.