I remember as a little girl swimming in our backyard pool pretending to the best of my ability that I was mermaid. I would put on my flippers and swim like a mermaid as well as I could trying to keep my legs together while moving through the water. These games kept me busy for hours. Dreaming up a world of wonder without end. How I wished that in the water I could grow a tail. But what seemed impossible in those days has become reality for so many little girls here in South Africa.
Meagan Holmes – Fantasy finz
Meagan Holmes is a 24 year old women, wife and Mother-to-be (in just one week!). She owns, manages and runs a sewing business from home that brings the fantasies and imaginations of girls and boys to life.
Fantasy finz (the name of her business) manufactures children’s dress up wear all from her small home in Centurion, South Africa. Mermaid tails (that can be worn in the pool), princess capes, princess dresses and many more are sparking excitement in children that can scarcely be imagined. They get to become their fairytale heroes with almost the wave of a wand.
I was inspired by how committed she is to what she is passionate about and to see how her business has grown. She has proved herself to be a creative, headstrong and independent woman. But believe me when I say, a lot of work goes into what she does.
I asked if she would agree to be the first of The Wo/anderers Dialogue series and thankfully she agreed! So over the sound of my ridiculously loud fridge and unfortunately not a cup of tea in sight I asked her to tell me about herself, her business, why she does it and any other advice she feels could help motivate and inspire any upcoming creatives.
Cathy: Tell me about yourself and the passion behind your business?
Meagan: I am passionate about sewing, and about children’s wear and at present I am trying to build up as many products as I can for children to dress up, to have fun, to be creative and stretch their imaginations. So that is where my passions lie, with sewing, designing and inspiring fun in children.
Cathy: How did your business come about? How, why, when? What was the process?
Meagan: As soon as I finished my 3 years of varsity a friend of mine approached me and explained that her daughter really, really wanted to be a mermaid. She had seen mermaid tails in America that could be used in the pool (IN THE POOL!) that had cost over R1500. She said she knew I could work with the industrial machines necessary to work with the type of material and that I already had enough sewing knowledge to do it. She asked can I please just make one for her daughter.
So I put together an idea for a mermaid tail template for her daughter and after I had made just the one she felt adamant that I make more and that this could really be a success. I then made 4 more and went to a market and sold all 4. Which was exciting. It then just so happened that my father, who owns a theatre company, put on The Little Mermaid. So I made another 20 and displayed them up at the December show in the foyer and before I knew it all 20 had sold and I had orders for more, so much that I couldn’t keep up.
Cathy: Did you make them by yourself?
Meagan: Yes it was just myself, in the beginning I struggled to trust others to make them so as I was just trying to keep up with orders I was staying up late at ight and then waking up early in the morning to travel to Lenchen Park as I didn’t have my own machines at the time. I would go there, make as many tails as I could and then come home an tack in the night, then cut out at home and the next day take another lot through back to Lenchen Park. And that’s how it was going.
And at that time I just thought “ok, this a once off thing, surely this can’t last forever” this is just a fad. Mermaids are in right now, and because I wasn’t making anything else except the mermaid tails I thought this would definitely die out. And now this is my fourth year doing it and this year I’ve added in whole lot of different dress up things. And the more I can figure out the better. Luckily I have lots of nieces and nephews that I can test things out on. So every Christmas I make them something and if they love it I start it up.
And so many of the things I make you just can’t find for children at an affordable price or they’re cheap junky china stuff and one of the biggest ideas behind all this is that everything is South African, Everything is locally sourced and produced and recently I’ve been able to employ local seamstresses so I’m providing income and experience.
Cathy: What is the best thing about what you do?
Meagan: I can work from home, I can work my own hours. I…. yoh, there’s so many things that make it awesome.
Meagan: No fixed income. It could be stressful if you have a slow week or month. And in my industry it’s all seasonal so in the first year I had to subsidies. I would sell the mermaid tails in summer cause I thought that was the only time I would sell. So I would sell them at markets in summer and then in winter I would paint murals for pre-schools, I sewed and worked for my parents, so a lot of the time I wasn’t even doing the tails. But as I started tackling markets full time. I didn’t say no to any markets, if I heard about a market I went and despite everything else I had added in terms of products the mermaid tails still sold the best. If there is a dip with the mermaid products I do have the other dress up wear to carry me a bit. But I have to be very prepared for the December season as that income can carry me through dips in the year. It’s when I put away money for savings and when I buy new machines and stock and just invest in the business. Whereas in March, April, May I’m just tryna stay a float, not really much investing.
Cathy: What advice do you have for any upcoming creatives wanting to start businesses?
Meagan: These days, I feel that you do not have to work for a boss, you do not have to have any formal training, if you are passionate enough about something and you have enough drive and perhaps a little bit of help from someone, that always helps, someone that believes it’s a good idea and can help support you in the beginning especially. For me it was my dad, he was always prepared to stand in and help if needed. He’s been very encouraging the whole time. I feel that there are so many opportunities for people to do their own thing and to make it.
I am so grateful to have been able to speak to Meagan about what she does and why she does it. I would just like to say a quick Thank you to her as she was so willing to share just a small piece of her journey.
I think too many starting creatives stress so much in the beginning about the process of becoming successful (which I guess is good to get us motivated at first) but we forget that it’s not going to be smooth sailing the whole way. We are going to have some hard times, hard decisions and sometimes we will need to ask for help. But these hard times don’t need to define the whole experience, as Meagan said, “if we are passionate about something and we have drive we can make it.”
Wo/andering is about dreaming, trying and committing through all the ups, down, ‘topsy’ roads and ‘turvy’ paths.
If you would like to contact Meagan, simply visit her facebook page by clicking here. If you have any children, nieces or nephews think about supporting Meagan, you’ll thank me later!
Please let me know if you feel someone in your family, social group or community is living with purpose towards their own goals and dreams.