It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make BIG things happen • John Wooden
Meet Annette Griesel. The absolutely lovely Momtrepreneur behind the delightful baby apparel and accessories brand, Little.
Chic and refined yet with a casual charm, Annette is beautiful, bright and tremendously talented. She’s a passionate entrepreneur who’s serious about quality and sincerely believes in the heart of supporting local.
Only using 100% natural & organic fabrics and water-based digital & screen printing techniques, all of Little’s collections are hand woven with love and care by South African weavers, the prints are hand drawn by local South African artists and all embroidery is proudly done by hand.
Little truly represents Local Made for Local Trade.
We are delighted to introduce to you the very inspiring entrepreneur and talent that is Annette Griesel.
So, what’s your story?
Where were you born?
Where did you go to school?
Reitz High School, from Pre-Primary all the way through to Matric.
Where and what did you study?
Biokinetics at Stellenbosch University.
What was your childhood dream?
To be a Wimbledon tennis player.
What was your first job?
My Biokinetics Internship.
Advice that shaped you career?
I’ve had quite a few, but I think for me it boils down to foucssing on your strenghts, finding a gap in the market and staying true to your brand.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Our 2 year old son…his 5 o’clock built in alarm never fails him, but on a serious note…my family does, they are my whole world.
What motivates you?
Creativity. When I have a new idea (weather it is a new design for Little or a room I want to revamp) I cannot go to sleep untill everything is drawn on a piece of paper (next to my bed) and thoroughly written down. I’m afraid I might forget some ideas while sleeping.
The excitement of creating something new motivates me.
How do you spend your down time?
My answer is the same as any moms’ “What down time?” I do like the cliché things like coffee shops with my friends and a date night with my husband.
We love Cape Town, so whenever I’m there, even if it is for business, it always feels like “downtime” to me.
What does success look like to you?
I think measuring success according to anyone else’s definition is setting yourself up for disappointment, success has nothing to do with money for me, because in business you’ll always have up and downs, to me success is seeing where I started and where Little is now.
Obviously I have dreams for the future of my business, but I’ll be very happy and feel very successful if my children and my husband can one day look back on my life and say I was a great mother and wife. If I leave behind a business that’s florishing, that would be a very nice bonus.
What sets you apart as an entrepreneur?
Staying true to what made my products unique in the very beginning, such as still doing all our embroidery by hand. I am also not afraid to bend a few business “rules” to make them fit in with what works for Little.
What are the valuable lessons you have learnt in business?
- Goedkoop koop is duur koop (an Afrikaans saying meaning you get what you pay for)
- Time is money.
- Never ever compromise on good quality. We are extremely proud of the materials and fabrics we use for all our Little products. The materials are very expensive to purchase, but their quality speaks for itself.
What makes a great entrepreneur?
- Always being a step ahead – there are a lot of copycats out there!
- Being able to accept that you cannot do everything and that you do have weaknesses (accounting is mine) and then deligating those “weaknesses” to people who’s strenght they are.
- If you want to take your business out of your garage and into the business world, you have to surround yourself with experts in their field and start to deligate, but LONG before you’ll be able to be in a position to deligate, you’ll have to do everything yourself and that requires work…
- Work very very very hard, and VERY long hours. If you like sleeping…you have a problem….the day after I opened Little’s flagship store, was the first weeknight in almost 2 and a half years that I went to bed before 12 at night!
- If you start from nothing and want to build a legitimate business, there are no shortcuts. Maybe if you’re very very lucky there might be one or two, but with all the work and all the years, comes valuable lessons and valuable networking connections that does NOT come with shortcuts.
Give me 3 words that describes you best?
What are your 3 biggest accomplishments in your career thus far?
- My first Mama Magic exhibition.
- Opening our oneline store about 3 years ago and
- Definitely opening our flagship store in Bloemfontein.
I wish I could tell my 22-year-old self:
A university degree is not the be all end all, you are stil SO young, don’t rush into starting to “work”
Your hidden talent:
I love assembling things and figuring them out, it gives me a weird sense of accomplishment.
What other creatives and entrepreneurs do you look up to?
I LOVE collaborations, so there are many creatives that I look up to so much, that I’d like to work with them.
In retail I love RAIN stores, that will be my ultimate dream for Little. If one woman from a small town like Swellendam can end up having stores overseas…the sky is the limit!
What is one characteristic that you believe every great entrepreneur should possess?
What advice would you give someone starting their own business?
I think finding a gap in the market is extremely important. Starting your own business means that no one is paying your salary at the end of the month. In fact, YOU will be responsible for other peoples salaries!
If you want to do what someone else is already doing, then buy a franchise. It’s tried and tested and way less risky. But if you want to start something brand new, I say GO FOR IT.
Surround yourself with people that encourage you and believes in you and be willing to work hard… The great thing about working hard at something you love is that there are many times that it doesn’t even feel like work at all.
- Colour: White
- Food: Ice Cream
- Drink: Woolies’s frosted latte
- Entrepreneur: Bev Missing (founder of RAIN) and locally I feel like Tony Peng is taking over the world.
- Band: Daughtry
- Actor/Actress: Sandra Bullock
- Brand: Clothes – Poetry, Shoes – Blu Betty
- Happy place: Any place where my husband is “braai-ing” and I can dance with him and my baby at the same time.
- Car: Mercedes
- If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why? This is one of that impossible questions to answer…. my list will keep me going for days, but I can tell you that I’m really looking forward to meeting God whenever it is my time to go home.
- Quote: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you know • Winnie the Pooh
- Book or Magazine: Sarie (I’m domesticated like that)
- Online inspiration: Jillian Harris….I adore her style.
- FJ Potgieter for Eye Poetry Photography
- Little at Preller Square