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A young driven primary teacher hustles a new venture and makes a difference in our communities!

Updated: Jul 3, 2021

We are so excited to be working with this entrepreneurial young teacher, Lauren van der Valk. We are a place of creative and self employed women and love to support ladies with drive and passion like her.

“I am still in the beginning stages of my business, have started selling my products online through my website and at some local markets in Cape Town. Because I am a teacher as well, I am trying to find a balance between school and starting my own business but I am very excited about it all! Having my own business is something I never thought I would do”, Lauren says. The word Mooi chosen for her company's name means beautiful in Afrikaans, her second language.

Lauren came across Yes We Can South Africa Foundation through a Facebook group called Future Females, a hub for women looking to start, connect and grow their own businesses and needing advice or recommendations.

Our seamstress Maria Magaya has been given a chance to prove herself once again by making new products for this start-up. Since this collaboration, both Maria and Lauren have worked closely together when it comes to sewing and making the new designs for her items. Lauren creates the products in her mind, draws them for Maria, and provides us with her own fabric. The colour scheme is a mix of soft pastel shades along with a natural floral look, which includes the South African national flower, the Protea, which has been stated represents the “flowering of our potential as a nation in pursuit of the African Renaissance!" Her classy collection includes cushion covers, satin pillowcases, shopping bags, pencil cases, aprons with matching oven gloves and masks, the style is all Laurens'. Mooi!

To prevent and to make double sure no fabric is wasted, all the materials are cut in such a way that the leftovers are used to make masks and hair bands – Maria learned how to sew the scrunchies by looking it up on a Youtube tutorial as she had never made them before and as is so often said, we can do anything we put our minds to and since she wants to continue to grow she had the interest to look it up and master them by now!

Once a sale is made, Lauren wraps the items and places a beautiful paper Mooi Gifts sticker on each parcel. The sale price for each product is affordable and Yes We Can South Africa Foundation does not feel exploited for which we thank Lauren.

We are so happy to be collaborating with this dynamic 30 year old self made business woman who teaches grades 6 and 7 History and Project Based Learning at a private school in Cape Town. She teaches in the mornings, tutors in the afternoons and has now started her own company working during the evenings and has chosen us to be her seamstress to fulfil her dream and contribute to support a black woman uplift her life and for us to be supporting a teacher with her goals and at the same time generating income to our organisation!

Maria has made this all happen for herself and is a very conscientious person, so before providing a finished product of a new design given to her, she will make up a sample from fabric donated to us from big South African retailers and present it to Lauren to ensure the measurements and look have been perfected! Once this has been given the green light, she then uses the material provided by Lauren to make the quantity that has been placed. Both Maria (who created Personal Protection Equipment outfits) and Lauren each pose as the models on social media of the businesses!

Maria has also been given great exposure with her handmade boutique items on the Internet and feels that she is a part of Mooi’s success going forward and we hope that the business will be a GREAT one! We are sure of that, actually!It is already!

“I was so surprised to see all the products I have made on MooiGifts Facebook and Instagram pages and it gives me hope that Yes We Can is growing more and more. Mila, our founder, and I can’t wait to do more things as we learn day by day”, shares Maria with pride.

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