Bee Festive Blog
Hive highlights ft. eSJay Artistry
Welcome to our Hive Highlights weekly blog. We are excited to showcase the amazing and unique products of local South African brands, created by passionate and creative individuals like eSJay. At Hive Highlights, we strongly believe in supporting local businesses as it not only helps boost our economy but also promotes the exceptional talent and craftsmanship that exists within our country.
Every week, we'll introduce you to a new brand, sharing their story and what makes them special. We'll explore how you can support them and be a part of their journey. Join us on this exciting adventure as we discover some of the best local brands in South Africa!
This week, we're thrilled to feature Sarah Martin, owner of eSJay Artistry. Sarah is a former Audiologist and Speech Therapist turned full-time artist and creative. Her brand offers custom artwork, commissioned paintings, prints, and original paintings. What sets eSJay Artistry apart is their focus on limited run, custom, and commissioned work, making most items to order. In this interview, Sarah shares how her passion for creating custom painted shoes inspired her to start her own business. She also talks about the challenges she faced as a local brand and how she overcame them. Sarah emphasizes the importance of supporting local brands and artists by liking, sharing, and commenting on their work. She draws inspiration from the strong women in her family and encourages others to keep pushing and surround themselves with a good support system when starting their own business.
Hi Sarah, from eSJay Aristry:
Tell me a bit about yourself:
My name is Sarah Martin and I am the owner of eSJay Artistry. I have a background in Audiology and Speech Therapy but made the move to become a fulltime artist and creative in 2021. Being mom to my magic, feisty girl, Robin has been the biggest privilege and to be able to do work that feeds my soul and that makes me happy is all I can ask for.
What inspired you to create this brand?
It all started with a pair of shoes.
When I got married, I wanted to have a pair of custom painted shoes with something on them that was special to my husband and my story. The problem was I couldn’t find anyone to do it for me. So, I ended up painting them myself. The feeling I got walking down the aisle in those special shoes, gave me such joy. I then realised that I wanted to be able to give others that feeling too - there was a gap for someone to do unusual, custom artwork. That’s how eSJay Artistry was born. I have always loved creating, so when I was looking to make a career change, I wanted to be able to do that every day. I absolutely love helping others tell their story and/or helping create special memories through my custom pieces or commissioned art.
Can you tell me about the products you offer and what sets them apart from similar products on the market?
eSJay Artisty specialises in custom work, whether is something special for a wedding/baby shower/event like seating charts, guestbooks and favours, to custom painted bridal shoes. We also place a large emphasis on commissioned artwork and paintings as well as prints and original paintings.
So don’t be surprised if you pop over to our website shop and don’t find much to purchase off the shelf. We focus more on limited run, custom and commissioned work and make most things to order. We do also have a series of gift cards which is called the ‘Heralding Hadeda’ which is just a bit of uniquely South African fun.
What is the story behind the name of your brand?
The story behind eSJay Artistry is a simple one. It’s based on my name – my initials are SJ, so it is really just a play on that.
Are your products handmade or locally sourced?
All pieces are created by hand and generally made using materials sourced from local suppliers.
What are your values as a brand and how do they reflect in your products?
eSjay Artistry puts a huge emphasis on creating special pieces that are made to a high quality and standard. We value good communication with our clients
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a local brand, and how did you overcome it?
For me, the biggest challenge was having to wear many caps. I am not only the artist… I also have to be a marketer, a photographer, accountant, admin person etc. How do you overcome that? Well, I upskilled in some areas and then started outsourcing for other things. You can’t necessarily do everything yourself and once you are able, to shift some of that load will help free up more time and energy to focus on other things that may play more to your strengths.
How can consumers best support your brand and the local community?
In order to support local brands and artists, you don’t even have to purchase anything. Liking, sharing and commenting on our posts/work/pages goes a long way to reach new people and help our businesses grow.
Who is someone that inspires you?
All the strong women in my family inspire me. When things get tough, I remember that I come from a long line of formidable women.
What is your favourite song?
I have so many songs that I love but my favourite at the moment is ‘Big Love, Small Moments’ by JJ Heller
What do you love most about South Africa?
Gosh, this is the hard question. There is so much to love. I think it is our people though. We are resilient, warm and are drawn to connect with others.
Is there anything you could say to someone wanting to start their own business?
Starting your own business is hard and it take a lot of courage. My biggest advice is to keep pushing, even if you make mistakes, keep showing up. Also surround yourself with a good support system.
In conclusion, eSJay Artistry is a brand that values creating unique, custom pieces with a focus on high quality and good communication with clients. Sarah's passion for art and creating special memories for others is evident in every piece she produces. Supporting local businesses like eSJay Artistry is essential in promoting the talent and craftsmanship that exists within our country. So, whether you're in need of custom artwork, a unique gift, or simply want to support a local artist, head over to Bee Festive - Esjay Artistry page and discover the magic that Sarah can create.
We appreciate your continued support as we showcase some of the best local brands in South Africa on the third edition of Hive Highlights. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us!
See you next week! Have a Bee-autiful day!