Haylene De Jager – Tulips & Tea

– United In Birth Interview Series by Rose Garnet Photography –

I had the pleasure to interview the lovely Haylene De Jager from Tulips & Tea. Haylene is the amazing entrepreneur behind the ever so trendy and popular baby wraps and accessories.

Haylene De Jager

1) Firstly, we would like to meet the face behind your business.  Please tell us about yourself.

I am Haylene, I am a financial planner by day and an entrepreneur by night. I am 28 years old, Tulips & Tea is my baby and I love it! I grew up in the winelands are of Cape Town and spent most of my life there until last year. Upon marring my amazing husband last year, we moved to the beautiful town Hartenbos, and are living here since. We love it here in the ‘fast-growing’ garden route. Furthermore, I have always been a hardworking go-getter. I have a passion for business, but I also love the simple things in life, I appreciate anything beautiful and enjoy good food and good wine.

2) Describe your business and what services/products do you provide.

Tulips & Tea is for the trendy parent. We have 4 products, with our focus on baby wearing. Our vision is to be the best in what we do, therefore we focus our attention on just a few products. We are making it our mission to produce locally sourced, proudly South African goods that are handmade to generate work for the local community. Quality over quantity! Our baby wrap carriers are known by parents’ country wide for their outstanding quality. We have just launched our NEOGEN Travel System cover with a two-way zip for easy, but controlled access. It is the first of its kind in S-A!

3) Where are you based and what area do you service? Do you have a shop/office?

We have an online shop (www.tulipsandtea.co.za) and our products are stocked by 52 baby boutiques all over South Africa.

4) Who is your ideal target market?

The trendy parent looking for a product with a luxurious look-and-feel. New born to 4 years old.

5)When did you start your business?

I sewed my first Tulips & Tea label on a baby wrap in February 2017.

6) What inspired you to start your business?

My mother was in the textile and sewing industry for almost 40 years. I used her knowledge and my passion as the power to succeed.

7) How did you come up with the name for your business?

I don’t know. I do not even like tea! 

8) What was it like starting out?

Very rough in terms of cash flow. If I did not have my full-time job as a financial planner that funded my hobby (now Tulips & Tea) there would have been no way. My heart for Tulips & Tea was always pure, as it was my hobby, without hidden agendas, and I guess that’s why it just happened. When things need to work out, it does. And it you put your heart and sole into it, you have done your part. 

9) Can you describe/outline your typical day?

I have two extreme different jobs, one profoundly serious and stressful and the other creative and excited about the journey of new life! Depending on my mood, I am fortunate to spend my time on the side that I need on that day, or the side that needs me most on the specific day. Both my office and my workshop is from our home, so I just run between the two.

Since 1 September 2020 Tulips & Tea has a manager who is taking a lot off my plate, but in a nutshell I liase with our stockiest and clients ordering on our online shop. I still sew every item myself at night, we pack parcels in the day. Marketing takes a lot of my day as it takes time to create content.

Most of my day consist of serving my clients financial portfolio’s and assisting them with whatever need they might have.

10) What is unique about your business?

Every item is hand made by myself and nothing is imported. Everything is sourced locally, proudly South African.

11) What is your biggest achievement/proudest moment in your career?

To be able to give is success to me.

12) What has so far been your biggest challenge in this line of work and what did you learn from it?

Cashflow starting out and formulating good marketing strategies. As mentioned earlier, luckily, I had a second income which was enough to fund my hobby. Financial planning is my line of work, so I just had to implement what I know about cash flow management and what I teach my clients. What I learnt was that if someone cannot afford to buy your products to stock in their shop, they have a cash flow problem themselves, and you most likely, do not want your products in their shop, as they do not know how to sell and run a business.

I did my BCom Honors in business management- and marketing management, but still marketing was a challenge for me. It takes hours to create content and to formulate a plan that will work, having so many platform is amazing, but a lot of work.

13) How has your business affected your family life and did you have to make any big sacrifices for your career?

Both my husband and I work really hard, as long as you stay on the same page and understand the mutual goal, I guess it is okey. There are many sacrifices, but mostly sleep. (haha) I have always been juggling both businesses for 4 years now, but we have experienced a tremendous increase in sales since April this year, which I am exceptionally thankful for. Since the increase of sales I decided to take the leap of faith and appointed a manager for Tulips & Tea. I am truly fortunate that I could do this and now I can cook for my husband again! YES!

14) What would you say are important personality traits and skills to flourish in this particular industry?

The baby industry is incredibly competitive. You must be willing to do what others are not willing to do. It depends on how bad you want it. If your dreams are worth more than sleep then you are on the right track. 

15) If you had the chance to start your business over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing.

16) Where would you like to be in 5-10 years from now?

Honestly, my husband and I just want to be happy and healthy. That is success to me, as cheesy as it sounds.

17) Name and answer three (3) questions that you get asked by clients the MOST in your line of work.

A) How do I order? Order on www.tulipsandtea.co.za

B) How long does delivery take? 3- 5 working days

C) How do I wrap the Tulips & Tea baby wrap carrier? All our instructions are on www.tulipsandtea.co.za, they are downloadable and printable.

18) If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out on their own, what would it be?

Do not wait till everything is perfect, do not borrow money. Start small, sell to the people around you, just start. It will grow with you. You don’t know enough when you start out, it is a risk to have too many funds to your disposal.  

Follow & support Haylene on social media or reach out to her for more info:

Website: www.tulipsandtea.co.za

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TandT.trendytextiles/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tulipstea/?hl=en