Supplier case studies
The heartfelt project - ethical wedding favours
Your name: Julie Masureik
Location: Makapanstad, South Africa
Tell us a bit about yourself and your business
Heartfelt was started when Martha Letsoalo's son Emanuel died unjustly in prison two years ago. Martha worked for my parents in South Africa and brought me up. She is like a mother to me and we both grieved Emanuel's death.
It made me realize that as a black woman from a rural community in South Africa you don't have a voice. There is so much heartache happening to women just like Martha that nobody knows about. Issues like unemployment, AIDS, poverty, TB, abuse and crime cause sadness amongst so many families.
I started Heartfelt as a way for Martha to heal her broken heart and somehow to start healing the hearts of the people who were suffering around her. It truly has been a labour of love.
What or who inspires you?
Martha. She is an incredibly strong woman who has achieved so much in her life through hard work and determination. I'm inspired by people who live with all their heart. Mahatma Ghandi once said ‘be the change you want to see in the world'.
What do you enjoy most about running your business?
I enjoy seeing the difference Heartfelt is making to the women who work there. They are being empowered by their work and are really proud to be part of it. There are now 10 women at the project.
I also love receiving messages from our customers when they receive their orders. It inspires us all to carry on.
What is the most challenging aspect?
Education. Trying to educate the ladies about consumers and how the business is run.
What do you feel you bring to an ethical wedding?
Well lots of love, that's for sure. The Heartfelt philosophy is to give out to the world what you want to get back - so our hearts are filled with love.
Our products are not only beautifully hand-sewn but they are also totally unique and make a huge difference to the lives of the women who make them.
How do you see the wedding industry changing over the next five years (if at all)?
I feel that the wedding industry at the moment has taken the whole emphasis off what a wedding really is about - love. It has become greedy.
I believe that more and more couples will start realising this and that the whole industry will start gearing towards ethical weddings where people will tailor-make their special day, feeling less guilty about the money that they spend because they are sharing the love.
I think people are going back to that ‘home-made' feel - where it really is about the bride and groom and their values.
Find out more about The heartfelt project - ethical wedding favours