How often do you find yourself feeling guilty when throwing away beautiful birthday or greeting cards after the celebrations have come and gone? Umhlanga card-maker Mandy De Lange has created a stylish range of cards that can be framed and hung on the wall after they’ve been used.
Like many women, Umhlanga mother of four Mandy set aside her hopes for a career in interior design and fashion to have a family. Now she’s rekindled her creative streak by creating a range of stylish black and white cards, called La Haute Couture Cards, that serve more than one purpose.
“I always felt incredibly guilt when my family and loved ones bought me birthday cards that ended up in the recycle bin. That’s how I came up with the idea of creating a range of greeting cards that could be framed and used as part of your interior décor once it had served its initial purpose.”
Having always been passionate about interior design and fashion, Mandy says she was torn between her family and her career when she started having children.
“I knew I wanted many children and I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom to cater for their every need. At the time women weren’t really encouraged to pursue a career while raising children, so I decided to put my dreams on hold and become the mom I was so desperate to be.”
Needless to say becoming a mother didn’t diminish Mandy’s love for beautiful interiors and fashion. “The Durban July was the highlight of my year. I just loved seeing all the designs and admired how ambitious the designers were. I always had an itch and knew that when the time was right, I would pursue my creative side and do something for myself again.”
With her children now older (aged 20, 17, nine and eight) and less dependent on her, Mandy started creating her signature fashion-illustrations which she has turned into high-end greeting cards.
“I am totally obsessed with monochrome and this comes out in my work. My love for fashion is also apparent with sunglasses and handbags becoming a signature mark on all my illustrations. I love celebrating how amazing and powerful women are.”
The cards-come-artwork are elegant, fun and humorous and add a touch of affordable glamour to a birthday or celebration. Or, they can simply be framed as piece of art for your office or home. Mandy uses pencils and a sketch pad to create her illustrations and finishes them off with black sharpies, multi-liners and an artist pen. Once she’s done, Mandy then scans her illustrations and sends them off to the printers where the magic is created.
“I still get so excited when it’s time to collect my prints and see my work on a card or piece of art. I am so proud that I have achieved what was always a dream.”
Despite only starting her business in November last year, Mandy has been already been overwhelmed with support and interest, even being asked to custom design cards to stock at the Oyster Box Hotel. Most of her work is sold on social media and soon to be on her website. And they are affordable at just R70 for a standard A5 card with custom drawing available on request in different sizes including A4, A3 and A2.
When asked how she juggles being a mom of four and managing her new business, Mandy says she’s a professional multitasker!
“I am so grateful that my children are able to attend an excellent private school in Umhlanga that offers a number of extra mural activities, so I get to focus on my business and illustrations from 8am until 2pm most days. Once the kids have settled for the evening I may then get back into my illustrations.”
Since launching her business just five months ago, Mandy has already started a range of coffee cups and is currently working on gift, luggage and champagne tags as well as wrapping paper and stationery.
“I feel alive, happy and inspired and I hope to evoke a sense of power, beauty and sophistication in the women who receive them.”
Details: www.lahautecouturecards.co.za, [email protected], @lahautecouturecards
Text: Monique De Villiers-Delport