When she came to a crossroad in her life she had to choose to either lay down or stand up and make things work. Today almost a year ago she can look back and say that she has made it.
If there is one thing Danielle Schutte has learned in life it is that where one door closes another one will open – you simply have to have faith and believe in yourself.
We chat to Danielle at her Greenstone residence about her brand new business venture ‘Made with Love’ and how it came about.
At the beginning of lockdown, Danielle being in the exhibition and shop fitting industry lost her entire income and a substantial amount of commission due to all of the exhibitions that were lined up for the year that were cancelled due to Covid-19.
Her hopes and dreams for the year were quickly erased and she was left with nothing.
After five months of not earning a salary and being a single mom she had to find a way to provide for her children and to live and as she said, there were many times when she really did not see a way out of a really terrible situation.
‘I was making the odd bit of money here and there, applied for many a jobs without any success,’ Danielle said.
‘Then one day I met with a friend of mine who asked me why I don’t start my own business. She re-enforced the fact that I have a certain talent and I have to admit, I honestly did not think it possible.
‘Thinking back, she sort of pushed me in the right direction because one day, going to an interview I simply turned around, took R18 from my purse and bought my first paint brush to start my own business.
‘That purchase, coupled with prayer when I took a leap of faith resulted in the establishment of ‘Made with Love’.
‘The business was truly born out of my love and talent for refurbishing old furniture and every piece of furniture we create or restore tells a story. Either one of wonderful memories or a piece that is yet to be part of wonderful memories in the making.’
‘After many name choices, I was taken back to the time when I had just completed refurbishing my daughter’s bedroom. I remember Cailyn thanking me for how beautifully it turned out and I hugged her and told her it’s because it was made with love and that’s when I decided on the name of my company. Seeing how happy it had made her I wanted to give the same happiness to other moms and their children.’
With the first project done and dusted, she created a Facebook page and an email account. She posted her first-ever pictures and continued to trust and have faith.
‘Suddenly I was onto the next project, then the next and so on.
‘Things just came together so beautifully and I have never had a dry patch since then. Often when I am busy with my last project and there is nothing lined up I will just pray and say, God, you showed me this way, what is next? And I have always had a flow of projects coming my way.’
During the last couple of months her business has grown to such an extent that she now has, with the help of wonderful friends, set up a workshop with proper space – and for that she is forever grateful.
An attitude of gratitude
After that initial investment in herself and in her business she is now all about tools such as drills, hammers and sanders adding her own personal touch to each of her projects.
‘I am not rich, but I am busy, I earn an income and I am grateful for all I have.
‘Look it has not been easy. I have lost my fancy nails, I have traded my little outfits and high heels for sweat pants and oversized t-shirts. Most of the time I am covered in dust and paint while I am working, but I am doing something I love and something that brings joy to others which makes it so worth the while.
‘There are times while I am busy nearing the end of piece where I look around and wonder if more will come in, because if it doesn’t how I will go forward? But God shows up time and time again.
‘And here I am today. Refurbishing old things to make them new – just as I was offered a new lease on life. I can finally turn the last page of an old book, pick up a new one and start anew.
A message for women out there
‘I am proud of myself and I want my children to be proud of me. I want to empower women with my story in letting them know that nothing is impossible. They can do it and we can handle all things life throws at us.
‘We just need to have faith and love. Therefore, I live by the motto engraved on a key ring which was a gift from a very dear friend. It reads: Let all things you do be done in love. It is 1 Corinthians 16:14.
‘And how perfectly does this not all tie together? I have a business called ‘Made with Love, I am doing what I love, and the motto I live by is all about love.’
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- What is your biggest goal/dream?
To live a life that’s full! Full of love, full of gratitude, meaning and purpose. To know I lived this life with everything I have and used every moment to love and appreciate all the special people in my life.
- What motivates you as a person?
My beautiful children. They motivate me every single day to be the best mom I can be, the best friend, the best version of myself.
- What is the word or phrase that best describe you?
Mmm this one I asked my sister and the first thing she said was ‘fireball’. She said I burn with passion in everything I do. I love fiercely and there is no way of extinguishing my flame, I keep on keeping on.
- What are you currently reading for enjoyment?
Girl wash your face by Rachel Hollis.
- What is currently on your playlist?
I’m a little bit of a everything kinda girl when it comes to music. I never know who sings the songs, but I’ll know all the words. I have to say though that I have a bit of a soft spot for country music such as Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett, Kane Brown. Brett Young, and Chris Stapleton.
- You can bribe me any day with…?
Perfume, chocolate or sneakers.
- Your favourite movie of all time? Why?
Aaahh The Notebook. This movie captivates me as the greatest love story of all time. It’s about real unconditional love, the purest I have ever seen. It is about sacrifice and never giving up on someone no matter what the circumstances are. It’s that once in a lifetime love that we all pray we could find and have with someone else. To love and be loved is one of life’s greatest blessings. And this movie gives me a little hope as it does others. And makes me believe that there is love like that to be had with someone.
- If you can do one thing before you die it will be…
To sit in awe under the Northern lights.
* Text: Carina van der Walt. Photo: AFTERGLOW PHOTOGRAPHY.