5 minutes with Oriel Barnard

We spent some time with our friend Oriel Barnard, Children’s Illustrator and Fashion Designer (label LISP) to find out what inspired her to become an entrepreneur, what the future holds for her and how creativity can change the world. “Pencil in hand, always wanting to capture moments on paper, I recently started a little project called MUD & Mermaids. Children remind me of care free days, full of magic and adventure. Catching frogs in the river, building fairy houses from twigs. Beautiful innocence…” this is how Oriel describes her side project.

But first let me tell you a little bit about Oriel, she grew up in oak filled Stellenbosch, surrounded by history and art. In grade 12 she had to choose a career path and torn between studying her great love, fine arts, or a more business orientated career of fashion design she decided to attend Fashion School and in her free time practiced her love, fine arts.  After studying and gaining some work experience in the fashion industry she started her own lifestyle clothing label – LISP.

Our 5 minutes with her.

What did you want to be when you were a child?
As a child around the age where you start to realize people have jobs/careers , I wanted to be a police woman , imagining myself jumping from roof to roof like in the movies , but then to my disappointment I found out that police woman had to wear pencil skirts , and you can’t run and jump in a rigid skirt.

My next idea of what I wanted as a career was to be a secretary ( I did not now about other corporate careers such as a lawyer ,so secretary had to do ) , then I can wear stylish pencil skirts , with matching tailored jackets ,and high black stilettos that ‘click clack’ when you walk through the door ,file in hand. Imagine how the woman dress in the TV series SUITS – just the 80’s version.

What made you decide to start your own business?
Since high school I have always had the idea that I wanted to have my own business. I started making clothes for my friends, this brought in some nice pocket money. While I studied fashion design I started a clothing label and sold it at a Long Street shop. After my studies I went to go work in the industry for a big manufacturer. During this time I struggled allot with keeping my ideas to myself and having to design what I was told. After gaining some experience, I decided to resign and pursue my dreams of establishing my own clothing label.

How do you think being creative can bring about change in South Africa?
Being creative is a way of expressing yourself, and a journey in self-discovery. While creating something you are going through a lot of emotions, thinking about a lot of stuff. At the end of the project you have grown emotionally and somewhat been enlightened. What I am trying to say is that people will in general be in a better mind space and thus be more kind and understanding towards each other – then we can work together, think together, and create solutions to current problems together to change South Africa for the better. The creative mind is very powerful.

One piece of advice for young entrepreneurs?
Try and learn as much as you can from other people in your industry and get work experience, even if it’s not easy or nice. It pays off in the end.

What are you up to at the moment?
Currently I am busy with the LISP Summer 2015-16 collection. Other than that I am wanting to get back to the drawing board. I have some new ideas for artworks … some pencil sketches or a painting. …

Here is the link to her Facebook group – Mud&Mermaids, if you would like her to create a beautiful illustration of your children.

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