This is the first post in my series called “Mzansi Life & Style Meets …”
As the name indicates, this series is about people I have met via friends, acquaintances, social media, traditional media and people that I have met on my journey of life thus far. These people are making big things happen, one step at a time, achieving their dreams and making it a reality. They are inspirational and aspirational, and in each blog post in this series, we learn more about what makes them tick.
Today we meet Natalie Manko Bernariusz, owner of Naturally Young Interiors.
Tell us about Naturally Young Interiors – when did you start the business and why that name?
Naturally Young Interiors started in July 2013. I’ve always wanted to go out on my own and decided to take a leap of faith. Naturally Young Interiors is about handmade goodness for the home. All my products are handmade by me and made to order. I don’t keep stock. My friend, Dion Stephens, came up with the name of my business. I have a passion for decor/interior and wanted my business name to seem eye-catching. And, Naturally is similar to Natalie.
You have an interesting surname – tell us about your heritage?
My surname is Hungarian, but I am not Hungarian as it is my husband’s surname. I, on the other hand, am half Polish. My father was born in Poland and moved to South Africa when he was 11 years old and met my mother at age 27, and the rest is, as they say, is history. I don’t speak the Polish language at all unfortunately, and I regret not learning it when I was younger.
What products do you design?
My product range consists of coasters, place mats, scatter cushions, wine glass charms & beaded napkin rings, which all make beautiful gifts and are handmade with love.
Where can one find your products?
Any exhibits / markets coming up?
Yes. I will be at The Wedge Shopping Centre on the 29th of March at The Depot from 10h00 to 16h00. This is an exciting market where loads of food & craft stalls will be available, as well as an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. Catch me again at The Hertford Estate in Lanseria on the 26th of April at the Bridal and Craft Fair, from 10h00 to 15h00.
What do you think of the current Interior Design & Craft industry in SA?
I love keeping up to date with the Interior Design Industry. I like to see what the latest trends are and go to various Decorex & Design Indaba shows. It was difficult for me as a Junior Designer to get a job in the field. It took me at least 6 months to find a job. There aren’t many positions available in the interior design industry. You have to take a leap of faith and go out on your own. I did, however, gain a lot of experience at Black Fabrics and made awesome connections in the field. I don’t regret going out on my own. More and more crafters are working on their own and trying to grow their businesses, just like I am. The crafting world is becoming recognized in South Africa and around the world. More and more people are appreciating handmade products, and I enjoy what I do.
Who do you admire the most in the SA Design fraternity and why?
I love “Handmade By Me” products. She also specializes in home decor. Her creativity and products are too gorgeous. She inspires me. Go look at her page and you will see why I admire her work & creativity.
And internationally, who would you most like to meet and why?
I would love to meet Kelly Hoppen, who is a UK based designer. I follow her page and love her ideas, styles and creativity that she uses in Interior Design.
What design blogs or websites do you follow?
I follow a lot of crafters/designers on Instagram from all over the world. Locally, I love Plascon, Decorex and Design Indaba.
What are your contact details, should readers want to place orders with you?
082 854 9246