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Modern Nursery: Proudly South African Scandi-style to “LIEF”

Dec 8, 2016
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If you are a lover of Scandi style and supporting local you need to check out Mayalief.


I was instantly impressed with Michelle Goosen, the wife, Mamma, sister, daughter, friend and maker behind Mayalief. She doesn’t just make pretty things but their little family of three (soon to be four) leads a beautiful life filled with love and tons of big dreams.


Please tell me a little more about your background and what lead you to start Mayalief?

Mayalief was never planned nor did I ever image myself to be doing this for a living. I studied at Prue Leith Food and Wine Academy with a dream of one day opening my own deli or patisserie. Along the way life happened…

Realising I could never be the mum I wanted to be working six days a week, 9-5, I decided to call it quits and wait to see what else God had planned. Financially our family couldn’t afford me simply being a stay-at-home mom. I had to make some bucks.

Screen-printing has always been a hobby of mine and as far as sewing goes – I know the basics. I fell in love with Forrest Creature Dolls and tried my best to create my own beautiful fabric dolls – Sprokieskinders. And that is pretty much where Mayalief started.

Where do you find inspiration?

It’s sad to say, but on the WWW. The Internet makes everything so easy. Between Instagram and Pinterest, I get a daily dose of Scandinavian inspiration. I have established my own unique range with all the images being hand drawn by myself and then made onto my silk frames. Sometimes I just sing a song to Maya and think this will be great on a blanket and before I know it, I have t-shirts saying “Ek is Jesus se soldaatjie”.

What is your favourite item from the Mayalief range?

The Sprokieskinders fabric dolls. I LOVE making them and feel super proud when Maya grabs one of the fabric dolls rather than her shop-bought bear or bunny.

And, I also get happy vibes printing anything Afrikaans!!!

Your collection has a lot of “scripture inspired” pieces, why?

My life got a little too real with all the changes in the last year and I reverted back to the only truth I know. Becoming a parent grounds you. You find new purpose and seek strength with what you once took for granted. You find calm in the fact that your life is not in your hands and that He is watching over your child and preparing your heart for the joy and pain to come. People should be proud of their religion and beliefs that keep them from sinking; they should embrace it.

Do you find it hard being a Christian-family these days?

No. Maya is still young though. Maybe in a couple of years, when she starts school and starts asking those “difficult-to-answer” questions, you should ask me again…

It’s hard being anything these days… together, single, white, black, straight, gay… But in my experience, once you truly believe in Christ and that He is your Saviour, the rest is just life. Life happens the way He has planned it. It should not be difficult to say that you believe in that, but refreshing rather.

How do you balance work/mom life?

I have two really great friends; without Caffeine and Vino there would be no balance.

Truthfully, it’s difficult somedays because it feels like I’m not managing orders, cleaning up after 3 beagle kids and soaking up enough of this little time we have with Maya before she is all grown up. But somewhere in between freaking out because one order went out wrong or that Maya is not crawling yet, I am finding my, very deeply hidden, inner peace. And if there is one thing motherhood has taught me, it is that no matter how hard you plan or how balanced everything is today, tomorrow has its own lessons. And you should really not beat yourself up about it.


5 Things you never leave the house without:

A fully charged phone with data

Dried fruit

Wet wipes and at least one clean nappy shoved into my handbag

Maya’s taglet

Postal orders

What’s next for Mayalief?

For now, I really just need to get through the next couple of months jam-packed with markets; Tierlantyntjies being one of them. Some nights I feel like I’ve saddled up a bit much, but a couple more late nights and before I know it, I’m making a down payment on a studio.

It is nice to know that I’m starting a business for Maya. That – while for now it’s providing her with NAN – one day, she could be at the top of it all and watch as toys and pillows leave by the truckloads.


You can find Michelle on Instagram or see what Mayalief is up to on their Facebook page.

You can even get your shop on right here.

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