For those of you who are not yet familiar with what exactly KAMERS/MAKERS is:
“SA’s biggest pop-up retail phenomenon began in a few kamers (rooms) of a Stellenbosch house in 2003, as Kamers vol Geskenke.
A few close friends had long dreamed of creating a platform where creative entrepreneurs and artisans could come together for inspiration, support and, most importantly, to meet potential customers.”
“Since I started Hallo Jane late in 2015 it has been one of my goals to one day trade at Kamers. I was fortunate enough to get in to their incub8 program where if you are under 27 or your business is under 2 years old you get the opportunity to be part of the program where they groom and prep you as a young and upcoming entrepreneur with workshops and advice on anything and everything.
The Incub8 program is such a fantastic platform as it pushes you as a small business owner to get your products, packaging and service on a certain level and standard. It gives you the opportunity to connect with your customers as well as meeting fantastic new ones and provides many opportunities for networking.
So this year at the Castle was my 1 year anniversary with Kamers! And it was fantastic to see how the business has grown since! I decided to take some time during the show and let people see how Kamers looks from the maker’s point of view.
Usually you get about 3 months to prep for a show after applying and being accepted. During this time (if you ask any maker) things are absolute chaos. Of course, after doing a few shows you get better and better at time management and you learn new things about setup – making everything easier and smoother.
A very quick glance of a part of the setup early Monday at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town:
Some people are quick to set up and some take more time. I usually spend way longer than planned, just to make sure every little detail is perfect as we try to make the shopping experience as easy as possible. The setup for me is always the most stressful. Making sure everything has its place and is easy to reach, see and display. Making sure everyone’s product has a fair chance. And planning so the flow of the shopper doesn’t easily clog… (which is always impossible no matter how hard you try).
The selling part is what I love. If everything “backstage” is planned well – packaging, business cards, etc – then really the only thing to worry about is making sure you give everyone great service. Meeting all the customers that love and follow the brand as well as meeting new people and seeing their reactions to our products is part of what makes it worthwhile for me.
Of course, before and after the masses, we get some time to meet our new neighbor MAKERS or socialize with those we get to know at previous shows. After it all, you feel like you are part of a very big creative family!!
It is so fantastic to chat to other creatives to be able to relate to all the highs and lows and challenge this industry brings. That is definitely also one of my favorites things about the whole KAMERS experience.
Getting some time to browse yourself and finding new inspiration and seeing all the hard work that goes into everyone’s stands and products and being able to relate to the whole thing, is another highlight. It’s wonderful to see everyone’s ideas and creativity come together in one incredible space.
I had fabulous neighbors this year (and every other year) – Lorne, Wass, Artesense & Wellington Leather Co. The fantastic thing about that is we are all like a little team helping each other when you have an issue with your card machine, needs to grab a bite or visit the loo. If you need a star point screwdriver during setup or some double sided tape for a quick fix, or just an ear to listen after dealing with a difficult situation.
Some of my fav brands (just to name a few) at this year’s KAMERS at the Castle were The Collaborative, Mevrou & Co, Iloni, Present Space, Mies, Ma Mere Confections, Pienaar & Son, Turn Up Clothing, Sammy Sheppard, Threads that bind us, Gudgu, Darling Sweets and The Magnificent Barista Boys.
Of course, I think every single maker at KAMERS is fantastic because I know what goes into being part of it. And every single one of them forms part of the all-over success of the event! KAMERS, once again congratulations on your unique concept and being a pioneer of bringing people a truly authentic shopping experience of some of SA most talented and creative handcrafted items!
If you missed out on the show, KAMERS also has their own marketplace where you can buy some of you fav items online while waiting for the next show to pop up! Check it out here.