Mthimkhulu Village, 9th Av, Kleinmond • Mo-Thu 07h30 – 15h30 Fri 07h30 – 14h30
Your Friendly Creative Neighbours
Christmas 2009, Jan’s family made a decision – Christmas presents had to be under R20.00 or handmade. Coincidently someone told him of wine barrels that were for sale at a good price. He instantly knew what he could do – he could make cheese boards from the lids.
They were so popular that he started getting orders from friends. He noticed the elegant curves of the staves and started manufacturing other articles. Soon he was overwhelmed and the garage became too small and he could not manage by his own.
He needed the business to grow to supplement his pension income. He just did not know how to go about it.
2010 – The start of the cheap Chinese imports. Willie had a thriving business manufacturing canvasses for artists and art shops. He had a large workshop and things were going well. Then came the cheap Chinese imports. The art shops were able to retail the Chinese canvasses cheaper than the cost of the material of the canvasses that Willie produced! His market collapsed overnight. He had a carpentry workshop, the woodworking skills and production expertise and was looking for new line of products.
It All Comes Together
In 2010 many of the shacks in the Kleinmond informal settlement burnt down, including the ones of Jan’s part time gardener and domestic help. He decided to build them proper shacks. He begged and scrounged material, found some willing donors, and together with the grant of corrugated sheeting from the municipality he soon had enough.
At a prayer meeting before he set out, he sought the help of the Lord as he had never built a shack before! The Pastor’s wife asked whether he had approached a retired gentleman by the name of Nissie to assist, as he was skilled in construction. Nissie immediately agreed and they commenced building two magnificent shacks. In conversation he told Jan of his son Willie. He arranged a meeting with Willie and they just clicked! They had complementary skills and the possibility was there that they would form a formidable team
Since then the business has grown and Willie and Jan are proud to be able to count amongst their customers Red Carnation Hotels, Bouchard Finlayson Wine Estate, Zest Catering, Beaumont Wine Estate, Knead Bakery, White Rabbit Bistro and Bar, Protea Hotel Fire and Ice, Deux Freres Wine Estate and most recently Guardian Peak Wine Estate
They have moved to a workshop at Mthimkhulu Village in Kleinmond where they intend to expand their core business thereby creating employment and also to search for opportunities to mentor selected locals in small business ventures.