The Workspace at The Club in Hazelwood is an ideal environment for creativity at work.
That’s why the three women behind the flourishing Pretoria-based market, Tierlantynkies Kuier en Koopfees, chose it as their headquarters. “Friendly staff, networking opportunities and stylish interior” are just a few reasons why Lorette Kunz, Elmien van Zyl and Ronel Coetzer opted to run their business from this serviced office space.
Eight years ago three Pretoria friends with a passion for local products got together to organise a craft market. Their aim was simple: to create a pop-up shop for hand-picked entrepreneurs.
Today the Tierlantynkies Kuier en Koopfees is a roaring business and a highlight on Pretoria’s events calendar, drawing close to 100 exhibitors and 10 000 visitors. The market now takes place twice a year, over five days in Zwavelpoort , Pretoria East, and has a waiting list of 200 potential crafters.
“We never envisaged the success it would enjoy,” says Lorette Kunz, who, together with Elmien van Zyl and Ronel Coetzer, founded Tierlantynkies Kuier en Koopfees. The organisers remember starting with 34 traders and barely 1 000 visitors, which they thought at the time was “fantastic”.
Having spotted a gap in the market to bring together the public and upmarket creatives with goods to sell, the women dreamt of creating a platform where handpicked entrepreneurs could showcase their wares in the form of pop-up shops.
They have hit upon what they describe as a “win-win situation”. The Tierlantynkies market allows traders to operate without the costs of a permanent retail outlet and attracts patrons who want to “embark on a one-stop creative journey” where they can discover handcrafted merchandise at affordable prices.
From intricate hand-crafted jewellery and beautiful clothes to delicious sweet temptations and gourmet foods, as well as creative workshops for kids and grown-ups, Tierlantynkies is a treat on many levels.
Organising Tierlantynkies Kuier en Koopfees has inevitably become a full-time job and the threesome have chosen The Workspace at The Club in Hazelwood as their headquarters, where they tap into an array of business support services. It is the ideal environment for creativity at work, says Lorette.
Lorette, Elmien and Ronel have always surrounded themselves with “pretty things”, and each is creative in her own way. They had dreamt of working for themselves from early on. The idea of Tierlantynkies, born over a chat and a cup of coffee, gave form to their dream, and started them on their entrepreneurial journey, which has, in turn, created opportunities for other entrepreneurs to flourish.
“Entrepreneurship is more important here than in first world countries. South Africa’s economy has to be stimulated by entrepreneurs,” says Lorette.
They started with a good idea, but hard work, major marketing and the responsibility they feel towards the community they have built have defined their growth path.
“We have learnt to never take for granted the number of feet that visit our event, and to always stay focused on the creative individual with a family and dreams,” says Lorette. “The whole idea of upliftment and small business development is key. In five years’ time we want to have collaborated with NGOs and state-funded organisations. We want to identify upliftment projects, and give them a competitive stance in the marketplace. We also want to host workshops to teach exhibitors how to use practical tools, colour schemes and storytelling when erecting a pop-up shop.”
Lorette says the business has grown far beyond their wildest dreams, now even allowing them to support a charity with every event. Their chosen beneficiary is Missing Children South Africa.
The trio had to confront several challenges on their journey. “We had to implement technological systems from the word go, and even those were inadequate. Steve Jobs said: ‘Surround yourself with the best in the field’. So we did just that. Hired the best IT and computer ‘brainiacs’ and, together, we came up with a win-win system!”
Operating out of The Workspace, where IT and “computer brainiacs” are part of the package, allows Lorette, Elmien and Ronel the flexibility to meet new and existing exhibitors and deal with personal commitments while knowing their business needs are being taken care of.
“We chose a flexible office solution because we don't have a nine-to-five week. The Workspace environment is inspiring, yet professional, and has given us an upmarket base where we can operate from,” Lorette says.
And while they cite the boardroom infrastructure and the reception staff among the benefits of the serviced and cowork offices, the provision of damn fine coffee is a major plus too!
Tierlantynkies learnings and advice
What are the three most important lessons you learnt along your entrepreneurial journey?
- Stay humble
- Dream big
- Focus on the positive criticism
In hindsight, what would you do differently?
Nothing! We grow as we learn.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs starting out now?
The elevator to success is out of order. Take it one step at a time. Believe in yourself and keep going.
Any other insights?
Invest in a professional corporate image and logo.