THE ODD COUPLE
What could a young (30) aspiring black guy (half Zim and half South African) and a retired white lady (66) from UK possibly have in common?
Better known in Swellendam as ‘Mrs. Gram’, because she runs a daily online community information network called Swellengram, Amanda has been involved in marketing and social media since moving to Swellendam from UK eleven years ago, (as well as running a guesthouse and being involved in various community projects and tourism).
Graham is an absolute whizz at web design and has started his own company in Swellendam called Evolution Media House.
A few years ago an unlikely friendship sprang up between Mrs. Gram and Graham when they discovered a shared love of technology, new ideas, entrepreneurship, journalism and a very wicked sense of humour.
Both Amanda and Graham have a passion for supporting small businesses. Amanda runs social media campaigns for hospitality establishments who have no time to do it themselves, and Graham designs business cards and flyers for emerging SMMEs. They shared experiences and knowledge, and spent many hours discussing how they could put their joint skills into a project which could enable people to use their creative abilities to make a living from them.
THE CAPE TRADE MARKET™
They researched by visiting markets and craft shops (and wine farms – all in the name of research, obviously) and found that nearly all the artists and crafters had the same problems. They had no time to market their goods, they did not have the technological skills, if they sold mainly at physical markets the weather affected their sales and they couldn’t accept credit cards, they did not have the funding available to create and host a website.
So Graham and Amanda created a website which provides vendors with the opportunity to host and manage their own online market stall, where they can promote their products, sell them and ship them all over South Africa. The Cape Trade Market™ is dedicated to quality products, handmade with love in the Overberg and surrounding areas. The focus is hand-crafting, with little use of machinery or technology, using local and sustainable materials and responsible work practices.
Within a few weeks of setting up they were contacted by Overberg Info who have now become affiliate partners, the project was accepted and registered by the Cape Craft Design and Technology, and they have also teamed up with Pargo to become a courier partnership
What makes this online portal very different from others in this line is the personal relationships Graham and Amanda will be fostering – between customer and vendor. The vendors provide material for Amanda to write a personal article about them – each month a new artist is featured. Graham and Amanda provide constant support – offering workshops and information, technological support and advice. They are both skilled writers and photographers so also are able to help their vendors to display and describe their products in the best possible light.