THE ‘NEW RETAIL’ FOR THE NEW NORMAL
The Covid-19 enforced prohibition on all live events presented SA’s best-loved artisan market platform with a tough challenge…
With our entire business landscape effectively wiped out in one swoop, KAMERS/Makers could either give up, close our doors and walk away from the hundreds of SME artisans who have come to depend on our national platform for a significant chunk of their livelihoods…
Or we could fight back with every ounce of entrepreneurial energy we could summon.
We chose to fight – our amazing team chose to work without pay, taking our March Cape Town event and our late April Jozi event online, upgrading and innovating on our online shopping platform in order to cope with the tens of thousands of new visitors.
But with courier deliveries still on hold this could only provide limited relief, so we needed to find other ways for our Makers to trade. We could not simply wait for Level 1 (probably the earliest that our live shows will once again be permitted). We needed to find ways to leverage the transformed business landscape of level 3.
So we looked at where opportunity might hide within the problems swamping our country…
Retail has been battered everywhere, especially in malls and larger shopping hubs. Vacant shops and other spaces have been popping up in most major centres around the country.
And now… so will KAMERS/Makers!
The ‘new retail normal’ dictates that the less flexible, long-term – and more conservative – models of the past be radically re-envisioned. KAMERS/Makers SPACE is a fast and fluid collective of SA’s finest Makers – carefully curated to pop-up (and down!) in any empty retail space, in just a few days.
It offers shoppers a brave new hybrid of the convenience of an everyday, local outlet in the ‘old retail’ mode, but now combined with the vibrant, eclectic mix of amazing products that only KAMERS/Makers can offer.
Essentially, we have reinterpreted the two key pillars of our success…
Our live shows would concentrate a huge variety of Makers (180+) in a vast venue for a very limited period (5 days only), drawing the crowds that made the platform so successful. And which are an absolute no-no under current pandemic conditions.
Now we offer a smaller number of ‘best of the best’ Makers (about 50) – in residence for a much longer period… from 1- 3 months, with the Maker mix constantly changing week on week. It’s the best of both worlds for KAMERS/Makers devotees! Plenty of time to shop at their convenience over weeks and months, and the constantly changing, vibrant variety that has made KAMERS/Makers so immensely popular over two decades.
THE NITTY GRITTY
- KAMERS/Makers SPACEs will pop up in a number of key venues in popular venues around the country.
- Every SPACE will be Covid-19 screened and certified – with rigorous controls in place to regulate entry and ensure the safety of all.
- A cashless system will be in operation, with a single central pay-point for shopper convenience.
- The KAMERS/Makers full online portal will be in situ – so shoppers can instantly order any of the 7000+ products that may not be on the shelves, for subsequent collection or delivery.
We would like to thank our sponsor-partners, Consol Glass, who have constantly supported us through this challenging period, as well as the many suppliers who have worked with us to get to this point of optimism…
So welcome to the new retail – vital, vibrant, innovative and proudly local – the sooner we as South Africans begin rebuilding our SME economy, the sooner the African sun will break through the clouds of Covid-19!
THE FIRST KAMERS/Makers SPACE OPENS IN STELLENBOSCH ON JUNE 22nd IN PLEIN STREET (right next to PostNet in the old Ocean Basket space). SEE YOU THERE!
And in the meantime, keep supporting our Makers online – www.kamers.co.za now features products from over 200 handpicked Makers.