When Gareth and Theresa Rothschild struggled to find a space from where they could showcase and sell their handmade designer clothes, Graham decided to open up Poppishop, a pop-up store in the city centre which provides a marketplace for local designers.
Graham, who has a background in advertising, said the aim of Poppishop was to be a platform for those who spent hours of their time hand crafting unique items.
“Theresa has been making clothing for over 30 years and we have created two brands – Theresa Rothschild which is a classic high-end range; and Loons, which are handmade pop-in pants for any age.
“We built up stock but couldn’t find a space to sell it in, so I came up with the idea of Poppishop.
“A friend had this space available until the building is renovated, so we decided to start the shop.”
After they had moved their stock in, Graham saw that the clothing was not enough to fill the store.
“I knew through personal experience that it is very tough to find a market space, so I looked for people who create quality products with love – and of course, designed here in South Africa.”
Poppishop, named after a play on pop-up shop, is stationed on the corner of Plein and Spin streets.
The store now became home to a number of craft products including clothing, jewellery, homeware, crafted stationery, leather goods, slippers and cards.
And because Graham has experience with brands, he was very selective of which ones he put in the store.
“The people here have created great brands, they just need some help marketing their products.”
Graham said there was no contract while people are marketing at Poppishop. “You are free to come and go. There is no time period, and there is also no fee involved. However, we are very selective, and we do take a small portion of the product’s profit for operational costs.”
Graham says none of the products are cheaply made. “The products here are quality and the designers put a lot of time and energy into it.”
One of the designers at the store, Cindy Douglas, said Graham had “handpicked” her from the Kamers/Makers market in Stellenbosch.
Ms Douglas owns CocoAfrica, a woodwork company in Franschhoek which sells custom-made solid wood lifestyle products.
“Graham had spent some time at my stall and he just got what I was trying to say with my brand.”
She said since she had joined the Poppishop family, it has been going well. She said having her products next to Parliament is good because people who come visit can see what Cape Town has to offer, and hopefully take something home with them.
She said what she liked about Graham is his appreciation for design.
Daniella Samakosky, from Claremont, owns Walk the Talk Africa, a range of hand-made slippers, comes from a long tradition of Italian shoemakers.
Ms Samakosky said Graham approached her at Kirstenbosch market, and she said he understood her product. “He spent time at my stall and discussed my slippers, and I immediately realised what skills he had that would benefit my business.”
She said she loves the space as it has access to many people.
“Graham has an eye for design and a background in advertising and that was valuable to me.”
Ms Rothschild said she hoped to be in the space for a while. “Being in the store keeps me busy but it has inspired me to create garments as Graham said it was these that inspired the store.”
Graham said the location worked for the concept. “We are at a very interesting spot. This used to be Snoekies so we’ve still got that feel, but we wanted to create ambience. We are nicely located too – we have passers-by coming in and lots of new people. We have businesses all around such as Truworths and Parliament. There is also a big residential component and lots of tourists.”
He said while they are hoping to stay in the CBD, the project was just a testing-ground.
“I believe that we can build the brand and when the time comes when we have to move, we can carry on in the same way.”