BLUE BIRD GARAGE MARKET

She and her husband Dylan saw the 1920s hangar that now houses their weekly market. The couple started the popular Muizenberg market five years ago and have watched it grow busier and get better every year. We knew the area was full of young families, a lively surfing community and film and design industry types. At that time there were no markets out this side, so we took the plunge.’ And it has paid off wonderfully – the market grows by an average of 20% every year and was named one of the best food markets in Cape Town by EatOut last year. Kim comes from a family of entrepreneurs and had previously started a couple of ventures on her own. But Dylan took some convincing.

He was wary of owning a business. When we started Blue Bird Garage, he was petrified,’ she says. But the market was the perfect project for the couple to try their hand at together. The landlord gave them flexible terms on the space so that they could get out of the lease if things didn’t work out. Often landlords scare entrepreneurs into signing two-year leases, but ours was extremely lovely so we didn’t have the stress of that hanging over us,’ says Kim. The couple did some research and found that the largest concentration of designers at the Cape Town Design Indaba in 2010 were from Muizenberg. There were 15 just from this area, so they were the first people we contacted to take part in the market.’ Today, about 80 percent of the traders at the market are Muizenberg locals. The great success of the market, which teems with people every Friday night, was exactly what was needed to jump-start Dylan’s entrepreneurial spirit. He has since gone on to start the Cowboys and Crooks clothing brand, and the couple also created the hugely successful Bar Di Bar food and drink truck, which they later sold. The influence of the market has even spilled over onto the streets of Muizenberg. There are kids on bicycles and people hanging out in the streets,’ Kim says.

The community comes alive.’ The couple also uses the business to help the designers make their brands sustainable and financially viable, and mentor many creatives and entrepreneurs, sharing opportunities for growth with them. Many designers have since gone on to be involved in the Kalk Bay Co-Op and Platform 8 in Woodstock. I’m so excited about the talent we have,’ says Kim. It’s what keeps me here.’ As for advice for other entrepreneurs, Kim warns against overthinking to the point of being too scared to do anything. Instead, she says, follow your gut. But also take advice from people who know better. If something doesn’t work, change it, come up with a new idea, add something, take something away, but don’t plough through something that’s not working.

And be kind to people – that’s the big one,’ she adds with a smile. Why you should shop at markets this festive season: Personal touch: Find out where your products come from, and meet the creator face to face. Local is lekker: Give local entrepreneurs and their community direct support. A complete experience: Enjoy an evening out, try new food, meet new people and explore a new space. Bring the whole family: Markets are a great place for family outings as they’re usually pet- and child-friendly. One of a kind: Find unique items with special touches you wouldn’t get at chain stores.

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