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Spotlight on The Collective Hout Bay

The Collective Hout Bay

On the Main road stretch next to Mainstream Mall lies Fisherman’s World, featuring quaint Victorian cottages dating back to the 1800s. Surrounded by cobbled pathways, babbling brooks and countryside vistas, many people aren’t actually aware that this area is part of the mall, merging old and new.

One of these historical buildings is the iconic Old Post Office, now home to The Collective Hout Bay, commanding an impressive location on the stretch of Main Road leading to famous Chapman’s Peak Drive.

You’ll be forgiven for pausing a minute as you walk over the threshold of The Collective to take in your surroundings. Before you lies over a hundred square meters of beautiful décor, homeware, gifts, plants and ceramics – with such an array that you may have to stay a while. And that’s exactly what one recent customer ended up doing when she discovered three hours had passed since entering.

But while this shop draws you in and doesn’t easily let you go, it makes you marvel at the creativeness and talent our local South African creatives possess.

You see, The Collective Hout Bay is a communal effort of local makers and creators whose products are all created locally and celebrate South Africa – from quality bespoke furniture and ceramics to a wide variety of carefully curated gifts.

Having just recently moved into the space, we caught up with two of the owners, Charlene and Marjorie and got the low-down on their newest venture:

Charlene and Marjorie, we hear The Collective is a neighbourly effort! Tell us more about that and exactly how this all began.

Charlene: Yes, they say you shouldn’t get too familiar with your neighbours but that’s exactly what we did! I had leased a retail space for my law firm that I wasn’t utilising in early 2020. I was trying to figure out what on earth to do with it, seeing as though I was tied into a lease. I then got chatting to my neighbours Pip and Marjorie. Pip has a business creating bespoke furniture and decking through his business TimberTech and has always wanted his furniture displayed in a retail environment. Marjorie has a background in corporate so she is a whizz at setting up systems and back-end support. Plus my husband Andre also makes products using a CNC machine so it fitted together like a puzzle! We decided to take the plunge and create The Collective and the rest, as they say, is history!

The Collective Hout Bay

Tell us something about you, your brand or your journey that may surprise your customers

Marjorie: We started this business three weeks before Level 5 lockdown hit us in South Africa. It could have been seen as a curse but was actually a blessing. We simply took our products home and started selling via Facebook! And because only essential services could continue selling, we started selling beautiful facemasks. I think we were one of the first businesses in Cape Town to have such a wide range of face masks that people actually wanted to wear! We eventually moved into the then-La Cuccina premises and realised that our offering is more an experience than just a retail offering. Since then we have gone from strength to strength and have met so many wonderful people on this journey.

Why did you choose Hout Bay and Mainstream Mall / Fisherman’s World as your base?

Marjorie: For us it was the appeal of the building. We love the historical feel of The Old Post Office and it suited our product range so well. But aside from that we felt that the vision the owners had for Fisherman’s World really fitted in with our vision for The Collective and how it could grow with the other surrounding businesses. Our biggest dream is to host a market for our makers to showcase their products at certain times of the year and that’s another reason the space worked so well. The space behind Spirit Jewellers and Rockchic is perfect for this, and when we heard the owners had a similar dream we just knew this would work.

The Collective Hout Bay

All your makers are local. How do you go about selecting and curating the perfect “Collective”?

Charlene: In the beginning we used to find our local creators on Instagram and still have so many relationships forged this way. Now we get approached and when we feel a synergy with a brand we take it further. Our creators are mainly South African and 90% of these from Cape Town but we also support some artists from other African countries. We partner with small brands with a story and a purpose – so whilst their products are beautiful, their businesses touches lives and uplifts communities.

This is important to us. You can point to any product on our shelves and we have a story to tell about the brand. For example Hope Town in Ocean View: It’s a Christian community that teaches single women how to make jewellery using copper wire. But aside from that they also teach them how to budget and educate their children. Wonderlands is another awesome initiative that upskills women in Nyanga who make gorgeous baby changing mats in funky African fabrics. The founder is actually French and she exports these to boutiques in France. So it’s empowerment on a whole new level and we feel so good to be a part of that upliftment.

The Collective Hout Bay

What “special something” do you add to your service delivery to make it worthwhile visiting you?

Marjorie: We curate gift boxes for special occasions and ship anywhere in the world. For example a local woman couldn’t visit her daughter in Australia due to Covid so we put together a specially curated gift box for her – this included baby clothing, nursery décor and some gifts to make the new mom feel special – all of this was handled remotely via Whatsapp. We sent photos for her to select the gifts and to approve the final gift box. Once the customer was happy, we shipped it off. So aside from curating the whole in-store experience for customers we also provide custom-packaged gift solutions.

Charlene: And I’d like to add that we certainly don’t only cater to the ladies. We have a great range of products for men, especially when shopping for those men that already have everything! So think wooden wedding rings, funky T shirts, men’s swimwear, Plakkies slip slops and more.

What do you want people to feel when they walk into your shop?

Charlene: We want them to feel like it’s an experience. When a customer walks in, they discover products that will end up creating moments in time in their lives. Whether it’s to purchase placemats for their special family dinner or plants to make their house more welcoming. There is something for everyone at The Collective. So whether you’re looking for a gift for a new mom, your husband, a housewarming or birthday gift or something special for your kitchen – we have it, and more.

The Collective Hout Bay

What we love about The Collective?

  • The original gorgeous fireplace with well-placed chairs just yearning for a bit of natter between customers
  • The way they colour code their displays so if blue is your colour, or perhaps purple or yellow, then you’ll be there all day!
  • Their plants! It’s not a nursery, but boy could we have gone home with ALL their plants because they all look so beautiful.

Find The Collective at The Old Post Office Building Hout Bay Main Road and keep an eye out for their online store launching soon.

Follow them on Instagram and Facebook or call them on 0832581343 or 064 511 2260