About Cape Times
My adventure into the retail business started in early 2007 when my wife had to move from Cape Town to Berlin for professional reasons. In Cape Town I was involved in the construction and renovation business, but frankly not unhappy about the prospect of “starting something new”.
From an early age my passion has been interior design and as a child I used to love moving furniture around not only in my room but also in our house outside of Johannesburg. This passion has not deteriorated and to this day I spend many a Sunday in our home north of Berlin playing with ideas for rearranging the furniture in the house. It must still be a passion, because suddenly no sofa is too heavy to move around the house single-handedly on a Sunday morning before my first coffee.
So when in late 2006 my wife suggested a move to Germany, I instantly came up with the idea of starting a retail shop with sustainably produced interior design goods from South Africa. Little did I know about what lay ahead. On our farewell trip though South Africa in January 2007 we started buying and ordering products from suppliers ranging from medium sized manufacturers all the way to local crafters working and living in traditional kraals in the far north-eastern corners of Kwazulu-Natal. After 5.000km our station wagon was packed to the brim and I was broke!
The next challenge came up… All these products needed to be shipped to Berlin – a city I had only once briefly visited as a tourist. I found a freight forwarder in Cape Town and with their help I packed half a 20ft container with all my goods. It came to 15 cubic meters of stock ranging from picture frames made from reclaimed timber, funky travel bags and hand-stitched table linen from Zimbabwe to wonderful handmade ceramics from George, olive oil from the Karoo and finally good old South African wine!
So, while the stock was heading north on a container ship on the Atlantic Ocean, we flew to Berlin, found an apartment, my wife started her new job and I frantically walked through the streets of Berlin scouting for a retail space. Two weeks later I found a wonderful little 50sqm shop in trendy Prenzlauer Berg. A further week later the container arrived, and I still had not signed the lease but managed to convince the estate agent to convince the landlord to let me store my stock in the space in the meantime. The estate agent was fantastic… she and her husband ended up helping us to unload the truck in the pouring rain in the middle of the night!
The start could not possibly have been more unconventional. On top of this I had absolutely no clue about retail or German bureaucracy.
More than I decade down the line a lot has changed and developed and continues to change and develop at Cape Times. I closed the physical retail shop in 2016 in order to focus on what has become the main focus of the business... online and wholesale. Thus, my wholesale company Brands for Future was added to the portfolio.
Over the years I have attended many trade shows as an exhibitor but never really found the one trade show that worked well for me. In 2019 I thus launched, together with my business partner Andreas, an online trade show called MTMfair.com. The aim is to enable all the wonderful market ready manufacturers of sustainably produced interior and lifestyle form around the globe to exhibit their goods to an international, professional audience of retailers, interior designers and procurement agencies and even consumers directly.
So while the online shop at Cape Times continues to develop, MTMfair.com has become another major part of my day to day business.
Thank you for visiting capetimes.de/en