The rising consumer interest in young, creative startups and the appeal of the artisan 'maker & crafter' phenomenon is being acknowledged by the Kamers creative pop-up exhibitions and showcases. The Kamers Young Entrepreneurs Initiative is a conscious move to provide local, young and talented entrepreneurs with a subsidised exhibition opportunity at the hugely successful Kamers series of events across the country.
These popular events, the most recent of which has been held in Johannesburg from 23rd to 27th April, attract thousands of customers all looking to buy unique, creative, and locally handcrafted goods. The aim of the Kamers Young Entrepreneurs Initiative is to encourage and support young creative talent, enabling these young aspirant creative startups to use Kamers as a launch pad to enter the marketplace as effective new businesses, and hopefully be able to return to KAMERS as established exhibitors in the future.
“At Kamers, we like to think of ourselves as a business incubator for young startups."
- Wanda Du Toit, founder of Kamers
Speaking to Wanda Du Toit, Founder of Kamers and its Creative Director, to find out more about this great initiative, she commented: “At Kamers, we like to think of ourselves as a business incubator for young startups. What is unusual is that we actually select and curate every company and product that comes through the Kamers showcase. Our Young Entrepreneurs Initiative, which sponsors 10 young startups at our Kamers Gauteng events who have been in business for less than a year and who do not have the funding to participate in events such as ours under normal circumstances, has been running for the past 5 years. It is a truly wonderful way of investing in young people and their entrepreneurial ambitions. In Cape Town, we work with the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) to support young entrepreneurs in a similar way.”
So how does the Kamers Young Enterpreneurs Initiative work and who is eligible? Every season Kamers encourages young local entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 28, and with a new business that is no older than one year, to apply. The carefully selected young entrepreneurs who are chosen to be supported by the initiative are then sponsored by subsidising their stand fee at the shows and reducing their commission on sales by two thirds. Kamers also provides product development support and invaluable advice about how to maximise their stand layout and display.
This year’s young entrepreneurs selected for KAMERS Autumn 2015 were Joan Manson, Folksy Fine, Heart and Heritage, Alexandra K, Hummingbird, The Coffee Station, Akona and Boys Coffee Shopista, and mi & i.
Lionesses of Africa was at the 2015 Kamers Johannesburg event and spoke to one of the young women entrepreneurs selected for this year’s Kamers Young Entrepreneurs Initiative, Anri Meyer of Folksyfine, a niche home decor designer, to find out how the experience of participating in this unique showcase was helping her young startup business:
“Kamers is my first event and my business is very new, and one of the challenges is to get your designs and products in front of customers. You also have to test the market for your designs to see if people respond positively to them, as you don’t really know when you launch a new business. So for my business, Folksyfine, I am at this important stage of marketing my designs and products to people, and market-testing. Kamers has also provided me with the first experience of direct selling to customers and, so far, it is going well. People are responding well to my designs and products, and following the Kamers event, I will look to possibly in a small way promote Folksyfine online.” You can contact Anri at email@example.com
To find out more about the Kamers Young Entrepreneurs Initiative, contact Wanda Du Toit Creative Director & Product Selection - firstname.lastname@example.org