Q & A with Felix and Manus Holm, owners, Maker Station in Woodstock Creative and practical jacks of all trades
Felix and Manus Holm started Maker Station about a year ago. A shared workshop space, members have access to a wide selection of tools, equipment and expertise – from a small foundry to welding equipment, woodworking, 3-D printing and so on – and can rent space and tools on a short-term basis for the duration of a project. At its core is a strong community ethos, so if you don’t have the skills, you can get practical help and advice, or else job out more complicated aspects to other members.
Q: How did your business start?
A: My brother Manus and I both happened to need new premises at the same time. We’d been looking at the maker spaces concept which is popular in Europe and decided to rent a bigger warehouse than we needed and sublet the extra space. We joined forces with all our equipment and went from there.
Q: Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
A: It’s well located within the Woodstock creative area, between the Woodstock Exchange and the Old Biscuit Mill, close to many of our typical customers. It’s also close to the Paarden Eiland industrial area where a lot of our suppliers are, and to the CBD. People work here after hours, and as a mixed use area with residential property, it isn’t scarily deserted at night.
Q: How did you find your premises?
A: We’d been looking for more than a year all over the City Bowl, using agents, but in the end we drove past by accident and saw the To Let sign.
Q: Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
A: It’s a light industrial building with two floors, so we can separate out the dirtier, heavy work onto one floor and keep the other for clean desktop and craft use. There aren’t many residential neighbours, so the noise factor isn’t a problem.
Q: Who are your neighbours?
A: A taxi company, a props rental company, sculptors’ studios, a foundry and a block of flats where a lot of our DIY members come from.
Q: What are the shop rental/ sales prices like in this area?
A: It’s cheaper than the City Bowl, but more expensive than a dedicated industrial area. As a service business with easy access for the public we have the best of both worlds.
Q: What is your shop footprint?
A: Five to 10 members working in the space most days.
Q: Do you have any expansion plans?
A: We want to expand on this business model and put up another satellite hub somewhere like Stellenbosch, developing our network of resources.
Q: Do you operate online as well?
A: We have an online directory listing everything from suppliers to experts and consultants.
Q: What’s your most popular service?
A: Renting short-term workshop space to people working on a specific project and, in our own work, assembling artworks for the community of sculptors and artists
082 923 8293