Words: Kit Heathcock | Images: Supplied
Known for their stylish functional furniture with a slick urban feel, MotherCityHardware recently won Best Product Design for their modular kitchen island at 100% Design South Africa 2018. Founder Marco Simal tells us about their new showroom space in the East City.
How did your business start?
The business started three years ago. A client requested an industrial-style storage solution and after developing the original item, we decided to explore the possibility of creating a range. Unbeknown to us, there was a greater demand for this type of product than we had anticipated, so we decided to formalise the offering and created MotherCityHardware.
Why did you choose this area to set up?
We recently launched a co-working space called Tiny Empire in the East City, so we were aware of the changes going on in the neighbourhood, which seemed very promising. We decided to test the waters with a showroom within Tiny Empire to see how people would respond.
How did you find your premises?
The showroom was part of our original scheme when developing Tiny Empire. We found the site for that when my business partner, Justin Rhodes, heard that it was going on auction. The site was in a bad state. We spent a year renovating the building as well as reinstating the facade of the building to its original design from over 100 years ago.
Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
The large street-facing shopfront onto a busy road was a big drawcard, as well as the unique double-volume space.
Who are your neighbours?
Swan Cafe and Truth Coffee are across the road from us, and as part of Tiny Empire, we have our own Deluxe Coffee Works in the building.
What are the rental prices like in this area?
The rental prices in the area are still competitive. It’s still up and coming, so prices aren’t restrictive, but as footfall increases, I presume this will change.
How many people visit your business each day?
It’s hard to say. During the week the majority of visitors are tourists who are exploring the neighbourhood, the rest are customers coming with the intention of visiting us.
Do you have any expansion plans?
We don’t have any at this point – we feel strongly that online works well for us and will be launching our e-commerce platform soon.
Do you operate online as well?
You can view our products and order online at mothercityhardware.com.
What’s your most popular item?
Our mini-lockers are a firm favourite at the moment. We hope in time that our award-winning kitchen island, will become a popular solution for new homeowners.
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