Mungo’s inner city micro mill and shop showcases artisan textiles in the CBD

Discover how Mungo’s beautifully woven linens and homeware are made at the new Cape Town store, where a restored antique loom clacks away while you browse. Co-owner Tessa Holding tells us more.

How did your business start?
Mungo was founded in 1998 by my father, master weaver Stuart Holding. He was given two antique looms, which he restored and started weaving. These homeware pieces started selling in small boutique stores around South Africa and eventually the world. Five years ago, my brother, Dax, and I joined Mungo with the goal of expanding the business and creating our own dedicated Mungo stores. We took over the old trading store at Old Nick Village in Plettenberg Bay as our flagship shop and now have stores in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Why did you choose this area for your business?
As a family, the commercial shopping mall environment has never really been us. Our product is unique, manufactured in a hands-on and responsible environment. Being in the city centre attracts an overseas market looking for something unique and different. I think we achieve that here.

How did you find your premises?
We looked for about three years! It was a struggle to find the perfect spot with good visibility, foot traffic and a charming building. These proved to be pricey and in huge demand. When we found 78 Hout Street, the building didn’t have all the superficial requirements, but we really loved the idea of renting the entire building where we could have a micro mill – so customers have a real idea of how we weave on a 100-year-old loom – shop and offices in one.

Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
It has wonderful bones and when you walk in, it has a great airy feel. There’s space for retail, weaving and offices. It’s central and close to other like-minded stores.

Who are your neighbours?
CD Fox, with their fantastic ropes and twines, is a Cape Town institution. Also, Prince and Prince, who deal in beautiful jewellery and gems.

What are the rental/sales prices like in this area?
Rental in some spaces in town is overly elevated. But there are still gems that have a fair rental price. We got lucky.

How many people go through your store each day?
Haven’t counted! But we’re happy with our trading to date. We’re a destination, so our clients seek us out and know what they want, or international visitors discover us and are completely intrigued by the clacking of the loom and our story.

Do you have any expansion plans?
We have just broken ground on our new mill and manufacturing facility in Plett. One of a kind in the world, it’ll be open to the public to see the ultimate transparency in production and how we do it. Very exciting.

Do you operate online as well?
Yes, we do. Free delivery in South Africa and worldwide shipping.

What’s your most popular item?
Our flat weave towels are a real hit. But we have a wide range that appeals to many different customers.
See for yourself:
Mungo
021 201 2374
mungo.co.za

Words: Kit Heathcock Images: Supplied

 

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