In case you missed it, we showcased some of the gorgeous products in our new Mzansi Beautiful range at the Freedom Weekend Market last weekend. This soft launch was not only an opportunity to share stunning, locally made products, but it was also a wonderful vibe and an array of wonderful traders.
We’ll be at the Freedom Weekend Market again this weekend, weather permitting, from Saturday (9am to 4pm) through to Sunday (9am to 3pm).
We spoke with Annalet, visionary of the Freedom Weekend Market, about the heart and soul of the project. If you want to know what to expect from the Paarl-based market, then read on.
All images in this blog are from the Freedom Weekend Market Facebook page.
“The barn was vacant for 2 years. It was erected to be a huge jump yard for estate kids, but the developer became bankrupt. Tania and I had a glass of wine and brainstormed what we could do with the empty barn and shed. That’s how the idea for the Freedom Weekend Market started.
We drew up a business plan and the landlord gave us the go-ahead. That was two months into lockdown. It was very challenging and bold, but we just believed that it was going to work.
We believed that it would give a lot of people a new lease on life and an income. Even though people thought we were crazy to start something like that in the midst of Covid, we knew we had the perfect location and that Paarl/Franschhoek needed something like this.
Both of us borrowed money and started working at the beginning of May. We did everything ourselves - building a bridge, planting grass, painting, building counters, standing on scaffolding 10 meters high in the air, etc. We worked 10 hours a day, 7 days a week for 5 months. Our families helped at times... joking that we use cheap child labour.
Every day of this journey was fun. It was challenging but so rewarding. Never did we doubt our dream.”
“Right from the start, we decided that it will be an upmarket market. Not your average ‘kersmark’ and decided that we will rather have open spaces than fill it with junk for the sake of rental income. We stuck to this diligently. We advertised on social media, had interviews and then decided who we wanted there.
Exclusivity is a priority. We need to give every vendor a fair chance to be successful - and therefore there can’t be more than one vendor selling the same thing. We believe in ‘live and let live’ and that their success will guarantee ours.
Therefore, we are already a very close group of friends. We call our vendors the Freedom Weekend Market-tribe. We have a weekly newsletter with info and personal trivia to keep everyone engaged.”
“The Freedom Weekend Market forms part of Freedom Village. There is also a bar, deli, nursery, florist, etc. on the premises. The Wemmershoek Road Passing by Freedom Village will be renamed to Freedom Road this year as it passes the prison in which Nelson Mandela stayed for many years. We knew this - thus the name Freedom Weekend Market.
Our vision is to be a place that you choose to meet with old friends, make new ones, unwind, be human and be free. Where people support each other and where there will always be a vibrant, energetic, positive vibe. Where you can ‘slow down and soak it up’.”
If you want to find out more about the Freedom Weekend Market, you can visit their Facebook page. Follow their progress that started off as a dream and a vision, before manifesting into a reality.
The Mzansi Beautiful team is honoured to be a part of this noble project, and we encourage you to come on by and say hi this weekend!