What started as an idea, originally from exhibiting at flea markets on weekends, turned into a lifelong dream which surpassed all expectations. I bought my first laser cutter and remember how excited I was when I was first able to design and cut out basic shapes such as hearts…
From the start, my loved ones journeyed with me and endured hours and hours of discussions about the possibilities of designing and selling decor items. I eventually expanded from a flea market stall to a shop called Kirton Crafts. The shop went from strength to strength and quickly became a must go to destination for visitors visiting MacBanana Lifestyle Centre on the South Coast. I decided to move to Hartbeespoort and subsequently sold my first store.
I am proud to say that the store is still one of MacBanana Lifestyle Centre main attractions to this day. Make sure to visit on your next South Coast trip! Having arrived in Hartbeespoort, I immediately looked for the next adventure. Again, our start was a small and humble one, doing flea markets on weekends, sometimes making a loss after a long days work. This was definitely challenging, but I seek possibilities in every hardship so decided to recreate Kirton Crafts in Hartbeespoort. Many hours of discussions, sometimes heated with family and friends, lead to us approaching the then owner of the current property where Harties Lifestyle Centre is today. Realising the risk involved in setting up shop with no guarantee that it would be successful, we first considered renting the grounds.
Our initial idea was to set up and host a 10 day market on the grounds, which we did. The opening weekend surpassed all expectations, leaving us with a big decision to make. Do we stick with the initial idea of a 10 day market or do we go all in and make this a permanent destination? Being adventurous, we decided to opt for the permanent and focus on our massive 1500m2 Hart Mark Building.
This was a huge challenge seeing us building and improving 7 days per week, many a time through the night, seeing the sun come up before packing the tools away. As a result of my nature being adventurous and full out, we soon bought the property. What you see and experience today came with very hard work, dedication and passion.
The business to this day is passion driven. We have a heart for seeing visitors enjoying a day or night out at Hart Mark. You will notice that development on the property has happened fairly quickly. We have many more exciting plans for the future of Hart Mark, but remain focused on the needs of our visitors and customers. We have a Heart for the creatives and visitors to North West.
Through trials and tribulations have we learned that not all our exciting ideas appeal to visitors. This keeps us humble and ensures that we remain focused on making Hart Mark a place for the entire country to enjoy. Once COVID-19 hit our Lock Down in South Africa, the Hart Mark team quickly took initiative and started brainstorming the future of the company. Through extensive research with great industry leaders and other renowned platforms, we have launched the now Hart Mark Online Market Place for exhibitors to sell and showcase their unique products to the entire South Africa and abroad from one, well marketed shopping platform online. Hart Mark Online Shopping has been the well taken next step for the future of markets in South Africa. Hart Mark Online is paying of well to each online exhibitor and each public client.
I really do care about the opinions of our visitors and although we do not always get it right the first time, I believe that our customers and visitors appreciate the fact that we always give our utmost best to ensure a great experience.
We are proud to say that we have built close working relationships with other industry leaders in and around South Africa since our launch. We do not see ourselves being in competition with any of the many platforms available, but feel proud to be part of the core network offering South Africa a creative online shopping experience.
Always look for an opportunity!
Stanley Kirton & the team