It was the year 1992 and with 2 of my 3 kids already born, I was a stay-at-home mom. Happy with my choice, but in need of some extra income, I was walking around the Boeremark in Pretoria – looking for some ideas. Here I was fortunate enough to meet Mr Schnetler of Schnetler Honey Products – he gracefully allowed me to sell his honey and beauty products ‘on consignment’. And the products I could not sell, I could simply bring back to him. That was wonderful, since I did not have any cash to buy stock – and he took all the risk away from me.
What happened next was actually a small seed that was planted for the Rietmark booklets, 5 years later. One Saturday in May I printed 400 invitations on small yellow flyers, and posted it in every postbox in Rietondale. Quite embarrased that somebody would see me playing ‘postman’, I managed to deliver all 400 without being seen by too many people… On the flyer was an invitation to my home, where I was selling honey, rusks and chips (which I bought in Koedoespoort). When the big day arrived, everything was spread out on a table on my front stoep, and I wasn’t expecting anything more to happen. But that is where the Rietondale community surprised me – 15 people arrived and supported me!
However, I didn’t plan to have another ‘market’, but rather started selling honey and now also asparagus, dried fruit, jams, etc at the old age homes in the vicinity instead. About two months later a friend asked if I’m going to have another market-day, since she would like to exhibit her clothing range as well. And so started a monthly market and tea-garden in my front garden. When sending out my next flyers, I decided to call the market ‘Rietmark‘ – an abbreviation for ‘Rietondale Mark’. Eventually I distributed between 5000 and 10000 flyers in the Moot – on my own, sometimes with one of my kids on the back! Usually it took me about 4 or 5 days – but this was also the experience I needed for later managing my own posting team for the distribution of the Rietmark booklets.
The Rietmark was flourishing and for the next 3 years I enjoyed meeting all the regular visitors, but after 3 years there was so many copy-cat markets, that I decided to call it a day. Due to my business experience, one of the estate agents in the area gave me the opportunity to work for her estate agency. For one year I learned a lot about the property market, but it was very difficult hours for a mom with now already 3 kids, the youngest still only one year old.
In 1996 I met another lady, doing community work in the rural areas around Brits and Soshanguve. Putting all my energy into the cause, but without receiving any money for the effort, petrol, etc, it wasn’t sustainable. However, I did manage to establish a profitable business in KwaNdebele – asking the Ndebele women to paint their traditional patterns on candles, and me selling it to the tourism shops in Sandton and Pretoria. After me and my three kids nearly had an accident on the infamous Moloto-road, I decided it was not worth the risk. At that stage I was doing the trip to KwaNdeble two or three times per week.
I made the decision to rather work closer to home, and try to do something that assists small businesses in the Moot. After 9 months of research, getting the idea and planning of the business, the first Rietmark was distributed in November 1997. Beverley and Neville from Imprint Printing lived just around the corner and printed the first edition of 1100 booklets. Saving every cent I could, my three kids sat at our kitchen table to fold and sort the booklets, before I took the booklets for posting in all the post boxes of Rietondale, Riviera and Deerness. And the name of the booklet? Off course, it could only be Rietmark!!