Last weekend, the Walmer Park basement played host to ConFuze, a new PE-based expo celebrating geek culture and all things vintage and retro. Since I’m trying to support more small, local businesses, it was really great being exposed to how much PE actually has in the geek and vintage line. The expo had everything from old stamp collections, antique furniture, second hand clothes, and collectible action figures to bath bombs, succulents, video games, books, and a cosplay clinic. There were toys and games for little children, and old cars for “bigger” children. And there was a huge variety of amazing looking treats to snack on.
It was a fun activity for the morning, and with entrance at R20 it didn’t exactly break the bank to go in. When I went on Friday morning it was nice and quiet, which made browsing a lot more pleasant and meant I could chat to some of the stall owners. When I went back to man the Exclusive Books stall on Saturday afternoon, there was a bit more hustle and bustle, so I’d imagine shopping was not as much fun. That was when all the cosplayers broke out though, and seeing them was so cool! So I guess it’s just a question of if you’re looking for convenience or atmosphere.
At the moment, I’m not sure if they have any plans to make this a regular thing, or if ConFuze was just a once off, but I’m all for more events that embrace all things nerdy, so let’s hope it happens again and starts growing. In the meantime though, I thought I’d share some of my favourite businesses from the weekend.
Mel Dixon is still studying, and creates the most amazing art in her downtime. She does her fair share of geeky art, with incredible superhero and Star Wars drawings, and also has some adorable Disney pieces. It seems that most of her prints are R150 for A3, which is a really good price, considering most big companies charge at least R100 for mass-produced A4 prints. In addition to all the amazing pieces she already has, she also takes commissions.
I was blown away by how cute Annieka Marais’ jewellery is. It’s all handmade, out of either silver or polymer clay. With everything from DC and Marvel to Pokemon to Star Trek to Disney, there’s something for every fandom, and if you don’t want to wear your love for Minnie Mouse on your ears (basphemy!!) she has a wide range of ‘normal’ jewellery as well.
Contact Annieka on 079 491 0190 or email@example.com, or find her on Facebook.
Just from seeing the display space at Confuze, I think Cupboard Love might be my new favourite shop in PE. There’s rustic furniture, macrame pot hangers, adorable baby clothes, and the most amazing bath bomb scents I’ve ever seen. I think I’ll take a milk tart bath over a Lush one any day! I had a quick chat to the owner, Carryn, and while the shop is a platform for some of her and her husband’s work, she also functions as something of a gallery space for other local businesses, and helps them get themselves off the ground.
SUCCULENTS ON CAPE
Yes. Yes I did find a whole shop dedicated to succulents. Are you dead yet? Because I am. Succulents are amazing. These pots are adorable. And you need these hanging plants in your life. Nuff said. In addition to selling succulents, cacti, and aloe, they also do landscaping.
Call Succulents on Cape on 084 515 3485 to make an appointment, visit their website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I love the whole aesthetic of steampunk so I was immediately drawn to this stall. I’m actually seriously considering putting together some sort of steampunk cosplay, because I could definitely rock a bustle skirt. Whatever your steampunk needs, Lynette Penny’s shop will have you covered. She has clothing, goggles, chokers, and a range of other accessories. It is based in Cape Town, but the fact that she was at a PE expo makes me assume she’s happy to post or courier to PE.
Contact Lynette on 072 264 1246, email@example.com, or visit her Facebook page.
Artifactory make the coolest figurines set in the magical medieval world of Arcana. They’re made from whatever Bruce and Natascha can get their hands on, and these little guys are so unique. Considering everything is handcrafted, and the amount of work that must go into these, they’re really reasonably priced. They’ll make the perfect addition to any fantasy lover’s book, game, or DVD shelf. They’ve even made full chess sets before!
I can’t stress enough how important it is to shop small and/or local. Remember that when you support small businesses, you’re giving real people the means to survive and live their dreams, rather than feeding into a system that profits the rich and exploits the poor. Add that to the fact that small businesses are usually much kinder to the environment (even more so when you shop local), and there’s really no reason not to shop small. And remember that while the prices might be higher, you get what you pay for in terms of quality and passion. Seems worth it to me.