cape town Tag

Pomegranite inspiration day: August edition

The activity for our August inspiration day was a topic of debate. There were those who wanted to climb Lion’s Head (Riyad really wanted to wear his compression pants), those who were angling for a Hint Hunt (vetoed, quite strongly), and those who thought Clay Café deserved a third visit (Riyad was reluctant, shem).

In the end, we opted for hiring bikes from Upcycles (fun fact: their website was one of the first we ever built) and cycling down the Sea Point Promenade. This has been on our list of potential activities for a while, and as soon as we set off in the sea breeze, I think we all wondered why we’d waited so long to choose this option.READ MORE

The Pomegranite team has grown by one awesome member!

It’s funny how a joke can change your fate.

As you no doubt saw, last week we started the hunt for a great intern. In the course of my regular banter with our freelance developer, Riyad, he joked that he should apply. One thing led to another and he’s now our newest team member!

Things you need to know about Riyad:

– He’s crazy talented

Having worked for institutions like Media24 in front-end development, Riyad’s certainly got the corporate chops but check out his portfolio on his own website and you’ll see how slick his work is.

– He’s absolutely lovely

Seriously. Every interaction is a pleasure.

– He’s into running and his family and friends and he adores his wife.

– He secretly loves it when we call him RiRi

Exhibit A: last year’s birthday card including some hot photoshop:

Rihanna

– He’s broadening our offering. Not only is Riyad a whizz on WordPress but he’s also a master of mailers, hosting, html, css and SEO not to mention his design skills. We’re excited to see his influence on our projects!

So our road shifted direction and we made a different choice but it was clear during my highly entertaining eye conversations with Sarah during that initial phone call with Riyad that this just felt right. We both trust him, we know his work, we know he’s going to be a great asset to Pomegranite.

He starts on Tuesday and we can’t wait to welcome that cheeky face. Stay tuned for his first blog post next week!

The one where we go to Super Tubes for our inspiration day

By now, you’ll know that every month, Pomegranite takes some time to get out of the office and talk about the bigger picture of the business. We’ve gone for lake-side picnics and forest walks, we’ve been surfing and wondering in tree canopies – anything where we get to do something a little out of the ordinary. And fun. But I don’t think we’ve ever had an inspiration day that was this much FUN!

Allow me to present: Muizenberg Water Slides, better known as Super Tubes.

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Look at all that FUN! And thrilling speed!

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… (yes, this is their scariest slide).

The park’s retro vibe continues next door with some bizarre tuckshop advertising and a putt-putt course straight out of ‘The Jetsons’.

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As we arrived, some dark clouds moved in over Muizenberg and a chill settled in the air. Taking a single layer of clothing off seemed less and less appealing, never mind getting wet. We made a deal, we’d only take an hour’s pass and then treat ourselves to hot chololate afterwards. We were here. We were going to make the best of it.

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We were tickled by the spectator fee (and a maximum of two spectators per slider) but didn’t even notice the sign above. The place reminded us so much of The Way Way Back  – it even had it’s own ‘cool guy’ lifesaver complete with aviator shades and an ankle bracelet (à la Sam Rockwell). If you haven’t seen the film, it’s about a teenager who goes from this cringiness…

to this awesomeness…

…via a summer working at a waterslide park.

I can honestly say, there is nothing in the world like a good old water slide to make you feel like a kid again. After the first whooshing, whizzing, giddy go down the slide, we didn’t notice that we were shivering (or that we made far more noise than all the other kids in the area put together).

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And now, for your enjoyment, a snippet of a slide from both of us. First up, Sarah. You can tell she’s on her way because of the shrieks, but the best part (as your can hear by my chuckling) is Sarah getting swept up in the white water of the (very shallow) paddling pool.

Next up, here I come down the curly whurly, good momentum assisting in my dismount complete with a little yelp.

Guys, things got CRAZY. We did a few slides lying down (which makes you go way faster) and even backwards for as long as we could stand it (which wasn’t long). What a marvellous day. It turns out the sun came out and we didn’t even need that hot chocolate.

Do you have any bright ideas for our February inspiration day?

Let us know – we’re always looking for something new and exciting!

What happens when a brand collaborates with its Instagram followers

There’s nothing quite like a hopping on a bike and feeling the breeze in your hair on a sunset bike ride along the picturesque Sea Point promenade. Childhood memories of riding with “no hands” for the first time, the flying sensation of high speeds, near-collisions and scraped knees come flooding back. You can’t help testing your bell – brrrrrring brrrrrrrring – for safety purposes, of course.

But how do you communicate that experience on a website? Having been long-time customers of UpCycles, we got chatting about their website and before we know it, that question was ours to answer. So we checked out UpCycle’s social media presence and found that people had such a blast that they LOVED taking photos of their joyrides. And you can see the what a good time they’re having. So we let them tell the story of what it’s like to rent an UpCycles bicycle by collaborating with them on the UpCycles website.

Here’s a taster of what Instagram users happily contributed to the Upcycles website:

The result?

We used a grid design because we were working with generally square pictures of a relatively low quality (having been shot on the fly with phones most of the time). We used a small slider on the homepage and built links to important pages around it. We got across the important information as succinctly as possible with maps and clearly listed rates and contact details. We also incorporated their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds to show off their online communities.

We had a lot of fun developing this site on a tight timeline and budget – and even more fun hearing how thrilled Jared and Shannon from Up Cycles were when we showed them the end product.

Upcycles website

Partnership, a possum and a flying bulldog

For this month’s Inspiration Day, we decided to get out of the office and get into “the nature”. It was a little chilly for skinny dipping in Silvermine dam so we went for a walk in one of Cape Town’s gems, Deer Park. It’s a tranquil forest nestled at the foot of Table Mountain, just a stone’s throw from the CBD.

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A classic case of a city photo bombing a forest.

We’d just started our stroll when I saw something dash into the brush to our left. It was swift and agile, moving low to the ground – not a rat or a dassie – but it was long and skinny – it definitely wasn’t a squirrel. I stood aghast, filled with the excitement of big game spotting, pointing at it where it was a moment ago, willing Sarah to see the creature but completely unable to find its name. Eventually, I uttered, “possum!” at which point he popped his head out from behind a bush and looked at me as if to say, “Seriously?” and Sarah doubled over laughing. After a few moments, she managed to get out the words, “It’s a mongoose!”. Satisfied that he had been correctly acknowledged, he scampered off again after throwing me a disdainful scowl.

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Sarah, the river sprite.

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Pondering the path of least resistance.

We clambered over some rocks to sit next to a stream in the wintry sun. With some exciting new things happening for Pomegranite very soon, we had the chance to talk about how we wanted our business to work and how we would work together. A guy ran past with a dog trotting behind, obscured but the long grass. Our conversation stopped abruptly when we witnessed a stocky bulldog flying through the air in mid bomb-drop. She landed in the little dam with a glorious splash and I’m pretty sure her flapping cheeks were curled upwards at the edges. Soon enough, she bobbed to the surface, under-bite first and paddled back to her human for more, curly piggy tail wiggling.

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The site of the flying bulldog

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We saw a path striking out from the clearing around the waterway and decided to see where it would go. Once I had got us properly lost and we were wandering around just trying to find our way back to the car park (all romance of the adventure long gone), it struck me how similar getting lost together is to running a business. Both can be tiring and uncomfortable situations where you have to negotiate choices and make decisions. You have to rely on your partner’s skills and trust them. There’s no one else but you and your partner to get through challenges and so you have to stand by him or her and figure it out. Most importantly, you don’t split up. Ever. Because that’s a classic start to a horror movie.

The one where we go surfing at Muizenberg

Once a month, Pomegranite leaves the office for a morning or afternoon, and spends some time out in the world, talking about the business, coming up with new ideas, and just having fun, doing something we will remember with more clarity than answering emails and drawing up invoices.

For our March inspiration day, we decided to visit one of my favourite places in Cape Town, Muizenberg Beach. Liz, who grew up in Durban and hence knows how to surf (the two are synonymous aren’t they?) agreed to teach me the art. Let me just say that I am the biggest Vaalie. Having lived in Cape Town for nearly a year and a half, I still get SO excited when I see the sea and feel the sand between my toes. So, when Liz suggested the surfing idea, let’s just say that I was on board (Yip. That just happened).

If you know me at all, you will know that I am something of a perfectionist, and I am unlikely to quit anything until I get it right. Surfing was no different.

So, from my (vast) experience, here are 10 things every beginner surfer needs to know:

1) Trying to carry a surfboard in the wind is bloody difficult. Have you ever watched someone trying to bath a cat? Ja – it’s kind of like that. Just harder. Top tip: let your business partner carry it. She loves it. And you’re a novice, remember? Do not be afraid to play that card.

2) Set aside a good hour to put your wetsuit on. It’s an acquired skill apparently.

3) Don’t skip the embarrassing “lesson on the sand” part. People have come to the beach primarily to people watch. Do not deprive them of some quality entertainment.

4) You will feel like a child initially. A special needs child. Embrace it. Everyone needs to feel ridiculous from time to time.

5) It is likely that your “teacher” will speak to you in a soothing voice you’ve once heard her use while babysitting a screaming child. She will tell you that you are doing “soooooo well!” And she’s right. Obviously. That nine year old kid has nothing on you.

6) Make sure your wetsuit is the right size. The guy at the surf shop underestimated my height a bit, so I kind of felt like my wetsuit was trying (and succeeding) to choke me the whole time. Not ideal.

7) You will get a lot of sea water up your nose, which is ever so slightly unpleasant. Ever so slightly. On the plus side, no blocked sinus issues for what I can only assume will be the rest of your life.

8) Don’t be afraid to just kneel on the board in the beginning. People may tell you to “stand up, dammit!” But what do they know? You’ve got some moves. They’re just jealous of your lunge.

9) Make sure that you yell loudly at people in your way as you cruise into shore at break-neck speed. They need enough time to throw themselves out of your way. Be considerate.

10) It’s not the most comfortable experience you’ll ever have. But that feeling of riding that final wave right into shore, casually hopping off and dancing a wild victory dance glancing nonchalantly at your “teacher” as she cheers you on… It’s pretty damn amazing.

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Office for the afternoon

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Putting on a wetsuit is HARD

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As I said…

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Post-surf smugness