Haas Collective launched in March 2011 and consists of a concept store, a design gallery and a high-end coffee house and roastery, as well as the agency, all tucked into two buildings across from one another in Rose Street in the Bo-Kaap.
It quite literally is a collective of small creative spaces and businesses that collaborate when need be. Wallpaper magazine recently voted the space one of the top 20 reasons to be in South Africa.
Different people are involved in different aspects of the collective. For example the gallery is managed by Francois Irvine and Vanessa Berlein, while the agency consists of Gylnn Venter, Mike Orrey, Francios de Villiers and Nick Barr.
Venter helped start the various businesses as the right partners came along and didn't initially plan for them to feed off one another to the extent that they do - but, today, the concept store readily ties in with the gallery which ties in again with the agency - all in all, the design collective represents 50-60 up-and-coming designers and illustrators which any of the businesses can call on as required.
While the other parts of the business have attracted considerable media attention, Venter says the agency has kept a low profile while it built up its business.
Haas Collective also collaborates with Draftfcb in Johannesburg on parts of the Old Mutual account. It won the Spur account in mid-January 2012 and will take up the account 1 March.
The account win has lead Haas to appoint Nick Barr a heavy-weight account director, who will eventually be mentored into an MD role; a new account executive; a copywriter and and art director and really strong admin/finance division. For the rest, the agency works on a collaborative model, bringing in a wide range of experts, as and when required.
De Villiers says the collaborative model allows Haas to step around the numerous middlemen big-agency operations layer between the creative decision-makers and the client decision-makers. The specialists the agency use, be they photographers, CRM specialists, or directors and producers, include the best in their areas.
Those collaborators have their own trusted suppliers, and so the model ripples out to the advantage of the agency and its client, with best-of-breed relationships in place all along the production chain.
Venter says the other businesses in the collective keep the agency close to consumers. For Orrey, the advantage of shared space is keeping a lid on costs in a tough economy - something that ultimately benefits clients as well.
Read more about Glynn, Mike, Nick and Francois here