A creative hub, a shared work area, a gallery, a studio, a functions venue and a café. . . it’s hard to define exactly what Tribe032 is. But therein lies the beauty of this creative space and collaborative brainchild. And the possibilities are endless.
It was an idea Ballito friends Gavin Higgins and Dustin Scott had been toying with and chatting about for a while. Then, when the right space became available and the stars seemingly aligned a couple of months ago, they took a leap of faith and opened Tribe032.
Both self-employed, Gavin and Dustin started the project with the goal of bringing together like-minded people who could share a work space, bounce ideas off each other and form a creative synergy.
“We wanted to create something that was different from the typical corporate-feel workstations. It has an open plan design, making it very inclusive and geared toward creatives,” says Gavin, a professional photographer.
Passionate about sharing his ideas and knowledge with people who are interested in photography, Gavin often offers free photography workshops and has a fully-kitted-out professional photography studio at Tribe032.
His partner, Dustin, who has years of graphic design experience, says that they have realised that most creatives face similar challenges. “The creative industry is often undervalued and under-appreciated, more so in Durban than in Cape Town and Johannesburg. But we love living here and believe that if we all come together, regardless of what business we do, align our ideas and help each other, we can change this mindset.”
Born in Durban, Dustin moved to Ballito 14 years ago. He worked for a few local publications, radio stations and marketing agencies before making the decision, four years ago, to go on his own and focus on design and illustration. Father of a four-year-old son named Eli, Dustin says a lot of his decision was based on wanting more time and flexibility with his son.
Gavin fell in love with photography after being given a camera as a gift. “I got bored shooting on auto mode, so I did a course. The first photo shoot I did was with my now wife, Caro. I put the pics up on Facebook and soon started getting requests to do family shoots. It snowballed and now, seven years later, it is a full-time business where I focus mainly on wedding and portrait photography.” An entrepreneur at heart, Gavin has owned a number of successful businesses from the age of 21, including cocktail bars, coffee shops and an advertising business. “I think my strength lies in the fact that I’m not scared of trying something new. I’m curious by nature and if I want to do something, I just do it and figure it out as I go.” Gavin and Caro have a two-year-old daughter named Eva. “I’m very lucky to be in my 30’s and have successful businesses in place that allow me time with my family and the ability to do something like Tribe032, where I can give back and share my success with other like-minded people.”
A multi-use space, Tribe032 is situated in the heart of Ballito’s business park and consists of a café downstairs, a photography studio and even a soon-to-open podcast studio, where people can do pretty much everything they need to with top audio-visual equipment, including sound, camera, mics and mixing desks. Perfect for people wanting to take their business to the next level, without having to go out and buy expensive equipment and learn how to use it.
The café downstairs caters both for those wanting a quiet space to work with a good cup of coffee, as well as local businesses wanting food or drinks delivered.
“It’s difficult to ‘box it’ and say exactly what Tribe032 is. It can be whatever it needs to be and it is evolving all the time. We are open to ideas and finding out what people are looking for – whether it’s a space for product launches, events and team building, a photography studio or a welcoming work space. We are very versatile. We’re not looking to make a huge profit here – we want to create a space where like-minded people who respect and appreciate creativity can come together,” says Gavin.
Text: Leah Shone | Photographs: Stephen Rowley