We’ve all been subjected to listening to success stories, right? They often involve some sort of underdog who ends up on the cover of a self-help book in a flashy suit or on a yacht somewhere sipping margaritas and donating lots to charity. Don’t get me wrong –those stories are great, but they often leave me wondering about all the other great people out there whose stories haven’t been shared.

The story of Redfern is a pretty great one -not so much your typical, glitzy success story but rather an ongoing story of hard work, babysteps (or not so baby steps)and an appetite for growth.I had the privilege of hearing this story from Redfern’s founder and CEO, David Boolsen –a man with a heart of gold and a beard of great magnitude.David’s wife, Cheryl, joined us too –she is equally as lovely despite being significantly less hairy.

It was never David’s intention to go into the label industry as a young man. He was in fact on his way to becoming a seller of fire extinguishers when his father found a flyer advertising a job as a label salesman. Rather impulsively, David applied for and successfully got the label job and as he says in his own words, “it just sort of stuck.” After 13 years of learning the label industry, David saw the opportunity for a wider vision in the market and so broke away in order to pursue this…

And so Redfern was (not so glamorously) born in the base of an apple carton on the back seat of a beaten up BMW. Through numerous expansions, initially to the other half of the apple carton to a cupboard and then a home garage, Redfern began to flourish. Cheryl spoke of the hilarious and rapid invasion Redfern made through their home in their early years of marriage until they were eventually forced, happily so, to move out due to the expansion of the business. David amplified his team and the development of the Redfern brand until they needed to officially launch the project that would become the Redfern offices in Cape Town as they are today.

When asked about the greatest joy that Redfern has brought him, David did not hesitate for a moment before letting me in on his ultimate Redfern celebrations. The first of these is the Redfern family. David loves and knows each of his staff and appreciates the hard work and quirkiness that they bring to make Redfern what it is today. Secondly, David is immensely proud, in the most sincere and humble sense of the word, of the Redfern brand. He has watched it grow and struggle and grow some more and ultimately become an industry icon that delivers on the reliability that it promotes.

Is Redfern’s story a story of success? Yes! Is it a success story? Maybe not so much in the typical sense…Redfern’s story is totally authentic. The people who Redfern has impacted, the mark it has made in the label industry and the growth it seeks despite many challenges that are faced on a local and global scale are testimony to that.

Watch this space to hear more stories from Redfern! We may not have yachts, but we have some pretty great stories :)


                                                                                                                      -Jess Elliott

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