Hi. I’m Mark Forrester, an English born South African. A designer turned entrepreneur. A husband and a dad.
Over the past 15 years I’ve started a few companies, but my most notable has to be WooThemes (acquired in 2015).
My early entrepreneurial escapades
- 2001-2003 – My first entrepreneurial experience was as a mobile disc jockey, which helped pay for my rent & beer during university days (University of Cape Town).
- 2004-2005 – Together with two university friends we launched Gravit8 – an I.T business solutions company. The company is still going strong without me.
- 2007-2008 – I met some smart South African techies and we launched an African social media aggregator called Afrigator. I was the designer on the team. Shortly after we were acquired by MIH Print Africa.
- 2008 – I helped my wife launch African Cartel. Helping traffic light artists sell their work online. Our short film appeared on CNN.
Winning others over
For many years, alongside my startup adventures, I had been freelancing in the UK as a web designer, working with a variety of international businesses. Getting paid by the hour 🙁
I was experimenting with a blogging platform called WordPress. This site was my testing grounds and creative outlet.
In late 2007, I connected with 2 like-minded strangers – via their WordPress sites. We were in opposite corners of the world, but shared a common goal – to turn our billable hours into off the shelf products. Commoditising our services and growing more passive income streams.
In 2008, we registered a company together – WooThemes. WooThemes was born as a globally distributed company (with a small IRL presence in Cape Town). We built commercial WordPress templates and were focussed on making beautiful, innovative design accessible and affordable.
A few years later, after listening to our customers needs, we started developing plugins – and it changed everything. We launched WooCommerce – which soon became the most popular eCommerce platform for WordPress.
Fast forward some explosive growth, and hard learnings, WooThemes was acquired by Automattic.
Our quest remains – to democratise eCommerce, whilst making meaningful contributions to open source software. WooCommerce.com is now home to all things Woo.
- Being a dad and growing humans.
- I ❤️ taking photos.
- I’m an experimental beer brewer.
- I’m a Newcastle United football fan. Howay the lads!
- I’m learning to surf.
- This site is powered by the wonderful WordPress, with a variety of plugins, for its content management.
- This site uses the Twenty Fifteen WordPress theme with some minor custom CSS modifications.
- My comical logo encapsulates my family name and obsession with plaid shirts. It was designed by the talented, Cape Town based illustrator and cartoonist, Alex Latimer.
- Whilst I’m not particularly proud of my early archive of blog posts it encapsulates my journey and maturity as a designer, entrepreneur and human.