About me

Hi, I’m Mark Forrester. An English born South African. An entrepreneurially minded designer. A blogger since 2005. A husband and a dad.


My entrepreneurial timeline

  • 2001-2003 ~ My journey began as a mobile disc jockey (whilst studying at the University of Cape Town). Having worked through the Christmas holidays as a sales temp at Selfridges in London, I came home to Cape Town and purchased sound equipment. Disc jockeying helped to fund my rent and social life. The entrepreneurial bug bit.
  • 2004-2005 ~ After graduating from university I founded my first business, with two fellow graduates. Gravit8 – an I.T business solutions company. Whilst we focussed on networking solutions I explored our web design arm of the business. Gravit8 is still going strong today.
  • 2007-2008 ~ I was asked to work on the design of an African social media aggregator called Afrigator. Instead of charging for my services I requested equity. After a successful first year 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 featured on CNN.
  • 2008-2015 ~ WooThemes. Worthy of it’s own chapter ↓

My first taste of self employment. DJ Lunatick (circa 2003)

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 blog was my testing grounds and creative outlet.

In late 2007, I connected with two like-minded strangers. We were in opposite corners of the world, but shared a common vision – to turn our billable hours into off-the-shelf WordPress products. Commoditising our web design services and growing a more diversified and sustainable income stream.

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 themes and were focussed on making beautiful, innovative design accessible and affordable.

Fast forward a few years, after listening to our customers needs and following our sales metrics, we ventured into plugin development. 

In 2011, we launched WooCommerce – which soon became the most popular eCommerce platform for WordPress. It changed everything.

The WooCommerce team in Berlin, 2015

Fast forward some explosive growth, accompanied by some fantastic highs 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.

After nearly 2 years with Automattic I’ve moved into a non-operational, advisory role. Actively tracking and helping to shape an exciting roadmap for the platform.

80 ninjas ❤️

My passions

mark-woo-photo

Site colophon

  • This site is powered by the woonderful WordPress open source platform, with a few additional plugins.
  • This site uses the Tabor WordPress theme by ThemeBeans.
  • My logo 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.