Our story started in 2007, when Mark started Secbands. He wanted to ensure his company was promoting quality, as he says ‘Quality never goes out of fashion’. That company was built on three pillars known as QSP: Quality, Service and Price (in that order!)
In 2011, an Engraving division was added. Mark went in search of a machine that provided something different and he found one that specifically engraved a deep, black mark on metal. He had something unique to offer! That business supplied the trade; insurance companies, car dealerships, estate agents and corporates (big and small) throughout Southern Africa.
However, many of these trade clients requested a once-off item for their own personal use, be it for a loved one, a birthday or an anniversary, and some required a quirky line or quote. No shop could offer this service and this quality at an affordable price. The concept of YourBestMark was born.
‘When I was a youngster I visited Spain and attended a bullfight (awful), my parents bought me a poster which, when we exited, had had my name printed in between the two bullfighter names. It remained on my bedroom wall for many years and started the desire to have my name or initials on all types of items; pencils, pens, keyrings, cufflinks, belt buckles, boxes, vehicle number plates and more. Somehow it made me feel special. Over the years I found the joy of giving personalised items including Birthday cards (www.moonpig.co.uk) to my friends and especially to my sister. She is difficult (sic) as her name is spelt in such a way that no shop-bought item could provide me with – Michèle. If I found an item with Michelle on it and gave it to her I’m sure her gift to me would be Marc!
In 2017, we decided to launch YourBestMark as a separate engraving company which would supply both the Trade and Public, to cater for volume and single items and to offer the QSP as required.
Today we have developed a small but powerful collection of practical gifts beautifully engraved which highlight the desire of personalisation from our customers. These gifts are indeed long-lasting, timeless memories.’
Again Mark recounts:
‘I was not prepared for such an emotional response. Initially, it came from our Staff who bought these items for their family and friends, the reaction was tear-jerking. It is always wonderful to hear and see such emotional stories from our customers as we delight in that we, too, were involved in making the gift a success.’
YourBestMark will strive to grow (slowly) to ensure that our Quality and Service are not compromised. We always relish the opportunity to hear from our customers to see how we can improve our service and the range of products. Nothing is more humbling than to be of service to our customers and their needs.
Can we do the same for you?
PS: I gave my sister Michèle a personalised Cheeseboard to mark her 60th birthday (sorry Michèle now they all know!). It featured her name and some quirky (rude) remarks around cheese and age. I am the younger brother after all but perhaps not her favourite…anymore!
Can’t see the trees for the wood!
Sustainability in wood is important to YBM. Consequently, we ensure that the woods we buy are not on the endangered list but instead are grown for use. Uniquely, we seek African Exotic woods and we can show you how to best care for these woods. Poor care or no care can result in these personalised gifts being ruined.
I remember a heart-shaped Maple board I was given; unfortunately, it was washed and left to drip dry in its own little puddle. That caused the wood to warp and crack; my heart was broken… literally.
We can suggest a care policy for the various woods we supply. Some need no care, some can be left in water (Iroko) while some should be washed and dried! With wood, some people fall in love with the grain, the colour, the durability, and some people just want the design on any type of wooden board.
Scientific name: Pterocarpus angolensis
The Kiaat or wild teak is a heavy, strong durable wood native to southern Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zaire, Zimbabwe and Zambia.) It is often called the blood tree and the red sap is used as a dye. This deciduous tree grows to a medium to large height of around 5-13m, but can reach up to 30m! Kiaat is in high demand. The timber, often used for building and making furniture, is a great wood for carving.
We tend to use it on our circular boards as it is lighter in weight and is a three-piece board with different shading giving it a beautiful look. We suggest waxing this wood as mineral oil can often over darken it.
Scientific name: Milicia excelsa
Iroko is sometimes referred to as African teak, (although it is unrelated to the teak family). It is a large hardwood tree from the west coast of tropical Africa that can live up to 500 years. The wood colour is initially yellow but darkens to a richer brown over time.
It is a very durable wood and is used for boat-building, domestic flooring and furniture. Iroko doesn’t require regular treatment with mineral oil or wax, although being a tough wood it is difficult to work with, as it tends to blunt tools. Oiling and waxing always assist all woods.
We recommend this wooden board to the restaurant trade as the board to serve food instead of plates. It takes a knife well and, being a tight pore wood, is both water and bacteria resistant. Restaurants, pubs and clubs often abuse their kitchenware but Iroko can take it. We try to manufacture it as a two-tone light and dark board as the engraving is enhanced.
Scientific name: Khaya ivorensis
This is the most important tree species providing African mahogany. The species can grow to be large – 30 to 35 meters tall with trunks over one metre in diameter. The species is one of the most important for timber plantations since the trees grow quickly and produce high-quality wood.
It is used for dugout canoes and as a general beam, doorframe and shelving timber, which is termite and borer resistant. Its reddish colour makes it look great in the kitchen or home which is further enhanced with our mineral oil and wax. People love it because it is not plain brown!
Scientific name: Millettia laurentii
African Rosewood is being used whole or in veneers for piano casings and other kinds of cabinetwork and for tools, instruments, brush backs, and other articles. The oil obtained from the wood and leaves is being used in fragrances and soaps.
Harder and heavier than either Brazilian or Indian Rosewood, because of its interlocking grain, it is one of the more difficult Mahogany species to bend and can blunt woodworking tools due to its hardness. There is no doubt this is too heavy for a cutting board so is best in smaller sizes. We use it as a balancing board where it shows off the pink and white lines. A heavy wood to support your better bottles!