What we do
The Africa Craft Trust enhances livelihood opportunities for craft artisans in three primary ways:
“The instructors were responsible because they took us seriously and respected us…”
— Richard Mothubane, Richard’s Arts and Crafts, Welgewal, North West.
Products of our collaborations with craft groups can be found in prominent window displays of retail stores from Johannesburg to New York. They kindle keen consumer interest. Similarly, baskets made by crafters whom we have assisted in places such as Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) may be transported across the Indian Ocean, and end up being sold in trendy settings such as the Santushti Market in Delhi (India).
Our product design and development draws on local and international expertise in developing craft products which appeal to contemporary buyers across the globe.
“The Trust must not go. It helps us greatly by increasing our orders and sales. We want to increase our relationship. We love them."
— Nolitha Sulelo from Masande, Mthatha Eastern Cape.
Our hands-on-training programs – in how to access markets, design better products or improve the skills and confidence of craft artisans – are tailored to produce practical and tangible results.
The Trust runs an Access Markets for Profit program in conjunction with a major trade-only gift show. Among other things, the AMP assists market-ready craft businesses to understand the dynamics of wholesale and retail markets as well as giving access to potential buyers.
"The learning methodology [used] was very participatory [and] the facilitators were very excellent in giving more time to participants. The workshop was mainly covered by practical exercises. The workshop was not ‘another workshop’, it was really beneficial …"
— Matabbeki Mudenda workshop participant, Binga Craft Centre, Zimbabwe
“I first attended the Trust’s training more than 10 years ago. It brought a great impact into our business and we started exporting our products with out fear, as we learnt how to cost our products, how to pack them and understand FOB and EX-Works for national and international markets. In August 2017 I attended the AMP again as I take the challenge of exhibiting myself at wholesale and retail shows. It also refreshed my mind on product development, color trend and market readiness. My team is capable of handling huge orders for buyers such as TJmaxx, Cost Plus and HomeGoods while still not forgetting our small and longtime buyers…”
— Professor Pedro, Professional Wireworks, Cape Town
“A heartfelt thank you for the amazing few days we spent together - this course has allowed me to step out of my day to day, and look at my business from the outside in. I was able to meet and interact with other talented artisans, which sparked ideas and motivation to continue. The facilitators were approachable, kind and accommodating, taking special interest in the challenges of each very different individual participant. I’m renewed and excited to introduce new products and scout for additional sales channels.”
— Shingai Nyagweta, KuNa Kids, Johannesburg
Enhanced market accessibility
We strengthen craft artisans’ business and marketing capacities to meet global market demands. A critical aspect of our work is to link artisans with markets, thereby generating much improved sales. Tailored marketing campaigns and exhibition at top trade shows enable us to create sustainable links between crafters and buyers.
More than 80% of the craft artisans we work with are women. This is a deliberate aspect of our work. There is extensive research evidence that empowering women has a remarkable multiplier effect in terms of the improvements it helps bring about in women’s and children’s health and wellbeing, enhanced social capital and more resilient communities. We are proud that our work supports the empowerment of women.