This is a wonderful project that was brought to my attention by Margaret McKenzie, Senior Associate of our CIDA Africa Program. She’s based out of Durban, in South Africa, where they are doing such amazing work. This is a side project she helped to produce (I don’t know where she finds the time!) called “Bankable Craft”. I’ve included the introduction below with a link to the pdf version of the full booklet at the end. It’s beautiful to behold in many ways!
Every day thousands of women and men create beautiful craftwork in South Africa. They use their inherent creativity and the traditional knowledge passed down through generations to hand make items that are often unique to the southern African region. Their products might be purely aesthetic or decorative such as a beaded necklace, or completely practical such as a beer strainer. Sometimes they make items for themselves and their friends, but most craft is made to sell either to the local market or to the tourist trade, or is destined for export. Many crafters make very little money for their efforts, while a few have made fortunes conquering international markets.
How can crafters increase their earnings from their trade? There are numerous options. They can make small changes such as finding better sources of raw materials and learning more about seasonal colour trends; or they can make large changes such as establishing formal businesses and developing the communication skills required to interact with buyers in other parts of the world.
The purpose of this handbook is to provide crafters, support organisations and government agencies with ideas which will help them earn more. Some of the ideas can be applied alone while others will need to be applied in combination. While some of the ideas will be useful to crafters who run single person businesses, most of the ideas will help craft businesses or crafters who aspire to establish larger enterprises.