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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  17 Sep 2009

VENTURES: Craft Kicks Off For 2010


Recent Western Cape Business News

A vast range of 2010-related craft Items, ranging from beaded soccer ball key rings to lifesize wire models of soccer players, are being created to catch the eyes and wallets of the estimated 450 000 visitors expected next year.

The Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI), a Section 21 company set up by the Western Cape Province and the Cape Pensinsula University of Technology, is rolling out a range of programmes to support the 1400 craft enterprises on its database and help them maximise this once in a lifetime marketing opportunity.

The CCDI has set up a 2010 section in its GIFT warehouse, which links craft producers to corporate buyers and retailers, and facilitates the manufacture of customised craft gifts. The showroom, in the CCDI headquarters at 75 Harrington Street in the Cape Town CBD, already has about 20 different soccer-themed gifts and objects, says manager Rose Reddy.

We are sending out calls for products and are seeing some completely new 2010 event-related items, while others are adapting their existing lines,” she says. “We are also hoping for, and gearing up towards, good general sales next year of South African craft products, even if they don’t have a specific 2010 theme, because of the large influx of visitors.”

Some amazing products, ranging from beaded soccer boots to felt soccer balls, are on display:

  • Makaya Makaraba: Cape Town-based graphic designer Michael Souter has a core team of six workers making iconic soccer headgear.

  • Kelp: Adam Carnegie, a graphic designer and illustrator, first made a vuvuzela from kelp to help his son with a school project. They sold out within half an hour, so he started painting vuvus in his garage and now has a social upliftment programme.

  • Vivacity: Danolene Johanessen has added a 2010 lady’s handbag, a sling bag for men, a backpack, tog bag and shoe bag to her range of bags, clothing and caps. The woman’s 2010 bag looks like a soccer ball on the outside, while the interior is lined with pictures of South Africa and includes a poem.

  • Bead nation: Zimbabwean Abraham Tapera, who started off selling small wire objects and beaded pictures at busy intersections, has produced a wire and bead replica of the Green Point stadium which would do any chairperson’s desk proud.

The CCDI has appointed a 2010 project officer, Thandeka Tyatyantsi, to network and explore marketing opportunities. An essential part of her job is to ensure that producers are kept up to date on the stringent FIFA copyright rules so that their products fall within FIFA guidelines.

The CCDI is also offering a range of workshops to build the creative and business skills of craft producers. The Visual Awareness Project, for example, includes site visits to iconic Western Cape destinations including Robben Island and Cape Point. “Place can often be an inspiration for new product,” says Creativity, Design and Innovation manager Alan Alborough.

Craft producers eager to perfect a prototype of almost any imaginable product receive hands-on assistance at the CCDI’s AMTS FabLab (one of only six in the country). This facility, also at the CCDI headquarters, offers design software which links digitally to manufacturing technology, such as a laser cutter, vinyl cutter and small milling machines.

It is essentially a prototyping environment and this access to equipment changes how people approach design,” says Alborough. “Craft producers are encouraged to make innovative and quality product.”

The CCDI also offers several programmes for enterprise development, skills training and mentoring, says manager Sarah Polonsky. The Programmes Group, for example, is a panel that sits for the last three Wednesdays of each month.  It consists of CCDI staff with design innovation, business development and market access skills and knowledge. A producer makes a free appointment with the Group for 50 minutes and gets advice on the product, business methods and any other challenges they face. At the same time they can have their products photographed for the website and can update their information on the database.

This flurry of activity extends beyond the metropole. Many international teams will base themselves in smaller cities such as George and Mossel Bay, and the CCDI is helping local producers to target these niche markets.

CCDI Rural Outreach Officer Craig Carbutt held the first workshop to prepare craft producers for the World Cup, in Mossel Bay over the week of 29 June to 3 July.  Many more are planned for towns ranging from Hermanus to Beaufort West.  

Western Cape crafters are also being invited to enter the best of their handmade products for an outstanding craft exhibition that will travel to some of the most prestigious venues and exhibitions in 2010.

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