Crafters initiative & success after level 3 training

The pilot project of the level three craft training was introduced this year. The purpose of this specialist training was to extend the Zimele Community crafters to the next level by running a mentorship programme. The crafters had to take the next step from making products (that someone else had designed) to designing their own products and establishing their own production group, including the four P’s of marketing: product, price, place and promotion.

Nomonde Shabalala of the Thandanani craft group in Winterton has been with Zimele since 2010. She is a talented woman and became the craft group leader teaching the other members how to make new products. Nomonde is a 44 year old single mother of 2 who has always shown initiative in the programme. Last year on the 5th and 6th of December Nomonde registered to sell her own products at the Drakensberg Boys Choir Christmas Market. She paid R800.00 for her stand and sold products worth R3, 425.00. She has since managed to build a house for herself and her children from her craft earnings, a wonderful achievement and she doesn’t stop there. This year she once again registered to have her own stand to sell her  products at the Winterton Street Festival Market on the 5th of November. She managed to sell her products and make a profit of R2, 700.00 despite the displeasing weather conditions!


Above L-R: Nomonde at the Winterton Street Festival Market 2016 & her stand at the Drakensberg Boys Choir Market in 2015.


Lindeni Gumbi of the Qhubukela craft group in Swayimane is also one of Zimele Community’s level three crafters and a Gateway School of Fashion graduate. Lindeni put her great sewing skills to the test when Zimele put her in touch with a woman needing custom made cushion covers. Kerry McCulough a new customer who saw the Zimele craft stand at the 2016 House and Garden Show in Pietermaritzburg instantly loved all the bright colours and shwe shwe that our craft programme uses and asked if any of our crafters could help her.

Lindeni had to source the fabric which her customer wanted, make and design a pattern on measurements given to her and cost and price the cushion covers, all of these skills learnt in level three training. Lindeni also designed an extra, binding, to go around the edges of the covers. She professionally negotiated her own price and when it was time to hand over the cushion covers to her customer she brought her materials and sewing machine along with her. This was in case the customer required any changes. Lindeni was asked by her customer to please add tie backs so that the cushions would not slip off the chairs. No trouble to Lindeni, she got to work in the Zimele office with her sewing machine. She didn’t keep her customer waiting too long and it shows that her talent is recognised in the fact that she can use her initiative and keep customers very happy. She also has now made herself some extra income for the holidays.

Above: Lindeni with her customer, Kerry McCulough & her machine which she brought all the way into town for last minute adjustments.

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