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September 24, 2009

Craft kicks off for 2010

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As soccer fever grips South Africa ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Cape Town craft producers are gearing up to ensure they enjoy a slice of the action.

The Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI), a not-for-profit company set up by the Western Cape provincial government and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, is rolling out a range of programmes to support the 1 400 craft enterprises on its database and help them make the most of 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 central business district, already has about 20 different soccer-themed gifts and objects on offer, says manager Rose Reddy.

“We are sending out calls for products and seeing some completely new 2010 event-related items, while others are adapting their existing lines,” Reddy 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.”

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

  • Makaya Makaraba: Cape Town-based graphic designer Michael Souter has a core team of six workers making iconic soccer headgear.
  • Kelp: Graphic designer and illustrator Adam Carnegie 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 vuvuzelas in his garage and now has a social upliftment programme associated with the venture.
  • Vivacity: Danolene Johanessen has added a 2010 lady’s handbag, sling bag for men, backpack, tog bag and shoe bag to her range of bags, clothing and caps. The 2010 handbag is shaped like a soccer ball and its 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 that 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 their products fall within prescribed guidelines.

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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 to provide inspiration for new products.

Craft producers eager to perfect a product prototype receive hands-on assistance at the CCDI’s AMTS FabLab. This facility, one of only six in the country, offers design software that is digitally linked to manufacturing technology, such as a laser cutters, vinyl cutters and small milling machines.

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 he or she may face. At the same time, producers can have products photographed for the website and update their information on the database.

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The flurry of activity extends beyond the metropole. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, many international teams will base themselves in smaller cities, such as George and Mossel Bay, and the CCDI is helping local producers target these niche markets.

CCDI rural outreach officer Craig Carbutt held the first workshop to prepare craft producers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Mossel Bay, from June 21 to July 3.  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, which will travel to some of the most prestigious venues and exhibitions in 2010.

These various programmes are underscored by regular sector promotion activities, such as craft exhibitions, a popular monthly newsletter and a vibrant monthly craft sector meeting.

For more information, visit www.ccdi.org.za or call: +27 21 461 1488.

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