Updates from our Producer Appeal

ambiente-17.jpg

This is what your support means…

When the news that Traidcraft plc would no longer be able to order crafts from a number of producer groups, like you, we were extremely concerned for their futures. We hoped that supporters would help, and we are happy to say that your donations are already making a real and tangible difference.

Here at Traidcraft Exchange, our team has been working alongside the most affected producer groups, helping them to formulate new plans for a future without sales to Traidcraft plc. We’ve been putting together individually tailored support plans for each group, building on our years of expertise working with farmers and artisans across some of the world’s poorest communities.

The work is a little out of the ordinary for us - the producer groups affected are larger scale fair trade businesses who many rely on, rather than the very small scale farmers and workers our projects focus on. The majority of the people that Traidcraft Exchange supports will never be in a position to export overseas, but struggle to make a basic living. That’s why your donations are also supporting our core projects, reaching the most vulnerable and exploited through trade across the world.

In February, thanks to your support, five of the worst affected producer groups were able to showcase their products to hundreds of potential new buyers at one of the world’s largest trade fairs in Frankfurt, Germany. We are delighted to report that all of the producers who attended have received new orders for their products as a direct result of attending the fair.

 

Saidpur Enterprises, Noah’s Ark, Prokritee, CORR Jute Works and Gospel House Handicrafts

The design team helped us set up the stand so it looks attractive to new buyers. We can see the outcomes directly – everyone who comes here has appreciated the designs and the set up.

We’ve had a lot of interest.... the new designs of cards and printed washbags have been popular, and a few people have placed orders for samples of cards. We have had new buyers, but also been able to see existing buyers and so been able to showcase new designs to them. Showcasing products at a fair like this also means that people can change designs to suit their needs – for example, ordering products in different colours or sizes.
— Saidpur Enterprises
I very much hope that we will get some new orders for the buses from the trade fair. We have created a yellow version and have had interest in the bus from Canada and Portugal, mostly buyers from the European Union but also from Japan and South Korea. There has also been interest in the smaller products – the wooden cars. We’ve had an order of 1500 small wooden emergency vehicles, which although small, is still positive.
— Gospel House Handicrafts
 
From the trade fair in Frankfurt, we’ve had about 15 – 20 potential new buyers, and I’d like them to transform into actual business opportunities. They’ve taken pictures, looked at samples, and taken product details which is positive. Besides this, the fair has given us the chance to meet with our existing customers and show them our new product ranges. They have shown interest in the new metal products too, which we have brought with us today so hopefully this will translate into orders. We are also attending a trade fair in New York, some in Delhi, and there is a small Danish trade fair we’d like to attend, if we can get there.
— Noah's Ark
Traidcraft understands Prokritee, and has been around since its formation. We need help to tell our story and reach new markets – the trade fair has been good for this. Most importantly, the fair has meant we have been able to set up 15 meetings with our existing buyers and share with them new products. We’ve also been able to speak to new buyers, who have been especially keen on recycled denim and jute products. We chose to exhibit our eco friendly products. Recycling is important – especially for Bangladesh, which produces so many garments and textiles. We need to reduce wastage and upcycle more.
— Prokritree
Previously, Traidcraft and other buyers would send buyers and marketers to CORR, and they would visit us in Bangladesh, but now few organisations will send anyone, due to recessions, tighter budgets and a fear of terrorism. Trade fairs like Ambiente are the chance we have to meet both new and existing buyers. It’s the first time I’ve been for five or six years, and the traffic seems a little less – maybe the weather is a problem (it’s raining heavily) but many of our existing buyers came which is really good – we’ve been able to showcase new products to them, and they can order things they otherwise wouldn’t have seen.

In terms of new buyers, I’m always hopeful. Even after the difficult news from Traidcraft, we had nearly 17% growth.
— CORR Jute Works

What about the other affected producer groups?

Traidcraft Exchange are continuing to work alongside other producers affected by the plc’s downsizing. Of the 12 most vulnerable groups, 11 have now submitted project proposals to our team, who will be working alongside them to provide the funds and support they need to secure their futures.

Proposed projects include building new storage facilities, one off grants for marketing support or help with designing new products. For example, Swajan have requested support with hiring a consultant to help them diversify their products and design alternative embroidered items to sell alongside their cards.

Ongoing, we hope to support a further 14 affected groups, including Black Mamba. They have requested Traidcraft Exchange’s support with a project related to increasing sales in the domestic market and in South Africa – making and marketing gift sets of products, which requires help with design and packaging. This work is ongoing for us, and will continue alongside the work we do with some of the very poorest people across Africa and Asia as part of our development programmes. We will post any updates and news on this webpage. To ensure you are kept up to date with all our news about projects, campaigns and policy work, you can sign up for our emails below (don’t worry if you re -enter your details, we promise not to contact you twice over!).

 

Join our email list

To hear more about our work with producers, farmers and artisans all over the world, sign up below.

Sign up now!