Lo­cal crafts at­tract orders in Canada

Sunday Express - - NEWS -

AMASERU com­pany has re­ceived orders for its ta­pes­try prod­ucts run­ning into thou­sands of mal­oti from po­ten­tial cus­tomers in Canada. Maseru Ta­pes­tries and Mats was among three lo­cal com­pa­nies that were spon­sored by Ar­ti­san Hub to ex­hibit at the re­cent Ap­parel Tex­tile Sourc­ing Show in Toronto, Canada from 21 to 23 Au­gust this year.

The Trade Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Of­fice (TFO) in Canada launched Ar­ti­san Hub in 2016 to pro­mote small and medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) in the tex­tile and gar­ment sec­tor.

The ini­tia­tive seeks to tell the sto­ries of lo­cal pro­duc­ers and to pro­mote their prod­ucts on the Cana­dian mar­ket and it fo­cuses on eight least de­vel­oped coun­tries (LDCs), namely, Le­sotho, Mada­gas­car, Uganda, Ethiopia, Haiti, Bangladesh, Nepal and Cam­bo­dia.

Fol­low­ing field vis­its to the dif­fer­ent coun­tries, 50 SMEs from the eight LDCs were cho­sen to par­tic­i­pate in prod­uct sam­ple ex­hi­bi­tion road­shows in three cities in Canada (Mon­treal, Toronto, and Van­cou­ver) in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber 2016, where they were pre­sented to Cana­dian buy­ers and im­porters to as­sess them for mar­ket po­ten­tial.

Af­ter the 2016 ex­hi­bi­tion shows, Cana- dian buy­ers’ feed­back was com­piled for each prod­uct and 30 com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Le­sotho’s trio of House of Thethana, Leribe Craft Cen­tre, Maseru Ta­pes­tries and Mats were se­lected to par­tic­i­pate in a trade show in Canada in 2017.

The ini­tia­tive en­ables com­pa­nies from the el­i­gi­ble coun­tries to ben­e­fit from du­tyfree and quota-free mar­ket ac­cess to Canada which is of­fered in terms of the Cana- dian Mar­ket Ac­cess Ini­tia­tive (MAI).

The Sun­day Ex­press yes­ter­day spoke to Mase­tumo Lebitsa, the man­ager of Maseru Ta­pes­try and Mats, who ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the re­cep­tion of their prod­ucts by the Cana­dian mar­ket.

“We dis­played our ta­pes­tries for the walls and for the floors and there was one pop­u­lar piece called the Blue Moun­tain which the Cana­dian mar­ket ap­peared to love,” Ms Lebitsa said, adding that they re­ceived sev­eral orders which they would de­liver via DHL Le­sotho.

Maseru Ta­pes­tries and Mats was es­tab­lished in 1998, ini­tially as Matela Weavers. When some weavers left, the com­pany was re­con­sti­tuted un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Ms Lebitsa and changed its name to Maseru Ta­pes­tries and Mats.

The House of Thethana spe­cialises in the de­sign, print and con­ver­sion of lo­cal­lyin­spired fab­ric. Leribe Craft Cen­tre is an art and em­ploy­ment pro­ject run by the Angli­can Church. It trains lo­cal women, in­clud­ing those with dis­abil­i­ties, to spin and weave mo­hair into jack­ets, bags, scarves, place­mats and other items.

The com­pa­nies’ Canada ex­hi­bi­tion was fa­cil­i­tated by Man­tai Mpesi, the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Hand­made in Le­sotho.

Ms Mpesi told this pub­li­ca­tion that she was in­volved in pro­mot­ing and mar­ket­ing lo­cally made niche mar­ket prod­ucts at the Ap­parel Tex­tile Sourc­ing Show.

“I helped Maseru Ta­pes­try and Mats and Leribe Crafts to ob­tain visas, pre­par­ing price lists, com­mu­ni­cate with the or­gan­is­ers, send pho­to­graphs and videos for pro­mo­tion and pre­par­ing their la­bels and busi­ness cards.

“The trade show links the man­u­fac­tures with the buy­ers. Be­ing cho­sen to rep­re­sent Le­sotho and at­tend­ing is not enough, there is a lot of prepa­ra­tions re­quired to max­imise the op­por­tu­ni­ties while com­pet­ing in global mar­ket,” Ms Mpesi said.

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