On­line boost for EC arts and crafts

Wild Coast Trad­ing Com­pany pro­vides na­tional plat­form

Go! & Express - - Scene On The Go! - MADELEINE CHAPUT www.thewil­d­coast­trad­ing­com­pany.co.za.

LISA Jones's on­line store, The Wild Coast Trad­ing Com­pany, has been giv­ing lo­cal artists and crafters a plat­form to mar­ket their wares since it started in July.

The on­line store has shown steady growth and now boasts a range of art­work and crafts from 14 dif­fer­ent artists and crafters and Jones is set to add an­other 20 in the next month.

“The re­sponse has been over­whelm­ing. I have a long wait­ing list of crafters who want to be added to the web­site and the or­ders just keep com­ing, es­pe­cially from the Jo­han­nes­burg, Lim­popo and Mpumalanga ar­eas,” Jones said.

Since re­turn­ing to her home­town of East Lon­don af­ter liv­ing in the UK for 10 years, Jones's love for the East­ern Cape and her nat­u­ral flare for sales and mar­ket­ing lead her to em­bark on this busi­ness ven­ture.

“The East­ern Cape is my home. We are still the poor­est prov­ince, so I had to make a plan and find a way to give back and help. I was pretty ter­ri­fied at first, but sales started tak­ing off al­most im­me­di­ately,” Jones said.

Wild Coast Trad­ing is solely an on­line store and in­cludes the work of well-known wood­cut artist Jeff Rankin, ce­ram­i­cists John Steele and Nosikhum­buzo Kha­bane, as well as tra­di­tional Xhosa seam­stress and beader Tem­beka Metele, among many oth­ers.

The on­line store of­fers ev­ery­thing from homemade soaps, jew­ellery and pa­per to games such as the Wild Voices deck of cards and the pop­u­lar Rolling Rhi­nos. Cur­rently, Jones's on­line store is the only on­line plat­form where the Rolling Rhi­nos game can be pur­chased. “There is so much tal­ent here in the East­ern Cape. I have so many cre­ative friends and I’ve met so many peo­ple who make the most beau­ti­ful things. The prob­lem is that they don’t al­ways know how or have the time to mar­ket their prod­ucts. That's where I come in,” Jones said.

Work­ing on fair trade prin­ci­ples, all of the artists and crafters re­ceive a high per­cent­age of their sales and each artist's story is fea­tured on the “About the Artist” page of

Ex­cited about what's to come, Jones con­tin­ues to source artists and crafters and cu­rate and pho­to­graph their work to build up the on­line store even fur­ther.

In the next month, Jones plans to add prod­ucts from two unique leather bag crafters, chil­dren's booties or “hogtrot­ters” from a crafter in Hogs­back, as well as prod­ucts from a lo­cal weaver, to name but a few.

“I am so ex­cited for what’s to come. I want to broaden the store as much as pos­si­ble and add a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts. I aim to keep up with the mar­ket by work­ing with the crafters to tweak and im­prove their prod­ucts if needed,” Jones said.

“I would love to go in­ter­na­tional and ex­port prod­ucts in the fu­ture, but for now I’m fo­cus­ing on build­ing up a vast col­lec­tion of prod­ucts and get­ting more artists and crafters on board.”

Jones will be run­ning a com­pe­ti­tion on Face­book, start­ing to­day. Two peo­ple stand the chance to win a R200 voucher each for any prod­ucts on the web­site. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit The Wild Coast Trad­ing Com­pany’s Face­book page.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

COASTING ALONG: Lisa Jones’s ar­ray of prod­ucts from lo­cal crafters and artists are all fea­tured on www.thewil­d­coast­trad­ing­com­pany.co.za. Jones hopes to ex­pand the on­line store and in­volve as many lo­cal artists and crafters, be­fore launch­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally

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