Developing Trust

Noxie Building Joyce

So I haven’t mentioned it before, but I’m in the process of starting my own social upliftment/job creation project. I’ve wanted to start a sewing project for a few years, and truthfully never knew where to begin. It’s weird that when the idea is in your head, and you really want to do something, it all just falls into place. A friend of mine taught art classes to kids in Nekkies, an area of the Knysna townships, and mentioned that a sewing group met next door. She took me up there to meet the ladies last October and I’ve been hanging out with them ever since.

The great thing about the Women of Vision, that’s what they call themselves, is that they’ve already got a little business running. So they know the basics of sewing, they just don’t have the marketing and sales knowledge that they need to become a success. Foreign passers-by, the kind of people who want to take home a guinea-fowl placemat, or zebra-print oven gloves, have been buying bits and pieces from them. This just isn’t sustainable though. They’ve got homes to run and children to feed, and the sale of a couple of pairs of oven gloves a month just isn’t enough. I’ve got access to what’s in fashion, a million ideas in my head and the online shop to reach an unlimited number of customers. So, altogether, we make quite a team.

What I made sure that I didn’t do, was walk in and promise the ladies a new life on Day One. And I didn’t try to take over the operation of things either. As I said earlier, I’ve just been hanging out. We chat, we sew and I’ve sorted out two suitcases of buttons into glass jars (so excited to get my hands on the buttons!). I wanted for us to get to know each other, and to develop trust. A woman who started a project in George warned me that a lot of black people in South Africa have had a lot of white people promise them things, and then not follow through. I don’t want to be like that.

In the last month or so, we’ve started to work on some bags. We’ve got a long long way to go, but we have so much potential to succeed. I’m feeling very excited about it all. I’ll take pictures of our progress and post them up soon.

__
Sharing is caring :)

or
  • http://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za Robyn

    Such great insights for all current and wannabe social entreperneurs! Thanks Sarah! Such a great aproach and i love their name….Cant wait to hear more about this project. x

  • http://www.babazeka.com babazeka

    Thank you! Will definitely keep updating you – hopefully can show some of
    our work soon. I'm really proud of the ladies so far, and I think they're
    really proud of themselves.

  • Kerry

    Wow Sarah! So glad to have such a generous person as my friend! Can't wait to see the final products. x

  • http://www.babazeka.com babazeka

    Thanks Ke. Will post some pictures of the fabrics and sample bags next week.
    I'm sure you'll like them!

  • http://blog.babazeka.com/?p=168 Babazeka » Blog Archive » As Long as It’s Fun

    [...] mentioned in my last post about Women of Vision that it’s great when things just fall into place. Finding the ladies to [...]

  • http://blog.babazeka.com/?p=182 Babazeka » Blog Archive » Stop Crime Say Hello

    [...] know that what’s made a huge difference to me is working with my sewing group up in Nekkies. Before last year I was too scared to drive into the township. Now I go in once or [...]

  • http://blog.babazeka.com/?p=198 Babazeka » Blog Archive » My Handmade Heroes

    [...] the handmade revival in South Africa. They are all an inspiration to me – hopefully, together with Women of Vision, we can produce things which are of a standard similar to [...]

  • Audra

    What a great idea you have to do this. One suggestion I have is to also price it, say in US dollars. I'm in the US and I don't know what the equivalent price is. Maybe a calculator for other currencies?

    Audra

  • http://www.babazeka.com babazeka

    Hi there Audra. Thanks for the positivity. We're working on a new system
    which will include a currency converter. Hopefully shouldn't take too long
    to switch from the old system to the new. Please keep on checking back, as
    we have lots of exciting changes on the way.

  • http://blog.babazeka.com/?p=303 Babazeka blog » Products take Form :: A young entrepreneur’s thoughts on South Africa, social upliftment, and handmade things.

    [...] also wanted to show you how great the bags (made by my sewing ladies) are coming along. They’re really making me [...]

  • kim273

    Awesome – well the bags have proven a great success. May it go from strength to strength!

  • http://www.kimgray.za.net/2008/08/20/kims-cape-town-report-for-bloesem-blog/ Kim Gray Stylist Fashion Decor Lifestyle Cape Town South Africa » Blog Archive » Kim’s Cape Town report for bloesem blog.

    [...] based Sarah of Babazeka is helping groups like The Women of Vision by giving them some direction and advice as to what sells and how to market themselves etc. Here are [...]

  • http://blog.babazeka.com/?p=374 Babazeka blog » I’ve Baked Bread, Please Give Dough :: A young entrepreneur’s thoughts on South Africa, social upliftment, and handmade things.

    [...] afternoon to bake a loaf of bread for the Blogger Bake-off fundraiser. I had Joyce and Noxie from Women of Vision with me (working on a Big Project – will blog about it soon) and thought it’s the perfect [...]

  • http://blog.babazeka.com/?p=625 Wedding Handy Work | Babazeka blog

    [...] I made my own dress, and had the groomsmen’s waistcoats were sewn by my lovely ladies at Women of Vision. [...]

  • http://blog.babazeka.com/?p=3191 Drum Roll Please… | Babazeka blog

    [...] one! I can do this because I am FINALLY showing you the shoppers that I have been working on with my sewing project from the local township. See, they’re handmade, they were made by us, and I think [...]

  • http://blog.babazeka.com/?p=3449 SOCIAL UPLIFTMENT WEDNESDAYS: A Tribute to Noxie | Babazeka blog

    [...] is a really sad post for me to write. One of the lovely ladies from Women of Vision, who I sewed with for the last couple of years, passed away unexpectedly last [...]