If the response to my cereal box gift bags is anything to go by… These are going to be a great hit! Teabags … Literally.


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Footwear offcuts re-purposed into…

Our latest challenge… re-purposing these offcuts from a shoe manufacturer. There’s got to be a way to keep this out the landfill. All ideas welcome!


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I used to be a tyre tube, discarded, now renewed

Such fabulous products from old tyre tubes! Check out Free Flow Dezign


hair straightener bag

hair straightener bag



bar mat

bar mat

cooler bag

cooler bag

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Lampshades by NOUSH

We love these lampshades by our good friend Manoushka at NOUSH.
Contact manoushkakraal@gmail.com


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Well-travelled wire bowls

These beautiful bowls, made from telephone wire, travelled from the pavement of Warwick Avenue, South Africa, to New York, turned around and came back to South Africa (a postal mystery to this day), then u-turned again (another mystery) and travelled back to Cambridge, via New York, to their new, happy and rather relieved owner.

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Someone’s wearing this in Oz

Some pieces we get a little too emotionally attached to, so when someone says “I’ve *got* to have that one,” its harder to wrap it up than others.

Hope you’re causing a stir in Australia, lovely necklace!

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New listing!

By Hlengiwe Shangase

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10 Awesome Videos On Idea Execution & The Creative Process

Some of the best videos on idea execution from artists, writers, designers, storytellers, researchers, and chocolatiers from 99%

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e-Spaza & KZNSA Crafter Development Programme

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Fair Wage Guide

We use WorldOfGood’s Fair Wage Guide to help our crafters to value their labour cost.  Check it out:


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Spoilt for choice

Help us to decide which of these products from the product development workshops to stock in our online shop…

Chunky wire wrap bangle by Goodness

Red, black & grey imfibinga seed mix 3-strand necklace by Goodness

Multi-colour imfibinga seed mix necklace by Goodness

Crochet & bead multi-strand necklace by Nomathemba

Blue stone & bead 2-strand earrings by Nomathemba

Blue beaded cufflinks by Busisiwe

Grey-blue star hoop earrings by Siphiwe

Black & charcoal bangle & earrings set by Hlengiwe

Charcoal & bronze 2-strand necklace & bangle set by Thandi

Purple bead ring and earrings by Thandeka

Black flower necklace and bangle set by Thandeka

Pink snake necklace and bangle set by Toe

Grey imfibinga seed mix necklace and earrings set by Minenhle

Posted in Capacity building, e-Spaza, Hlengiwe Shangase, Nomathemba Gwala, Producers, Siphiwe Mfunsi, Thandi Shozi | 8 Comments

Product Development Workshop 9 Feb 2011

What a great day.

It started with a 08h15 rendezvous at the Bead Market in Warwick Junction, where even the Metro Police seemed to show their support by turning a blind eye as we parked & excitedly squashed into 3 cars on a yellow line infront of their kiosk.

Despite some illness and family responsibilities on the part of a few participants, we were really pleased with the attendance and quite taken aback with everyone’s excitement.  In total 11 producers attended the workshop, which was held in the lovely Park Gallery at the KZNSA.  We were fittingly surrounded by the vibrant colours of artwork from the KZNSA’s Member’s Exhibition and those visiting the exhibition added an extra dynamic to the workshop, not being able to resist oohing and aahing at the existing and emerging products on the table in front of the producers.

Local jeweller Nicky Savage of Savage Jewellery and jewellery lecturer at DUT co-facilitated with Mags Shapiro of e-Spaza, with Mamile Cele as Zulu/English translator and Andrew Griffin of e-Spaza, with his usual fresh eye, documenting on video and stills photography.

Minenhle Shozi tells her story

We began with personal stories of how the beadworkers came to learn their craft.  The majority have learned as a family tradition and spoke of the value of being able to earn their own living with their own hands, rather than trying to seek employment in the current financial climate (the unemployment rate in South Africa is around 25,5%).

Mags (+1) on a role

Mags from e-Spaza and Gloria Hoff from the KZNSA Shop shared some of the challenges faced by retailers including availability of product, communication with producers and quality expectations, especially of overseas buyers.  The producers spoke of their challenges, including fierce competition at the Bead Market, a lack of new product ideas, copying of those precious new ideas that do emerge and a lack of access to new markets.

Gloria Hoff of the KZNSA Shop sharing her many years of craft retail experience

We had a great debate around whether to try to control the prices in the market for existing products, hide new ideas and show select customers in secret, or whether to take the approach of abundance – accepting that design inevitably involves plaigarism, viewing copying as a compliment and focusing on continuous innovation, while always seeking new markets.  Let’s just say the jury is still out on that one!

After lots of sharing and talking, we rolled up our sleeves.  Nicky took the beaders through a series of practical exercises around finding inspiration and stimulating creativity, by looking at the immediate environment with new eyes, seeing everything from flowers to buses as potential new product ideas.

We explored the KZNSA shop and paged through magazines and all other conceivable printed material available to us to find inspiration.  We played with colours and shapes and soon the tables were overflowing with ideas, storyboards and colourways.

Then came time to choose beads and decide on a new product idea to test.

The producers left with bagsful of beads and a host of new ideas. We regroup next Wednesday and can’t wait to see what has begun to emerge!

When asked for key learnings from the day, Sakhile Mabasa said,

“I didn’t know you could have a shop on the computer like e-Spaza. I learnt that there are many different ways to sell – not just face to face.”

“I’ve learnt alot.  Like that I can come up with new products by making small changes to my older products,” said Thandi Shozi.

“It was so nice to see my products in the KZNSA Shop,” said Thandeka Phewa, “It shows me people want them and that they are selling.”

Toe Shozi said, “I can see now that one design only won’t work.  I must think of new ideas all the time.”

“I am thankful for this.  Sharing ideas together helps us to see things differently,” said Goodness Mfunsi.

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Capacity Building Workshops

Tomorrow is a big day for e-Spaza.  We’re running our first workshop with e-Spaza producers.

Co-funded by e-Spaza and the KZNSA and in collaboration with local jeweller and jewellery design lecturer Nicky Savage we are running two workshops, one this week and one next, focused on product development and pricing.

The products that emerge from these workshops will be sold in e-Spaza’s online shop on WorldofGood and also in the KZNSA shop under the label KZNSAWorks.

Nicky, Andrew and I have had a great time planning the workshops, sourcing the beads, meeting the bead wholesalers, organising transport, catering and trying to contain the excitement of the e-Spaza producers!

Outside one of the bead wholesaler's shops

nextdoor to one of the bead wholesaler's - you name it, you can buy it!

the arcade where you find most of the local bead wholesalers

Juma Masjid Mosque behind the arcade - said to be the oldest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere

Barber shop also in the arcade

We just loved the feel of this second hand jacket shop

"The gatekeeper"

Making arrangements with Zandile Mzobe

Confirming workshop dates and times with Thandi Shozi

Thandi's sister Minenhle asks if she can attend the workshops too

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Spaza shops

Spaza shops , also called tuck shops, are small, informal retail outlets often operating from shipping containers, selling mainly soft drinks, cigarettes, paraffin, candles, maize meal, bread and alcohol.  There are estimated to be 100,000 spaza shops in South Africa with a collective turnover of over R7 billion per annum.  It is estimated that each spaza shop employs 2 to 3 people, who in turn support 4 family members, on average.  (SpazaNews)

As townships and informal settlements grew in South Africa without the accompanying development of formal shops and malls, so spaza shops stepped in to fill the convenience store gap.

A spaza shop in Zulu is ‘ispaza’.  Inspired by the entrepreneurship of spaza shops, we replaced the ‘i’ with an ‘e’ for e-commerce and called our social enterprise e-spaza.

We took to the streets of Cato Manor this week to document some of the spaza shops closest to us.

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Bankable Craft

Our friends at Envirodev have just published a fantastic guidebook to developing a craft business as a follow-on to “The Business of Craft and Crafting the Business: Strategies for success in the rural craft sector”.

In the spirit of development, The “text of this book is a public asset. There are no copyright restrictions placed on it and people are encouraged to copy or modify the text for their particular purpose.  Users are simply requested to acknowledge the source of their information.”

Download Bankable Craft on the Imagine Durban site.

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Visit the Bead Market

Planning a trip to Durban?  You can meet e-Spaza’s producers while on a tour of the Markets of Warwick run by our friends ASIYE ETAFULENI

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Point of Sale

e-Spaza draws its producers from the Bead Market at Warwick Junction in Durban, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.  The Bead Market is only open on a Friday.

Most producers sit on the floor, or on crates, with their stalls little more than a piece of cloth, newspaper, or black bin bag:

Warwick Junction Bead Market

Warwick Junction Bead Market

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Engagement is important to us.  Especially with our producers.  Mags, with the help of our interpreter Gloria Nyide, recently interviewed e-Spaza’s current producers around their training needs:

Mags chatting to Hlengiwe

Mags chatting to Hlengiwe

Mags & Gloria chatting to Thandi

Mags & Gloria chatting to Thandi

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Store opening products from Benzeni Hlophe

set of 6 coasters

set of 6 coasters

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Store opening products from Khuzani Mthethwa

Beaded giraffe

Beaded giraffe

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