33 designers and manufacturers from South Africa presented their new product ranges at the NEXT18 Trade Exhibition in Cape Town in February. They received fantastic feedback from the many visitors, including buyers from leading South African retail chains, concept stores and hotels, as well as international buyers from France, USA, Netherlands, Ivory Coast, Germany, UK, Kenya, Spain, Belgium, Senegal, Italy and Switzerland.
What the programme is
Craftscurator coordinated and curated the trade exhibition, and coached the 33 exporters, in collaboration with her South African project partner Solly Levy. The team of consultants have been running the Export Development Programme in South Africa for over 3 years, on behalf of The Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI).
They initiated the ‘Development by Design’ programme, which enables small and medium businesses in South Africa to develop and grow, in collaboration with CBI’s local partners the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda). Over 70 entrepreneurs have been participating in this programme, taking their design studio, workshop or manufacturing company to the ‘next level’, and onwards to the export market.
What the results of the Trade Exhibition were
The NEXT18 Trade Exhibition is a new initiative, and the first stand-alone event of the DbD programme. All exhibitors developed a new product range for the export market, and prepared wholesale price lists and trade offer documents. They met with international buyers, and received sample requests, feedback and, in some cases, export orders. The organizers were happy to see many international visitors, but were also glad leading South African buyers took the time to visit the exhibition and explore the new product ranges.
What the exhibitors say
“A huge thank you from me for the great show and wonderful journey on the programme. Thank you for the input, attention, perseverance and incredible vision and insight throughout the process! The show with everybody’s products looked fab - know how much hard work went into! Was awesome to be part of it.”
– Joanina Pastoll of Studio Sterling
“Thank you very much for all the hard work that went into organising the NEXT18 Exhibition. I was very impressed with the feet that went through as well as the exhibition as a whole. The PR generated was terrific!”
– Wendren Setzer of The Wren Design.
The product ranges and contact details of the exporters can be found in the 2018 Development by Design catalogue. View or download it here:
Ongoing export development
In addition to the NEXT18 Trade Exhibition, the past few months have been busy for participants who are nearing the end of their five-year export coaching programme ̶ a group wil be going to Maison et Objet in Paris in September 2018, and another group will take part in SARCDA in Johannesburg in August 2018.
CDI Market Support Manager, Fran Stewart says: “Development by Design provides quality export training to businesses which has proven to lead to more export-ready companies with high quality, well defined, unique products. We are incredibly proud to have a partner of the calibre of CBI helping to grow our local creative businesses.”
This innovative approach has not only created tangible results – an average of 56% increase in export sales (from 2016 – 2017 to EU/EFTA markets) – but also co-creation and collaboration between the participating entrepreneurs. Most of the creative entrepreneurs on the programme are women (60%), and 52% of their staff are women.
What export coaching programme participants have to say
‘’CBI’s programme has been hugely beneficial in supporting our efforts in the export market, with the inevitable positive spin offs in the local market as well. The structure of the programme, content, and quality of consultants, has been top notch…I couldn’t recommend it more highly. By combining current and appropriate content with their understanding of the market, the programme is a ‘must’ for any SME looking to explore the export market.’’
– Heather Moore of Skinny laMinx
‘’The opportunity to be part of the Development by Design programme has been hugely beneficial to Feeling African, not just in the transfer of the skills and knowledge, but also in their incremental approach, allowing us to build the requisite knowledge and confidence ‘step by step’. There is no doubt, that the growth that we have been experiencing, is in no small part attributable to this programme.’’
– Willard Musarurwa of Feeling African
For more information on this project in South Africa, or export development in general,