Kopanang community project – A project that has been running since 2001, to uplift the lives of women on the fringes of society. This is done through offering emotional support and a caring community, an opportunity to earn a basic living through the making embroidered products. Most of the women live in shacks, around Tsakane, a township far from any town or job opportunities, have little formal education, and are affected or infected by HIV/AIDS.
The project is currently undertaking an intensive formation and training initiative, with the aim of the project becoming managed and run by the women.
The aims and focus of 2015
To assist the community to improve sales and thus income through more effective products, packaging and marketing.
To work with their design team to improve their understanding of design to become more self-sufficient.
HOW WE HELPED
• Our objective was to redesign two of their products, we chose the apron and the pot holders.
• We had to decrease the amount of time it took to make the product we chose as the women previously spent a lot of time and were not nessesarily getting their return on investment.
• We had to minimise the cost of production by looking at various other material and embroidery options which would there by increasing the ladies income.
• We had to make their product appeal to a wider target market and not just tourists and internationals.
• And lastly our new designed product had to be plausible and realistic in order for the Kopanang community of ladies to make and produce the new product.
• Create a product that is factory standard yet hand-made.
WHAT WE DID
Challenges we faced:
• Our target market is TOURISTS – hence they can’t hop in the can and drive 30kms to buy a new apron.
• There is a stigma around hand-made goods - Trusting hand made goods to serve a purpose that a factory made product already serves is a leap of faith in some instances.
How we tackled the challenges:
• Strive to create a product that is up to factory standard – done by doing a workshop and providing the women with adequete know how.
• Create a product that is durable and serves multiple purposes.
• Correct Materials, Attention to detail, Appropriate design, Consistency.
This design is also keeping up with modern standards of shifts in technology and the way in which more products are becoming multi-functional. This design would allow for the women to have to embroider less which leads them to produce more and in turn, earn more. The purpose of the original design also being ‘upgraded’ allows the design to set a standard of its own in a market of hand crafted goods.