US Retailers Provide Support to African Women Exporters
MAY 28, 2008By Press Release, PRNewsChannelAfrican women handicrafts exporters say they lack the export working capital and the information they need to develop product lines that appeal to US buyers and consumers.“Making quality products is not enough," says Yemis Ajayi, owner of Arisimi Designs Nigeria. “It is the suppliers-buyers relationship that is the key to helping African women entrepreneurs to succeed in the US market. Export working capital is a major barrier to us and it is understandable if buyers are reluctant to pre-pay for products because they're not certain if they will receive their products.”US retailers like Eleanor Path, owner of Santa Monica Gallery Acapillow is among a select group of US retailers providing extraordinary support to African Women Exporters from arranging favorable payment terms, product development and placing consistent orders.“I am very excited to see our handcrafted ethnic beaded necklaces on display in the beautiful antique mahogany glass case in Acapillow gallery," says Dorothy Taro, owner of Dorostel Kenya. "I am very thankful to Eleanor and Margaret Galabe for the training I received at the gallery on new designs, trends, and developing a product line. I am extremely happy with the exposure."Because of the arrangement, Dorothy Taro sold nine boxes of handicrafts to another retailer. The business linkage occured at the International Handcrafted Gifts and Home Textile Expo in Santa Monica, hosted by the World Women Trade Fair. The mission of the World Women Trade Fair (www.worldwomentradefair.com) is to provide economic opportunities to women living in third-world countries and to assist them to gradually build a broad-based market.At the Expo, were other African women exporters who are now looking forward to increasing their exports.
For example, Jane Kiunsi from the Federation of Women Entrepreneur Tanzania has been busy sourcing pre-export financing to fill the large order request from US retailers for her beautiful intricate woven baskets.Estelle Ratanga, owner of Facette Creations from Gabon is happy with the support that she is receiving from Patricia Jackson “distributor of African dolls.” Patricia Jackson is working with Ratanga to distribute her African dolls-starting by developing a brand, producing a new line of dolls in various sizes and groupings, a story line, and hand-sewn doll clothes which can be sold separately.
“I am amazed, says Ratanga. "It is important to have a buyer who is able to educate you and work with you to reach your goals.”“Our biggest challenge is financing," says Dorothy Tarro, who is setting up a project in Kenya to produce eco-green table wares using sisal grass. "Our products are attractive to US buyers because of the African Growth and Opportunity Act trade agreement which allows for duty-free and tariff –free for over 6000 products from African into the USA.”