In September, Women in Progress opened a new Global Mamas store on busy Kingsway Street in Cape Coast. The new location provides a tremendous opportunity to market WIP’s products and workshops in the profitable local tourist market.
The spacious new store carries all of the Global Mamas product line and additional items produced by WIP batikers, seamstresses and apprentices. The store shares space with the well-known Cape Café, a popular eatery among tourists that is mentioned in major tour guides like Lonely Planet and Bradt Guide to Ghana.
The Kingsway store is the second Global Mamas location in Cape Coast. In August, WIP opened a smaller location in the Cape Coast Castle, one of the Central Region’s most popular tourist locations. Women in Progress’ new expanded offices are also now located behind the store.
Grace Osam-Pinanko, a new WIP employee, manages the store fulltime with the help of volunteers. The Global Mamas store is open 9 AM – 8 PM Monday through Friday, 10 AM – 8 PM on Saturdays and 12 PM – 4 PM on Sundays.
Global Mamas is the brand name for apparel and accessories produced by many small business women in Ghana through the facilitation of Women in Progress (WIP). In addition to looking for export markets abroad to generate income for women in Ghana, WIP also is focusing closer to home to develop international markets.
Tourism in Ghana is on the rise and it represents provides another lucrative avenue, closer to home, for generating sales. On its first venture, WIP partnered with one small woman-owned business, Eli-Emma Batik, in August to sell goods at the Cape Coast castle. During the first week in September, WIP also opened its own Global Mamas store at the well-known Kingsway location in Cape Coast. The store is sharing space with the popular restaurant Cape Cafe, which is recognized by several tourist guidebooks (such as Lonely Planet and the Brandt Guide.) Each woman batiking or sewing products for the store has also shown her commitment by volunteering in the store monthly.
Other exciting partnerships have also developed outside of Cape Coast. Wild Gecko in Accra has placed several orders for batik apparel this summer and has also generated orders for Global Mamas products from US retailers. Novica.com, an affiliate of National Geographic that helps artisans in developing nations, has also agreed to sell Global Mamas products on their website. The site should be launching early fall 2004. WIP is thankful to everyone’s hard work in making Global Mamas a reality!
Since the opening of its first overseas office in Ghana in March 2003, Women in Progress (WIP) has been focusing on launching its International Trade program. Taking an unusual approach, WIP started at the end. What? Before making a full-force effort to help businesses become “export ready”, WIP helped its clients to first identify overseas markets!
Filling orders on an increasing scale since June has allowed WIP’s clients to build their capacity through “on the job” training. Using the “assisted implementation” approach, WIP helped 9 businesses manufacture products that were on time and met the rigorous quality standards of US consumers. By focusing on obtaining markets first, the women have been able to acquire customer feedback and proactively adapt to market tastes, introduce product standards, and implement processes for more efficient and consistent production.
With just a handful of volunteers and one employee, the founders of WIP have self-funded a pilot program that has assisted 9 businesses (54 total people including employees and apprentices) in Cape Coast to develop a unique line of clothing and accessories. WIP successfully secured preliminary markets in the US for these items and shipped 6 export orders with a combined retail value of over $22,000.
In just 5 months, WIP’s efforts led to the generation of 5 new jobs and an additional $970 in profit for each participating business—nearly doubling each business’ normal yearly profits. See page 2 for initial successes of 6 businesses.