Prosperity Update

News and stories from Global Mamas

Stirring Growth Seen at NYIGF

By Alice Grau

Batiking with Mary

The end of January has become a routinely exciting time of year for me! Our new catalog is wrapped up and in our hands and it is time to go to the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) to share the new catalog and the vibrant products that fill it with shoppers from around the world. It is both exhausting and invigorating to promote our products that are alive with the stories of the volunteers and producers that are behind each product’s long journey to New York. They are stories that are meant to be shared and passed on, and that is my purpose at NYIGF, to share the stories and sell the product so that the consumer can enjoy the product and feel personally connected to the producer.

 

This show was my fourth experience at the NYIGF and I have realized that our growth at this show is a perfect reflection of the ways the organization in general has grown over the last few years. My first show was January of 2010 and Global Mamas was just one of many African exhibitors housed in the AfricaNOW booth. Though we were grateful to share space with our wonderful friends, the space was limited and it proved hard to find us amidst the crowd. Merchandising our varied products in the space was very challenging. Needless to say, despite my enthusiasm, having just returned from Ghana, sales at my first show were minimal.

 

For the next show in August of the same year, we decided to move out on our own. We applied for funding from the West Africa Trade Hub to host our own booth and applied for admission into to the coveted “Hand Made” section of NYIGF. We were fortunate enough to be accepted for both.

We moved “up” into a 5x5 booth of our very own in the Hand Made Global Design division and saw a direct increase in sales as well as access to a new collection of customers who target hand made products. In 2011 we took another great leap and invested in a 5x20 booth, which is where we still reside. This move was the best yet, improving sales and increasing customer exposure each show. However, this January we saw the most exciting growth yet!

 

We saw a 44% increase in sales from the previous January, attracted 30 new customers and saw increased sales numbers per orders as well. Customers who have been with us for years were suddenly placing orders double their historical size. Every day I walked away from the booth full of joy knowing that we were ensuring the sustainability of this organization and the livelihood of the producers.

 

I believe these sales are a direct reflection of the increased investments that the organization made in itself and the women throughout 2011. Our staff size increased significantly, most notably hiring our first full-time designer and promoting a staff member to Director of Operations in Ghana as well as a full-time customer service representative in the US. Volunteers put countless hours into creating and teaching workshops dedicated to empowering the producers to be stronger artisans and craftspeople. And, the women in the Global Mamas network worked resolutely to apply their learned skills to create a better product for their customers.

 

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Home Décor Line Launched at Chicago Trade Show

By Firoozeh Mofakhami

Home Décor Line Launched at Chicago Trade Show

In January 2006, WIP participated in the Chicago Bi-Annual Home Décor and Gift Show, taking a defining step to exponentially increase sales in the U.S. market through the new home décor line. This Chicago trade show is one of the top five most important shows in the U.S. and has enabled WIP to gain a strong foothold in the Midwest region. During her stay with WIP, British interior designer Catherine Deane developed products made for home decorating from the different batiked fabrics. Included in this line are curtains, pillows, tablecloths, napkins, oven mitts, and duvet sets.

 

Though the home décor line was perfected on paper, the actual products had not yet been developed. However, the Ghanaian women along with the directors in both the Ghana and the U.S. office approached the challenge with a no fear attitude and the resolve to work incredibly hard to produce the line and ship it to Chicago-all within two weeks of the trade show!

 

Former WIP volunteer Amanda Sage, who continues contributing her time and energy to WIP in the U.S., set up the booth and prepared to spread the WIP story. The show was a huge success-Amanda noticed that the buyers "find admiration in the organization, and for some of them, it is their first exposure to fair trade. I was thrilled by the reaction of so many people who were just aghast by the quality, price point, and the story behind it all."

 

Fueled by the success of the Chicago trade show, WIP looks forward to attending trade shows in London and Paris (where there is a considerable fair trade market) this March.

 

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Global Mamas at Magic Kids

By Therese Edwards

Global Mamas was thrilled to be presenting their line of hand-made apparel for babies and kids for the first time at MAGIC Kids in Las Vegas, NV in August 2006. Global Mamas supplies the international marketplace with unique, high-quality, African made apparel and at the same time provides sustainable livelihoods for women and girls in Africa.

 

MAGIC International is the world's largest and most widely recognized trade show in the apparel industry and brings together a global audience of buyers and sellers of apparel and accessories for men, women, and children. With over 100,000 attendees and 3,300 exhibitors, attendance at the MAGIC show is key to gaining exposure and to finding new customers for any brand.

Global Mamas was pleased both to have a booth at the MAGIC Kids exhibition and also to be showcased in the MAGIC fashion show. MAGIC Kids features the most diverse collection of apparel, footwear, accessories and gifts for the childrenswear industry. Our exciting line of bright, colorful, hand-made children's clothing stood out among the crowd and attracted buyers from all over the globe.

 

Global Mamas receives rave reviews from its customers, which include children's clothing stores, zoos, museums, and gift shops. Judy Steele, owner of Wild Child Boutique in Evanston, IL has been carrying the Global Mamas line since it's inception. Steele noted, "Our customers purchase Global Mamas products first and foremost because of the bright colors and unique designs. That said, more and more of my customers are asking questions about where and how our products are made. It is a delight to offer them Global Mamas' products with the fair trade seal of approval."

 

"Global Mamas helped me pay advance rent on my house so I would not be evicted. My children can go to school again because I can pay for their school fees," says Gifty Saah, one of the Global Mamas. Elizabeth Ampiah of Eli-Emma Batik still can't believe her work is being sold so successfully in the US. "When I think of children in the USA wearing our monkey t-shirt or reptile cloth I feel so proud of our accomplishments," notes Ampiah.

 

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