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Friday, August 27, 2004

What's it like to work for eShopAfrica?

Deborah Jones, a UK post graduate volunteered to work for eShopAfrica during the summer of 2004. Although she is still continuing her studies she wanted to know what it was like to work for an African fair trade arts and crafts business. We were very happy to have her! As well as helping out in the office she helped survey our artisans on what their goals and aspirations are.

As an outsider coming from the UK she was full of ideas and initiated a bead marketing campaign for UK beadshops. She also had some good ideas to make the website better.

Deborah is now continuing her studies at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London and we wish her all success and hope that she'll come and visit us in Ghana again soon.

This is what she said about us:

"Working for eShopAfrica in Ghana taught me that whilst running a business in Africa is challenging, it is also immensely rewarding.

Part of the work I did out there was to interview the artisans about their plans and ambitions. Before I went, I thought the company had set itself a big challenge in helping these people earn a good living from selling their products, but I was not prepared for how enterprising and resourceful these men and women were. I was really impessed by their plans to speed up production and break into new markets.

The challenge they faced on a day to day basis; competition from others selling similar goods, the difficulty of getting hold of raw materials and the pace of life in Ghana, which means everything takes a long time, were akin to the challenges eShopAfrica faces. I really liked the fact there was no conflict of interest between the artisans who were all trying to develop their businesses, and the company that buys from them. They are all small concerns, but they can, and are, helping each other."

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Feedback: Ga Coffins: G Winston, UK

I ordered a decorated chest from eShopAfrica in the shape of a pepper. It's brilliant - a real collector's item. I had seen the work of the Ga carpenters in National Geographic but never thought I would be able to have one without going to Africa to get it.