Wild Coast Trading Company provides national platform
LISA Jones’s online store, The Wild Coast Trading Company, has been giving local artists and crafters a platform to market their wares since it started in July.
The online store has shown steady growth and now boasts a range of artwork and crafts from 14 different artists and crafters and Jones is set to add another 20 in the next month.
“The response has been overwhelming. I have a long waiting list of crafters who want to be added to the website and the orders just keep coming, especially from the Johannesburg, Limpopo and Mpumalanga areas,” Jones said.
Since returning to her hometown of East London after living in the UK for 10 years, Jones’s love for the Eastern Cape and her natural flare for sales and marketing lead her to embark on this business venture.
“The Eastern Cape is my home. We are still the poorest province, so I had to make a plan and find a way to give back and help. I was pretty terrified at first, but sales started taking off almost immediately,” Jones said.
Wild Coast Trading is solely an online store and includes the work of well-known woodcut artist Jeff Rankin, ceramicists John Steele and Nosikhumbuzo Khabane, as well as traditional Xhosa seamstress and beader Tembeka Metele, among many others.
The online store offers everything from homemade soaps, jewellery and paper to games such as the Wild Voices deck of cards and the popular Rolling Rhinos. Currently, Jones’s online store is the only online platform where the Rolling Rhinos game can be purchased.
“There is so much talent here in the Eastern Cape. I have so many creative friends and I’ve met so many people who make the most beautiful things. The problem is that they don’t always know how or have the time to market their products. That’s where I come in,” Jones said.
Working on fair trade principles, all of the artists and crafters receive a high percentage of their sales and each artist’s story is featured on the “About the Artist” page of www.thewildcoasttradingcompany.co.za.
Excited about what’s to come, Jones continues to source artists and crafters and curate and photograph their work to build up the online store even further.
In the next month, Jones plans to add products from two unique leather bag crafters, children’s booties or “hogtrotters” from a crafter in Hogsback, as well as products from a local weaver, to name but a few.
“I am so excited for what’s to come. I want to broaden the store as much as possible and add a variety of different products. I aim to keep up with the market by working with the crafters to tweak and improve their products if needed,” Jones said.
“I would love to go international and export products in the future, but for now I’m focusing on building up a vast collection of products and getting more artists and crafters on board.”
●Jones will be running a competition on Facebook, starting today. Two people stand the chance to win a R200 voucher each for any products on the website. For more information, visit The Wild Coast Trading Company’s Facebook page.