Located in Kampala, Easy Afric Designs Ltd. (EAD) was created in 2001 by Sarah Nakisanze, an industrial artist and teacher. With her passion for artistic creation, she sought to build an artisanal network and translate creations into industrials products for all. This led her research on the rejuvenation of the Ugandan barkcloth – a world heritage fabric (UNESCO 2005) – through art and craft productions. Following that research, she founded Easy Afric Designs. The enterprise started with only 1 full-time worker and 8 casual workers and grew to 11 full-time and over 40 casual workers today.
The company proposed a money-lending system made up of a pooling and revolving scheme, where each of its suppliers gets an opportunity to receive a lump sum of money from the others which has helped some set up alternative businesses and many other activities that need large amounts of money to get started. The economic empowerment opportunity has facilitated the creation of a high self-esteem, social and economic network. Furthermore, this rural producer has now become the teacher of the next generation which has made the whole process of training relatively affordable and sustainable.
Since barkcloth’s image was old-fashioned, EAD struggled to sell its products on the market. However, thanks to the TDC’s marketing coaching programme, EAD developed new product lines: trendy bags, gifts and wrapping paper for the domestic market and designer bags and accessories for the export market. Visibility and communication were developed too: with ‘simply authentic’ and ‘simply ethnic’, EAD now highlights its unique, authentic and sustainable character and, with this approach, has even been able to enter the Australian market.
“TDC support came at the right time and is very well adapted to both develop the activity locally and internationally. It’s a perfect mix between market research, account management, and how each element contributes to the other. It was short but ultra-intense coaching.” DRIS Consult.
From June 2014 to January 2016: 38,898€ to design an new marketing plan:
- Training in business and marketing development;
- E-marketing development;
- Fair participations and financing.