www.infoafricanow.com just had the pleasure of having a one on one with Beauty of Rwanda, a UK based company whose sole purpose is to sell Rwandan artifacts to Europe and the rest of the world. The new company has wonderful plans in store, and we are honored to share them with you...
infoafricanow.com: What is Beauty of Rwanda?
Beauty of Rwanda is a unique for profit company that is working to change the lives of impoverished Rwandans. We are trying to restore and heal the people of Rwanda. The vision of the company is to sell Rwandan artifacts to people in the west thus helping all the craftsmen and women of Rwanda, many of whom are survivors of the Rwanda genocide against the Tutsi that took place in 1994.
www.infoafricanow.com: Where are you based?
Beauty of Rwanda: We are based in Newcastle, United Kingdom.
www.infoafricanow.com: What products do you sell?
Beauty of Rwanda: We sell hand made products from Rwanda. They are made from papyrus, sisal, banana and grass fibre and other raw materials from Rwanda.
www.infoafricanow.com: What are some of the challenges you are facing in the process of selling crafts in the west?
Beauty of Rwanda: I know that there is huge interest in African artifacts both from ex-pats living in Europe, North America etc.and/or others who may have visited Africa on holiday as tourists.
The challenge is to find a way to bring to market genuinely locally sourced products rather than mass produced fakes which do not benefit the real crafts men and women of Africa.
www.infoafricanow.com: What is your take on the African Crafts market?
Beauty of Rwanda: The market is there and it's huge but how huge is the key question.... We are trying to sell from a website (www.beautyofrwanda.com) so that we can capture those who can't physically travel to Rwanda to buy the crafts. In other words, we are going to bring Rwanda to them!
www.infoafricanow.com: Are you open to partnerships with artisans in other African countries apart from Rwanda?
Beauty of Rwanda: Yes, absolutely, provided that it fitted in with the overall ethos of Beauty of Rwanda.
www.infoafricanow.com: What inspired you to venture into this trade?
Beauty of Rwanda: I knew of different men and women associations based in Rwanda that sold rwandan crafts. Most of the members of these groups are survivors of the genocide as I had earlier mentioned. Some are the wives of men serving time for atrocities they committed in the genocide. Others are women who were raped and are HIV positive. The work they do is their only means of earning a livelihood for them and their families. These women are very skilled and their crafts are beautiful but their finished products were only being sold in Rwanda and one or two other countries....They are my inspiration.
www.infoafricanow.com: What are your future plans?
Beauty of Rwanda: Our dream is to bring the traditional culture and produce of Rwanda to a worldwide audience. The success of the company will be measured by the improved quality of life and opportunities of the craftsmen and women of Rwanda. One day, maybe a shop right here in Newcastle? Wow...that would be amazing.
www.infoafricanow.com: What advice would you give anyone venturing into the international crafts trade?
Beauty of Rwanda: One has to research the market just like any other thing I suppose. This is a first for us so we are still learning and taking every good advice on board. We hope many people will take the journey with us.
For more information, email Beauty of Rwanda at firstname.lastname@example.org, or take a peak at their beautiful website: www.beautyofrwanda.com They can also be found on twitter: @beautyofrwanda