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SA design talent to showcase at NEXT20 Trade Exhibition

Forty-five talented South African designers will have their products feature at the NEXT20 Trade Exhibition, taking place from 27 February to 1 March 2020 at the V&A Waterfront's Workshop17.
Unique Driftwood Creations
Unique Driftwood Creations

The free exhibition is an initiative of the Craft and Design Institute (CDI), and is the third such event hosted in Cape Town. It forms part of the CDI’s export development programme, which helps small and medium businesses in South Africa to develop and grow. Over 70 entrepreneurs have been participating in this programme, taking their design studio, workshop or manufacturing company to the ‘next level’, and onwards to the export market.

Launched in 2018, the NEXT Trade Exhibition has grown annually. The 2019 event drew in dozens of international trade buyers from a diverse array of countries including Denmark, France, Sweden, Italy and the US.

Product ranges to be showcased at the NEXT20 trade event include small furniture, lighting, home textiles, fashion and home accessories. Over a dozen new participants will take part this year, alongside more established makers.

Among those participating for the first time is OneOfEach, producers of bespoke African-inspired handbags and accessories, co-owned by Tamburai Chirume and her mother, Pauline.

OneOfEach Kush Tote
OneOfEach Kush Tote

Award-winning sculptor, woodcarver and artist Boniface Chikwenhere, founder of Unique Driftwood Creations, is another new exhibitor who will showcase his beautiful carved pieces. Walk the Talk Africa will be showcasing its new range of handcrafted slippers which are made using fabric remnants, off-cuts and discontinued fabric books.

Taking SA design to the world

The CDI, a South African non-profit company, is focused on developing creative people, small businesses and the craft and design sector at large, and currently supports over 5,600 businesses and individuals in the South African craft and design sector.

Its export development programme has been running for several years and was initiated and run with the support of the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI). According to the CDI, the export programme saw an average of over 50% increase in export sales (from 2016 to 2018 to European markets).

The export programme focusses on the professional development of entrepreneurs, providing training and coaching to prepare them for entry into the international market. To put into practice the training, some of the businesses have participated in leading trade fairs such as Maison & Objet in Paris and Ambiente in Frankfurt. The project also provided opportunities to participate in South African trade fairs, such as 100% Design and SARCDA.

Erica Elk, executive director of the CDI, says the export development programme and the annual NEXT Trade Exhibition has been a successful platform for local small businesses to take their products and South African design to the world.

“The training opportunities provided by the CDI to these South African enterprises have helped them take a significant step forward into the international marketplace, which is evident in their increase in export sales. Since the inception of NEXT two years ago, we have seen buyers visit the trade exhibition from across the world, and we fully expect that this year we will attract even more with an expanded group on our programme and the incredible new product ranges being brought into the market.”

The NEXT20 Trade Exhibition has been made possible thanks to funding from the Department of Arts and Culture, with the support of the Dutch Consulate, which funded export training during the past year, and the V&A Waterfront and Workshop17, who have provided the 2020 venue.

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