Originally from Warwickshire England, Jane visited Zimbabwe for the first time during a gap year after leaving university. While working in Zimbabwe, Jane met her husband and made Zimbabwe her home, and discovered her passion for design, curation, and the desire to support the artisan community across the country through valued partnerships.
Jane’s company “Collaborative Craft Projects” takes a multi-faceted approach that is uncommon in the handicraft industry. Over the years, Jane has built strong relationships with artisan women throughout Zimbabwe by building trust, hiring, and teaching them to make the modern bespoke products her brand offers. The products range from stunning baskets made from Ilala Palm, Ibhuma, and other natural fibers native to Zimbabwe, to tableware, flooring solutions, exquisite lighting, and a 100% hospitality inspired range. These designs have had great success in Zimbabwe, and are featured in many luxury safari lodges across the country, who share CCP’s belief in helping small businesses and local producers rather than using imported goods and suppliers. Jane has also successfully established networks and agents, and exports products to markets in the United States, Australia, UK, France, UAE, New Zealand. She is always looking for new collaborations and partnerships.
A quick look at Collaborative Craft Projects’ Instagram page shows the wide range of products and the excellent craftsmanship of the artisans Jane works with. Artisans’ stories are a powerful feature of her brand and show her passion for the community she loves to call ‘home’.
Jane and her team have spent years training Zimbabwean artisans. Jane works hands-on with the artisans, providing skills training on new weaving techniques and new design styles. Her vast experience in the industry and market has established Collaborative Craft Projects as a ‘go-to resource’ for buyers who want unique products and custom designs. This type of productive relationships have a direct impact on the lives of the artisans.
Jane also offers her training expertise and design insight for others including Aid to Artisans’ recent CIEP II project in Lesotho. Jane’s work enabled ATA to assess the market potential for basketry in Lesotho, allowing for more effective project implementation.
In 2017, Jane joined Aid to Artisans’ Market Readiness Program (MRP) to further support her growing business.
The network she created and the one-on-one feedback with industry experts reassured Jane that her brand was “exactly where we are meant to be.” Jane left the MRP confident she can take her brand to the next level, and ramped up her export efforts. She remains in touch with other MRP alumni and is currently developing a Mentoring Programme aimed at aspiring young creatives, and others wishing to embark on a similar path in artisanal activities.
Photos credit of Collaborative Craft Projects