THE TRIBAL DRUM
It is hard to believe that 2012 is drawing to a close and that we are buttoning down the hatches in preparation for the rainy season. After the initial few large storms we have already seen the advancement of millions of bugs and started to fix the leaks in our roofs before the full weight of the African rains is upon us!
The year has flown by and we are extremely proud of all that has been achieved. Our Production Team hit an all time high in the value of stock created, our core retail outlets have gone from strength to strength and we have welcomed exciting new wholesale clients in fresh countries including the Czech Republic, South Africa, Namibia and Japan.
This year has seen the launch of top selling designs in fresh colourways such as Various Animals in Earth and Raindance in Festive as well as the revamping of the kids Captain Zulu design and the brightening of our Cherry Blossom colourway. Our latest design Bubble has been very well received and our newest range of kids’ satchels, handbags, passport bags, wash bags, pencil cases and purses are literally flying off the shelves!
In addition the Amaizing Bag project has so far raised over $2500 for the extremely effective Mfuwe based charity Project Luangwa. Started earlier this year our aim was to recycle the iconic Zambian maize sac into trendy, practical bags with Tribal’s trademark flare.
Through the huge support of local Safari lodges, retail clients and passionate wholesale clients such as Elm Tree School in the UK and our latest stockist Jennifer Kawatu in the US we have been delighted with the positive response to such a worthwhile initiative.
The Amaizing bags were also a hit at the annual Zambian Art and Design Show where over $3000 was made by the hard work of Project Luangwa founder Jo Pope and Project Coordinator Karen Beattie.
Christmas Fair, based in Lusaka, was attended by nearly 2000 people and we were delighted by the positive response with our stand having the most successful year yet. Our textiles were beautifully displayed and our iconic kids’ designs, new kids’ products and funky Teepees, our beautiful and unique Tribal Art pieces and latest designs such as Bubble and Jungle Leaf all contributed to the success.
Did you know……Zambia’s name comes from the Zambezi River and the word Zambezi originates from the local word ‘yambezhi’ meaning ‘heart of all’. This name could explain why Zambians are recognized as being amongst the most hospitable; in Zambian culture it is expected that people call in unannounced and friendly conversation is recognized as a favourite past time, with a particular emphasis put on storytelling.
2012 has also been a ground breaking year for our Workshop Manager Moses Musa. He celebrates his twentieth anniversary with the company and has been with Gillie since Tribal Textiles’ very beginning. As a young married man of 20 years old Moses was forced to give up school due to lack of sponsorship. Luckily Gillie identified his potential when he was working as a kitchen porter in Luawata Camp where she lived. He was only the second person she employed for her start up textile project. Moses showed great talent for not only the creative side of Tribal Textiles, where he made an excellent starcher, but also as a manager. As Tribal grew so did Moses’ role and soon he found himself heading up a team of six artists. He thinks fondly back to those early days and says he loved being so involved in the design work and so hands on with the creative process.
Tribal Textiles kept growing and, in 1998, Gillie decided to move to the much more accessible Mfuwe area where there was a tar road and a small airport. With these simple amenities she had the basics needed to make Tribal Textiles an internationally recognized business. Moses moved with her and as the workshop grew so did his managerial experience; he now manages 100 artists. When asked about his favourite Tribal Textiles memory Moses thinks fondly back to the days when Gillie would sweep into work like a force of nature, throw cotton down in front of the artists and tell them to draw anything they wanted and to be as creative as they could!
We cannot help but be excited about 2013 already! Not only are we already receiving wholesale orders and planning our schedule but we have many new designs and projects up our sleeve. We are also very excited to be working with our sister company Jackal & Hide www.jackalandhide.net to enable wholesale clients to combine the freight of our beautiful hand painted textiles with stunning handmade leather bags and accessories.
For now we wish you a very Happy Christmas and hope that you have a prosperous and healthy New Year! The whole Tribal Textiles team would like to thank you for your continued support of our wonderful company in the heart of the African bush.