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Saturday, October 22, 2016

A bag of frozen chicken parts?


Ncamile, Kim, Hlengiwe, S'bonga, Nqobile.
This week I had fun.   I don’t have fun very often. I LOVE my job and my life, but “fun” isn’t really a word I would use to describe by life, but this week I had fun.  My cousin Kim came to visit with her husband Joe and their friends Carol and Barry.  Since I first started my marketing business in Canada back in 1988 I wanted to hire Kim, but children, location, time and space never allowed us to work together.  But now, here we are in our 50’s and I have finally been able to hire and work alongside one of the brightest, creative, hard working sales people that I know.  In January Kim became the North American Sales Manager for Khutsala Artisans, based in Chardon, Ohio and this week we had fun together!

Kim came this week to work with the Khutsala Artisans team. We spent time talking about sales targets, pouring over spreadsheets, designing jewelry, packing boxes to ship and suitcases to carry.  She also came to encourage, thank and love the workers who are responsible for producing the product that she sells.  Let me give you an idea of what this team did in 2016.

In 2016 (only our 3rd year in business) our amazing team of 100+ artisans produced:

  • 3,152 assorted key chains (hearts, giraffes, flowers, elephants, Africa)


  •  54,836 Christmas tree ornaments (4 different designs)


  • 3,592 3D beaded giraffes, elephants, zebras and owls

  • 297 Angel decorations/tree toppers


  • 475 of the cutest reindeer decorations!


It total they have handmade 62,352 pieces of art made from wire and colored beads, and that does not include thousands of pieces of jewelry that were produced as well.

Before Kim came she told me she and her friend Carol wanted to buy a “treat” for all of the workers to thank them for learning a new trade and making each item with love and excellence. I spoke with our Production Manager and asked what would be the perfect treat, and a plan was made.

Yesterday the Khutsala Artisans stopped work early and sat in a dark room while I showed them our brand new website (www.khutsala.com).  Of the 105 people in the room, only four are on Facebook and the rest did not know what the internet was, but I did my best to explain. They were so excited to see their own faces on our site and squealed with delight when they saw the really awesome 1-minute videos that we have about how some of our things are made (you really need to go watch them – they are fun - https://heartforafrica.myshopify.com/pages/how-its-made). 

And then we announced what the real “treat” was. Each person would be given a 2KG (4.4 pound) bag of frozen chicken parts and a 2L bottle of Coke.  The room literally erupted in screaming (remember the day that Oprah gave away cars to her audience? Kinda like that.).  They jumped, they sang, they danced and after everyone received their frozen chicken and Coke there was a spontaneous dance party at Khutsala. A bag of frozen chicken parts showed our people that they are loved and appreciated - and last night their families all got to eat chicken!


“Khutsala” means “hard working person” in siSwati, and each of these artisans have worked hard this year to learn how to make beautiful products so that they can provide food and school fees for their own families. BUT as Kim and I discussed, if we don’t sell the product, we won’t need to keep them employed again next year.

Today I am asking you to go to our www.khutsala.com website and start your Christmas shopping.  This new website allows for Canadians to shop too (finally!).  We have many new and beautiful items for sale.  Your shopping will literally save the lives of the families whom we employ and 100% of the profit goes directly back to providing for our 141 (142 on Monday) children who call Project Canaan home.

If you are interested in hosting a jewelry party at your home or help us sell our goods, please email me at janine@heartforafrica.org or kime@heartforafrica.org.  

Live from Swaziland … hoping you will shop at www.khutsala.com today!  

Janine

PS - we also have some handmade wood and sisal ornaments. The wood and the sisal are harvested directly from Project Canaan.




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