Traditional African brooms
Traditional African brooms

  • Bespoke, a local luxury home décor and online wedding registry, is selling traditional African brooms for R575 and reed mats for over R4,000. 
  • Similar brooms can be found at various local markets for under R50.  
  • Reed mats which are typically made by African women usually sell for less than R150.
  • The luxury décor outlet sources its products from Madwa, which works closely with eSwatini women who make these products and sell them in community upliftment projects.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Bespoke, a local home décor outlet and online wedding registry, is selling handwoven brooms for R575 and traditional mats made from reeds for over R4,000 – these are typically on the market for under R150 in other local stores.

The products on the outlet's website are sourced from a UK-registered charity Madwa. The charity works closely with craft women from eSwatini who hand-make brooms and mats – which they would normally sell at low prices – and puts them on the market at higher prices.

According to Madwa's Venessa Stephens, the company works with weavers on the pricing of each item to ensure that they are all fairly compensated and to uplift the community through employment and skills development.

"The Madwa Foundation is focused on providing support to artisans based in eSwatini, with the goal of helping these craftswomen to use their skills to achieve financial independence.

"We do this by providing them with training, infrastructure, and access to national and international markets. The Madwa Foundation is funded primarily by the sales of its product," said Stephens. 

A few stores that source handwoven traditional products from Madwa include Pazula Interiors and Bespoke.

While Madwa sell what they call the Indigo trimmed beach broom for R250, Pezula Interior sell it for R290. Bespoke, on the other hand, sell it for a markup of R325, which brings the total cost to R575.

Traditional African Brooms (Bespoke)
Traditional African Brooms (Bespoke)

A local seller on Facebook is offering the same brooms for R40 each.

Mthanyelo (broom) sold by Facebook seller
Mthanyelo (broom) sold by Facebook seller (Facebook)

For a single 1660cm x 210cm plain brown traditional mat made of Likhwane reed and cotton on Bespoke, expect to pay R4,300. The same one costs R1,500 on Pazula.  

Likhwane rectengular mat (Bespoke)
Likhwane rectengular mat (Bespoke)

The chicken wire design likhwane rectangular 160cm x 210cm mat goes for R5,175 on Bespoke, while the same one costs R1,800 on Pazula interior.

Chicken wire design likhwane rectangular mat (Besp
Chicken wire design likhwane rectangular mat (Bespoke)

On one Facebook store, a similar reed mat costs only R120.

Reed mat sold by Facebook seller (Facebook)
Reed mat sold by Facebook seller (Facebook)

In order to get these mats, customers need to pace an order two to three weeks in advance.

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