By Maki Kawamoto
On August 1, 2008, Global Mamas launched a new store in the touristic Osu area of Accra. One year later we are very excited to share our great success with you.
From the very beginning, when the volunteers Matthew Sturm and Megan Collins spent over 12 hours a day designing and setting up the store, it has been meticulously developed. Maki Kawamoto, our JICA volunteer who currently manages it, has streamlined the ordering and inventory processes and is continuously analyzing sales and rearranging products and racks as well as ensuring that the store is supplied with a wide variety of products to meet all tastes.
Store customers range from tourists walking in the area, who, after passing by the store get captivated by the huge variety of our colorful products, to expatriate mothers running into each other at the store before attending their kids’ friend’s birthday parties. Volunteers from international organizations also stop by the store to buy presents for their relatives. “Our customers love the unique designs and bright colors of our products,” says Rosemary, who was recently promoted to Store Manager; “many tell us they are able to point out a Global Mamas print when they see it out on the street.”
The store has also become our ‘fashion laboratory’, where we are able to test and perfect new samples through our customers’ feedback, analyze the potential of new styles through sales, and then launch a new product line containing only the best sellers. Something as simple as a comment from a customer can improve the lives of many women in the program.
We are also very pleased by the amazing welcome our slightly rejected products (those that did not meet standards for export) have received among our store customers. According to one of our customers “the quality of Global Mamas products is so high that in most cases the difference is not noticeable.” Since all proceeds go directly to the women who produce the products as well as the non-profit programs that assist the women with business development, it has been wonderful to have the opportunity to sell these products locally and at least earn back the investment made to produce the flawed products.
The steady growth of the store sales in this past year has translated in the creation of jobs and increased the income and standard of living for many women and their families in Africa; to all of you, THANK YOU!