Louvre boutique to carry Jordanian jewellery, supporting handicraft exports and creating jobs
EnACT is working in Jordan to create sustainable economic opportunities for SMEs by connecting them to international markets and non-traditional high end buyers. In September 2011, three Jordanian handicraft manufacturers were introduced to the French market through a unique business meeting with the Louvre Museum, a meeting which has created employment opportunities for women and youth.
Jordan’s handicraft sector was chosen because of the predominance of women and youth working in the field, most of the time in workshops in isolated rural areas. Several people are involved in making a product, which means that one product sold in the market generates many employment opportunities. For example, at Silsal Ceramics, one of the participating SMEs, producing each piece of handicraft requires 25 people working in tandem during seven stages over two months. All work takes place on site, and whenever possible, all materials are local. Further employment opportunities are created when the product is packaged and shipped.
Three top tier Jordanian companies – Silsal Ceramics, Jordan River Foundation and Nadia Dajani Jewellery – were selected to be the first participants in the marketing mission to Paris. Representatives from the companies made a number of business contacts and discovered that a lot of potential exists for their products, if some adjustments are made in terms of design and pricing to cater for international markets.
Back at home, the three companies who took part in the Paris meetings lobbied the Jordanian Government for support to take part in the 2012 Maison & Objet trade show in Paris.
EnACT also convinced Royal Jordanian Airlines to include a series of articles on traditional handicraft products ‘Made in Jordan’ in its in-flight magazine, Royal Wings throughout 2011 and 2012. The articles were seen by millions of travellers, not only those who travelled to Jordan, but all those who flew Royal Jordanian to other parts of the world.
Efforts to market Jordanian handicrafts to an international market have already reaped benefits. Nadia Dajani from Nadia Dajani Jewellery, said: “Through the project we have employed ladies from less privileged backgrounds in Jordan who have been taught all their skills by us. The more work we give the ladies, the more they upgrade their standard of living and the more their confidence grows.” Ms. Dajani said that future generations will continue to benefit from the project. EnACT continues to try to find new buyers for Jordanian handicraft and market Jordanian products abroad, it is also partnering with national trade support institutions such as the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO) and the Ministry of Tourism on developing the competitiveness of the handicrafts sector.
Several capacity building missions and workshops are being organized on product design, quality and innovation, packaging, competitive pricing, cost-effective sourcing, understanding market preferences, negotiation and compliance with buyer requirements. National and regional experts have been involved throughout the programme. Capacity building workshops are simultaneously conducted outside Amman for women and youth in Arabic in order to ensure maximum reach to local populations in remote regions within the country.
EnACT’s handicraft development programme has been made possible thanks to the support of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and active participation and trust of the beneficiary enterprises in the EnACT programme, which is financed by the Canadian government.