Below you can find the Frequently Asked Questions. Can not find your question? Please contact us here.
ARE YOU AN AUTHORISED COMPANY WITH REGARD TO FAIR TRADE?
Townshipsmile is not Fair Trade certified by WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation). We have been working since the establishment of Townshipsmile (2012) according to fair trade criteria, but deliberately choose not to become certified, because of the costly process. As we often work directly with the producers and visit them yearly, we know a lot about the way we work and we believe that is a good and responsible business behaviour. To make this visible to you, we try to show as much of the creators & artisans as we can.
HOW MUCH OF SALES PROCEDES GO TO THE ARTISANS?
This is a question we often hear. The actual salary of our artisans varies by product. All salaries in any event exceed the minimum wage in South Africa and often far above it. Thus the artisans are well equipped to support themselves and their families.
WHY IS TOWNSHIPSMILE NOT A FOUNDATION?
We believe in trade, based on equality. The talent of the African artisans is combined with the knowledge of the European market, which we posses. This creates jobs. And of course, as said before, we check regularly that all these artisans work in good conditions, with above government standard wage. Thus we can make a living in both parts of the world. Townshipsmile wants to show that Africa has high quality, trendy design products on offer.
It has nothing to do with the aim of ‘helping poor people in Africa’. We ask our customers therefore, to only buy when they find something that’s really nice, something they really like; not with the intention ‘to help people from Africa.”
In reflection to what is written above, our artisans shared with us that they are just so enormously proud of what they create and that doing business with us gives a very positive impact on their self esteem!
How eye opening! How wonderful!
WHEN I TRAVEL IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, I SEE THE SAME FAIR TRADE PRODUCTS AS IN EUROPE, BUT MUCH CHEAPER. WHY?
The products that Townshipsmile imports from Africa, are not the same as you encounter in developing countries at the local markets. Firstly, the materials we use are of much higher quality so that our products last longer. Secondly, we ensure that our artisans receive a good salary; the artisans or sales men at local markets are most likely very poorly paid. Thirdly, as we import our products into the Netherlands we encounter additional costs, due to shipping, packaging etc, all of which we try to keep to a minimum. Lastly, we put a small percentage on the products to help keep Townshipsmile running as smoothly as possible. All this combined creates a market retail price for our products.