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The CDI announce name change, launch Design Directory and release results of CDI design retail survey

The Cape Craft + Design Institute is now the Craft + Design Institute (CDI) - a national craft and design sector development organisation supporting businesses and sector development in all nine provinces.
Erica Elk, executive director of the CDI.

According to Erica Elk, executive director of the CDI, it is a landmark moment in the organisation’s history. “Over the past year our team has successfully taken our services across the country – we have conducted a business and product development workshop series in every single province and received incredibly positive feedback. The message clearly is ‘more please’.

“As we have been rolling out our national activities – working closely with provincial and national partners in the public sector, and increasingly with civil society and the private sector – we have come to see that it is time for this exciting evolution. The reality is that we are now operating as a national organisation. And so, our name now needs to reflect the broadness of our vision and mandate and our commitment to the development of the sector across the whole country.”

SA’s first craft and design directory launched


The announcement of the renaming of the Cape Craft and Design Institute as the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) coincides with the release of a new book, Design Directory, cataloguing hundreds of beautiful South African craft and design products has also launched to celebrate local talent. The Design Directory is intended as an attractive, easy-to-use resource profiling the diverse collective output of South African makers and designers.

Design Directory, cataloguing hundreds of beautiful South African craft and design products.

“Over the past year our team has taken our services across the country. And we have done so successfully – we have conducted a business and product development workshop series in every single province and received incredibly positive feedback. The message clearly is ‘more please.’ This book, with its showcase of the amazing talent we have worked with over the years and around the country, is envisioned as a national resource to share just how much of an abundance of talent exists out there around our country,” says Elk.

She added that local and global consumers are placing increasing value on South African indigenous design, finely handmade and manufactured quality products that tell the story of the context and their makers. The Design Directory represents one of the new and exciting ways the CDI is opening up market access for local creatives.

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This year the CDI also launched an online digital platform which is a first in South Africa – an un-curated, democratic and visually driven digital platform that puts makers directly in contact with consumers and buyers. This platform, supported by the South African Department of Small Business Development, has grown rapidly and already showcases over 2,000 beautiful local products.

The Design Directory is available to purchase (R290) at good bookstores nationally, at the CDI office and online.

Businesses can contact Craig Carbutt to find out more about being included in the next edition: or on 021 461 14.

CDI survey shows value of design retail in Cape Town is over R400m


In addition the CDI has also conducted a survey which focuses specifically on the Cape Town design retail sector for craft and design products. The survey reveals that 60 local design retailers generate at least R200m worth of retail trade which goes directly in to the local economy as 77% of the suppliers are from the province; and two prime retail nodes, the Watershed and Bay Harbour market in Hout Bay, generate R150m and R200m in annual sales respectively.

“Conservatively, if you combine these three figures, and adjust for some overlaps, we can say that the sector contributes at least R400m in to the local economy annually,”’ says Elk. “This doesn’t take into account the huge value of trade at weekly, monthly and seasonal craft markets,” she adds.

The survey consisted of a survey of 60 design retailers in Cape Town and looked at key areas such as turnover and job creation, as well as the market conditions businesses operate in and the challenges faced.
Some of the findings from the survey include:
  • Design retailers’ combined turnover is estimated at up to R200,4m. Most design retailers’ turnover falls into the R600,001 and R3m band. 
  • Foreign tourists were design retailers’ main customer (46% of respondents’ attribute over 50% of their sales to them), locals followed closely behind in second place (35%), with domestic tourists lagging behind in third place (13%).
  • The retailers employed up to 1,220 full time employees on the top end of the estimate. A typical design retailer creates between 1 and 10 direct jobs. Design retailers’ contribution to job creation includes jobs created by suppliers – these are estimated at up to 1,980 indirect jobs for the 60 respondents.
  • 77% of respondents indicated that their suppliers are based in Cape Town and the wider Western Cape region.
  • There are strong mutually beneficial linkages between the design, tourism and lifestyle sectors (85% of respondents agreed). The design goods sector creates an ‘experience’ that supports the development of tourism and lifestyle sectors. Whereas these aforementioned sectors increase the demand for design products, especially among consumers with a high-level of disposable income. According to Elk, there has historically been a lack of research on the sector in general in South Africa, and the design retail survey is an initial step on the part of the CDI to begin to measure the local sector in more detail. 
Other findings of the survey include:
  • 87% of the businesses are creating employment opportunities for those that with matric or less (National research shows that 91.5% of the unemployed in the province have a matric certificate or less)
  • 65.8% of the businesses surveyed are women owned (National research shows the national average for small businesses is only 43%)
The survey also looked at two local design retail nodes and how they have stimulated economic activity and local development:

The Watershed, which is the craft and design node at the V&A Waterfront, represents a significant investment by the private sector. The V&A invested R50m in the makeover of the space. This investment has proven its value, in its first year of trading the Watershed reported an exceptional 300% increase in retail trade for the 150 craft and design businesses trading at that site. The Watershed’s combined turnover for 2015/16 was R164m.

At the Hout Bay Harbour Market, for the 12 months ended October 2016, the market attracted 312,000 visitors. In addition, foot traffic has steadily increased year-on-year. Compared to 2014, visitors increased by 10% in 2015, whereas in 2016 visitors grew by 12% compared to 2015. The market creates employment opportunities for the local community through outsourcing its trade services and people form micro-enterprises to provide a service. Turnover is estimated at R200m.

This survey provides evidence to support some the trends the CDI has observed, she adds: the high proportion of women ownership, job creation, value to the tourism and lifestyle sectors, how these design retailers support the regional economy through using local suppliers, and the growth of local nodes.
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