Kutenda Crafts is an up and coming business offering Zimbabwean fashion accessories. Kutenda Crafts is the brainchild of entrepreneur Felistus Chibanda.
Felistus has a passion for promoting Zimbabwean handcrafted products whilst retaining the traditional African fashion integrity.
She is based in Murewa, Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe.
I am incredibly excited to feature Felistus and her work on GreenLivingUK and learn about her entrepreneurial journey.
Felistus, thank you very much for this interview. Can you tell us a little about you and how you came up with the business idea?
I came up with the idea that we can help retain African identity in dressing by recycling industrial and domestic waste.
My business idea came because I became involved in the tourism industry, which presents a very good opportunity for female entrepreneurs since there are very few women and young people doing business in this market.
My passion for marketing Zimbabwean handcrafted products to our tourists also made me come up with the idea.
Can you tell us how you create your designs for Kutenda Crafts? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I dream and create my designs using bare hands, needles, thread, maize pods, Musasa tree.
My inspiration comes from the women I work with as we use the knowledge passed on to us from different generations to give the best of Zimbabwean and African fashion history.
I work with a diversified and hardworking team that has the necessary skills to work diligently.
You use many upcycled and natural materials like Maize and pods from the Mopani trees. Why are you choosing these materials, and where do you source them from?
I use these upcycled and natural materials like maize and pods from the Mopane trees since they are readily available. Mashonaland East, where I am located, is rich in these natural materials.
I also reuse Ankara fabric offcuts to create earrings, necklaces and other accessories.
You also teach other women how to make their own creations; why is this important to you?
It is important to me because I champion fostering women’s entrepreneurship, development, employment and empowerment.
The women learn new skills how to use their bare hands creatively. They can create business opportunities and become independent.
I also share my knowledge passed on to me from different generations with fellow women.
It is of great importance to me as I improve my skills too.
What are you hoping to achieve with these courses?
As the market grows big, I will need fellow women to help me meet the demand.
Together, I predict that we will reach annual revenue of more than $100000 in the next two years, supplying the local markets.
We will succeed by working with just 5% of the regional billion-dollar market.
As female entrepreneurs, I hope that we will attend national, regional, and international market fairs like those organised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
What does the local community think of your business? Are they supportive?
I have started offering my products in the market, and I had a great response. I am offering high-quality handcrafted accessories, and my stock is always in short supply.
The community is very appreciative and supportive as they buy from women entrepreneurs, supporting their families.
What other projects are you involved with?
I am also involved in balloon decoration for events, making hat fascinators for weddings, Ankara slopes and crame bags.
Where do you see Kutenda Craft in the future?
Kutenda Crafts targets schools, heritage groups, the intangible heritage sector, individual tourists and visual and performing artists.
Our work plan for 2023/24 already recognises the importance of having online and offline sales to reach our furthest customers.
Kutenda Crafts is looking forward to employing 30 more people annually and opening 4 branches in Harare, Bulawayo, Kariba and Victoria Falls in the next two years.
Where can people find out more about Kutenda Crafts?
Images provided by Kutenda Crafts.