It is Christmas Eve and I’ve finally gotten a hold of the maker of one of my favorite straw bags. I fell in love with his bags months ago in Mohammed’s shop: its hand-woven raffia, foam layers on the inside and durability of the handles was just breathtaking, I just had to meet the creator. Fortunately for me he called the day before Christmas Eve and asked we meet.
I made my way through Makola, moving through the coconut sellers and famous fabric sellers. We walked to the four-story building and made our way to the last floor where his workshop was.
“I really love your products. They are so detailed and well done. I’m a huge fan of authentic goods so when I see a bag like yours, I’m in heaven.”
“Thank you! I’ve been making these bags for 10 years now. I started it with my uncle using ropes imported from China but eventually we decided to use local materials and began experimenting using corn and plantain leaves.”
What is your biggest fear?
“The Chinese. You see my slippers; they used to be handmade made-in-Ghana and were a little expensive. I bought this for 5GH, its made in China but looks exactly like the ones we make locally. My biggest worry is some Ghanaians will take my idea, go to China and manufacture hundreds of bags a day. It takes me two to three days to make one bag so there is no way I can compete with such a person.”
What’s the next step for your bags?
“I want to mass produce them so I always have some available when an order is placed. Currently, I make them by order and that drives away customers when I have too many orders because it means they have to wait longer. I hope to hire and train some young people to help me mass-produce and sell all over Ghana and beyond.
You can view Paul’s bag here, it is on sale for 20% from now until Friday 1/1/2016, discount code is BuyGhanaMade.
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