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Kaross Blog

July 25, 2017

Kaross Featured Embroiderer for May: Traiza Chiloane

Kaross Featured Embroiderer for May: Traiza Chiloane

The Kaross embroiderers are so good at what they do, so quietly confident in their demeanour as they carefully hand-embroider every single stitch that goes into Kaross’ functional art pieces, that they actually make it look easy. The opposite is in fact true – Kaross’ products require a lot of skill, involving ability, creativity and precision in large measures.

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May 09, 2017

Kaross featured embroiderer for April: Elisa Manyama

Kaross featured embroiderer for April: Elisa Manyama

Elisa Manyama (58), our featured embroiderer for April, is also the embroiderer of the second in our limited edition of five Lion Hunt cloths, a collection of 1x1.8m artworks designed by Ephas Mathebula.

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March 28, 2017

Ephas Mathebula: designer of the Lion Hunt collection

Ephas Mathebula - Kaross designer

Our second Lion Hunt cloth has just been released, a work of art designed by Ephas Mathebula and hand-embroidered by Elisa Manyama

We are proud to release the second 1x1.8m artwork in the Lion Hunt collection, which will be a limited edition of 5 cloths in total. This follows on from the first Lion Hunt cloth featured in August 2016, which was embroidered by Sylvia Khubayi and was sold shortly after its release. 

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March 28, 2017

Featured Embroiderers for KarossTashas: Noria Mahlaula and Try Kuna

Featured Embroiderers for KarossTashas: Noria Mahlaula and Try Kuna

We think that every person who works for Kaross is special, but then there are some that just become extra special, whose dedication to the art of embroidery produces exceptional quality, and whose craft suddenly seems to make the world a more beautiful place.

Kaross for Tashas – a beautiful idea

When we started working on Kaross for Tashas, we knew that beautiful ideas would remain just that – ideas – unless we could get excellent execution, embroiderers of the highest quality who could translate the ‘feel’ of the concepts into tangible pieces.

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March 26, 2017

Kaross – a small company with a big heart

Kaross – a small company with a big heart

One business dictionary defines entrepreneurship as “The capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture, along with any of its risks, in order to make a profit.” (businessdictionary.com)

In South Africa, as in many developing countries around the world, a lack of skills and employment opportunities are serious challenges to better socio-economic conditions for a large part of the population.

Entrepreneurship, especially as it relates to the development of small business ventures, is a critical component in addressing these challenges. Our government sees “the development of Small Businesses and Cooperatives as catalysts for economic growth and job creation.” [ see also https://www.thedti.gov.za/sme_development/docs/act.pdf]. I can truly say that my mother, Irma van Rooyen, personified this entrepreneurial spirit when she founded Kaross 28 years ago. She has built in all of us the willingness and capacity to develop Kaross, to take risks and grow our vision for the company and its people, and to work hard to establish a better life for everyone involved. Kaross started almost three decades ago with five embroiderers and Irma as designer, artist, marketer and administrator (besides being a mother of three young children and wife to a citrus farmer). The VaTsonga are traditionally very good at embroidery, but they lacked a means to derive economic value from their amazing African home decor items. Irma provided a vehicle for them through Kaross: she incorporated good design and sound business principles, and was unyielding in her insistence on excellent quality – values that have sustained and built Kaross all these years.

Kaross provides rural families the opportunity to start and run their own successful business via our online shop.

Kaross has grown to become a small company with a big heart: we only have about 22 full time employees at the studio, but we enable 1200 embroiderers to derive a good income from Kaross, that helps them to support their families and gives them hope for their children’s futures. Our model allows these embroiderers to create one-of-a-kind pieces of true African Art in the comfort of their own homes, in their own time and at their own pace, effectively enabling them to be in charge of their own incomes, whilst having time to raise their children, manage their households and in many instances, manage their own businesses on the side. We strongly believe that this model is key to growing successful small businesses across Southern Africa. Kaross is based in a rural, farming region of the Limpopo province, where the majority of employment is part time and dependent on harvesting seasons.

Another benefit of our model is that we provide work throughout the year, thus people do not have to migrate to larger economic centres to find work in the ‘off’ season. Kaross is a “for-profit” company: if we do not make a profit we cannot be a viable business, but we strive to put as much as possible of the profits back into our community. If we look at the 2015/2016 budget for small businesses, we come to realize that is is not just up to government to help grow SMME's and small businesses, but that we all have a moral obligation to help our felllow South Africans become more prosperous and independent.

The employment creation and upliftment aspects of Kaross’ mission remain our driving force and we are happy to say that they are key to all developmental and business decisions in Kaross. With the launch of our new online store we aim to further increase the footprint of our embroiderers' products and to help them grow their businesses even further.

 

 

March 09, 2017

Our new Kaross Tashas collection has been released! Inspired by the theme African Splendour

Our new Kaross Tashas collection has been released! Inspired by the theme African Splendour

Did you know that there are elephants in the heart of Johannesburg, the biggest city in Africa? And a few leopard and giraffe, flamingoes and hoopoes, even a shy zebra or two? They peek at you from behind a palm frond, march across the African savannah, chill in front of a cup of coffee, float serenely into view, and will go along to where your imagination takes them.

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March 08, 2017

Kaross featured embroiderer for February: Thandy Ngobeni

Kaross featured embroiderer for February: Thandy Ngobeni

Thandy Ngobeni (37), our featured embroiderer for February, is an entrepeneur in heart and soul. Besides crafting beautiful embroidery for Kaross, she has her own business selling fruit and vegetables in her home village of Nyagelane.

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February 06, 2017

Kaross featured embroiderer for November: Lonia Ngobeni

Kaross featured embroiderer for November: Lonia Ngobeni

A vibrant woman who handcrafts equally striking embroidery

How striking is this navy, turquoise and wine cushion cover with fish design, embroidered by Lonia Ngobeni, our featured embroiderer for November?

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December 07, 2016

Kaross products are now available at the British Museum shops in London

British Museum exhibition on South African Art

The British Museum is currently hosting an exhibition titled South Africa: the art of a nation, which looks at the artistic heritage of the country through archaeological, historic and contemporary artworks. 

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December 01, 2016

We visit the Mangenas, a valued family in the Kaross community

Mangena family  - cattle farmers and Kaross embroiderers

What do cattle and goats have to do with Kaross? Traditionally not much - our designs do not feature many domestic animals and our studio is based on a citrus farm.

However, one livestock farmer has managed to become an integral part of the Kaross community in his quiet way.

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