The team behind Zimame Trading Co
Zimame Trading Co is a partnership between Jerry and Jillian Morris, who live on the edge of Dartmoor, near Tavistock in Devon.
As way of introduction:
Jerry has run his own carpentry and building business for over 30 years.
Whilst continuing with carpentry jobs - specialising in garden studios, and other bespoke work, Jerry has scaled down the building side of his business in order be more fully involved with the day to day running of Zimame.
Jillian continues to work part-time as a textile artist, occassionally running workshops in weaving and dyeing, as time allows.
She is a founder member of the Peter Tavy Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, and was a member of the former Textile Forum Southwest participating in their final event -Mapping the Future Exhibition in 2012, with work based around the slave trade/ fairtrade themes.
She's also a member of Drawn to the Valley - a local group of artists, based in and around the Tamar Valley - an area of outstanding natural beauty. In Sept 2013, the 10th year of the group, she will again participate in their open studios event.
No strangers to the joys and challenges of self-employment, we are gradually getting into our stride with running Zimame Trading alongside our other work.
We have 3 grown-up daughters, all very supportive of the venture, and 3 fantastic grand-children. As a family, and through our church [Kings, Tavistock] we have links in South Africa/Swaziland, and central Africa - Rwanda in particular. These links are part of the reason why we decided to take on the wholesale side of Injabulo.
About Zimame Trading Co
Zimame Trading Co is about art, textiles, craftmanship and the rich colours and designs from Africa. And of course, it is about supporting the artists and craftsmen behind the products. Earning a fair wage enables them to feed and clothe their families, and send their children to school. We are Injabulo wholesale - Injabulo is a zulu word for happiness.
The name "Zimame" is made up of the first 2 letters of the names of our granchildren (all half-african). We established the name early in 2010 when Jillian and 2 of our daughters had begun selling Incomparble buttons, and other ethically-traded items alongside their own textile work, and needed a collaborative name.
At the time we did an extensive google search to ensure the name was a) unique, and b] no offensive meaning! What we discovered was a connection with an ethiopian saint, and a sung offering, which we thought was really nice.
[On the subject of offerings, we had a very humbling experience on a family visit to Rwanda. We attended the church of our extended family - just as visitors, and at the end of the service they first took up their normal offering. Then they took up an offering for the poor in the church (many are widows). Then, unbeknown to us, they took up another offering and gave it to us - just because we had visited them! Among the offering was a tiny coin, worth a fraction of 1p - literally the widows mite. We cried buckets, and we still have that money - too precious to spend - the coin features in the design of our logo........]
Zimame Trading Co followed a year later,in April 2011 and is the new name for the wholesale side of Injabulo which we have taken over from Chrissie who founded the business.
You may have met us as ' Zimame' selling textile supplies at fairs etc in the southwest,- our daughter Hannah Irankunda has largely taken on responsibility for this under her own name, though from time to time it will be still be Jill alongside her own work... (Jillian Morris Textile Designs). If you do meet us, please come and say 'hello'.... it's always nice to put a face to a name.
Our logo was the inspiration of Matt, a South African designer who works for a design company near us in Devon. We gave him some ideas, left him with some of the products, and this is what he came up with.....we were delighted with the result.
Zimame Trading Co supports companies from Southern Africa who produce high quality, handmade goods. Zimame was formerly the wholesale business of Injabulo, who will be well known to many of you, and whose ethos we share. Chrissie from Injabulo worked with the producers for a number of years.
The common thread of the companies we work with is their focus on bringing sustainable employment and a better life for the producers.
Often women are the sole breadwinners for large extended families, so employment brings with it important social and economic empowerment, and better prospects for the next generation in their care.
The brief descriptions on our home page give a flavour of how employment is helping the women and their families in each company.
[We are currently updating our site, as time allows, to give more information about the producers and their products.]
We are eager to support these ladies and their communites by bringing their beautiful products to you and your customers.
We also try to think about how we can support our retail customers, and have produced a flyer which can be used in a variety of ways. If you would like some, please ask.
We also endeavour to be as environmentally friendly at our end. Re-using packaging materials is a small example of how we can do this, as well as combining car journeys to the post office with other essential trips.
In the longer term, we hope to increase the range we offer through personal links in Swaziland and Central Africa, in particular Rwanda.