Swakopmund fair exhibitors left wanting

Competition shrinks market
Irene Van Der Walt
Swakopmund • [email protected]

The annual Swakopmund Christmas fair graced the town just in time for some last Christmas shopping. Some exhibitors however felt they received the short end of the bargain, due to a number of other high profile events taking place in the area.

Rakkel Kanandjembo who stocked an assortment of baskets as well as haircare products for natural hair, said it was her second time at the fair and that this occasion did not compare to the first.
Nonetheless, she is satisfied with the sales and enquiries she received during her stay at the market. According to Kanandjembo, orders for the baskets weaved by her aunts in the north of Namibia have been steady.

Estelle De Vos of Seaborn said she would not have made the effort to exhibit her handmade crafts at the market if she had known of the other events taking place in the area. “I paid money to have this stall and the other events are a problem to everyone. You cannot have multiple events and markets together. We already applied in September for our spaces,” said Seaborn who sells various crafts made of upcycled seaweed such as bowls and art.

For Lydia Rusch of Green Lily, the fair also left a taste for more. She was however delighted with the response she received at her brand’s debut. By the second afternoon, Rusch had completely sold out three of her body care products and was satisfied with the feedback she had received from customers. “Everyone says that they like the scents of my products,” she said. Rusch, a single mother of three, made the journey to the market for the sake of trying to find ways of making body care products more accessible and affordable. She formulated her first product in 2018, but would require another push from the dire times of the Covid-19 pandemic to start formulating the rest of her range and enter the market. “I went to go look at beauty products and saw the nonsense they put in these products. The pandemic made me realise that we need to be creative and start offering Namibian products. As a single mom, I wanted to find a way to make these products greener and more affordable,” she says.

She added that this is a way for her to live out her faith. “I read this bible verse about how we should wash one another’s feet and this is a way for me to serve others,” she said. Rusch is tight lipped about Green Lily’s future, but says that fans of her products can keep their eyes peeled for something new in January.