Friday, July 27, 2012

Local profile - Kym Pointon

While I have a particular thing for all things Moroccan, I know that the beauty of Africa has captured many other people's hearts.  Kym Pointon is another career changer who has managed to merge her love of Africa with her fair trade business located in Gertrude St.  Read on for more about Kym...
Name: Kym Pointon
Occupation: Director - Sankofa Fair Trade
Works: Fitzroy
How long have you worked here:  I've been working in Fitzroy for 3 1/2 years.  In mid 2008 I began search for a retail location to open my fair trade store...and I was lucky to find the perfect spot.

Describe yourself/what you do:
I have had a life long interest (or maybe, obsession) with Africa, and particularly with traditional textiles but it wasn't until 2006 that I had my 'light bulb' moment.  At the time I was working in the public service so utilised my long service leave to take 12 months off to travel to West Africa and explore the ins and outs of sourcing products and importing them to start a business.

It was all very vague at the time - I knew I wanted to provide a market place for beautifully handcrafted products and that my business would operate within an ethical framework but the more I learned about the fair trade movement the more committed I became to operating within the international standards.
I specialise in handcrafted products from Africa and make annual trips to visit the artisans who make them.  So far I've visited more than 20 projects in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia - it's the best part of the business - meeting the artisans, watching them in action and seeing the difference that fair trade can make in their lives.  In 2011, I became the first business in Victoria to be endorsed by the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand.

Best thing(s) about working in Melbourne's north-east:
Great coffee, great food.  Fitzroy is such a diverse and creative area that there's always something happening - there's never a dull moment!

For more information:
Sankofa, 231 Gertrude Street Fitzroy (open 7 days)
Phone: 9416 4564

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